High-growth firms (HGFs) have attracted considerable attention recently, as academics and policymakers have increasingly recognized the highly skewed nature of many metrics of firm performance. A small number of HGFs drives a disproportionately large amount of job creation, while the average firm has a limited impact on the economy. This article explores the reasons for this increased interest, summarizes the existing literature, and highlights the methodological considerations that constrain and bias research. This special section draws attention to the importance of HGFs for future industrial performance, explores their unusual growth trajectories and strategies, and highlights the lack of persistence of high growth. Consequently, while HGFs are important for understanding the economy and developing public policy, they are unlikely to be useful vehicles for public policy given the difficulties involved in predicting which firms will grow, the lack of persistence in high growth levels, and the complex and often indirect relationship between firm capability, high growth, and macro-economic performance.
Coad, A., Daunfeldt, S.-O., Hölzl, W., Johansson, D. & Nightingale, P. (2014). High-growth firms: introduction to the special section. Industrial and Corporate Change, 23(1), 91-112. DOI: 10.1093/icc/dtt052