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Growing and Developing Old Economy Firms

Anne Smith, Bryan Temple


This paper paints a textual picture of two old economy firms in Scotland over a five-year period. It offers a longitudinal qualitative analysis into the processes and functions of the firms. The study draws on business development and knowledge transfer literature to provide research frameworks and underpin the analysis. The fundamental aim of the study was to understand how these businesses operate. The results give a narrow but essentially deep insight into important current issues affecting the development of such firms. Small and medium-sized, “old economy” firms, mainly family-owned, represent the vast majority of business organizations in the UK and are particularly vulnerable to economic events, political decisions, policy change and natural disasters. Their ability to adapt and transform will hold the key to economic growth and competitiveness. This paper shows clearly the challenges facing the small or medium-sized “old economy” firms, which are restructuring for growth and development in the 21st Century.


Round Building


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