In this chapter we look at exit as a multidimensional and multidisciplinary phenomenon that may involve processes and outcomes operating at multiple levels of analysis. We do so because entrepreneurship research is often considered a phenomenondriven academic field (Shane, 2003; Sorenson and Stuart, 2008) and entrepreneurship is in itself a multidimensional concept: its definition depends on the focus of the research undertaken (Davidsson, Low, & Wright, 2001). In this field, it is surprising that exit has received much less attention than the phenomenon of entry, growth, or innovation among new firms; however, there has been renewed interest in this topic and this research crosses many disciplines and multiple theoretical perspectives. In this chapter, we provide an indepth review of that research which is applicable to small business. We review disciplinary approaches to research on exit, and then present a literature review of 28 empirical studies of entrepreneurial exit during the last 29 years. We summarize these studies under a number of topical areas and discuss the potential for further development in these areas. In doing so, we provide a framework and opportunities for future research.
Related content: What do we really mean when we talk about ‘exit’?
Detienne, D. & Wennberg, K. (2013). Small business exit: Review of past research, theoretical considerations and suggestions for future research. Ratio Working paper No. 218.