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A Terminal Assessment of Stages Theory: Introducing a Dynamic States Approach to Entrepreneurship


Jonathan Levie, tel.: (44) 141-5483502; e-mail:, and to Benyamin B. Lichtenstein at


Stages of growth models were the most frequent theoretical approach to understanding entrepreneurial business growth from 1962 to 2006; they built on the growth imperative and developmental models of that time. An analysis of the universe of such models (n = 104) published in the management literature showed no consensus on basic constructs of the approach, and no empirical confirmation of stages theory. However, by changing two propositions of stages theory, a new dynamic states approach was derived. The dynamic states approach has far greater explanatory power than its precursor, and is compatible with leading edge research in entrepreneurship.