Penrose's The Theory of the Growth of the Firm: An Exemplar of Engaged Scholarship

Yasemin Y. Kor, Joseph T. Mahoney, Enno Siemsen, Danchi Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Edith Penrose's (1959) classic book, The Theory of the Growth of the Firm, made a substantial impact on strategic management research, especially in the context of the resource-based view of the firm, and the ripple effects of her impact continue to unfold today in various disciplines. The book serves as a remarkably rich source of inspiration for scholarly research and a generative source of ideas, which are poised to be further developed. In this study, we examine Penrose's (1959) classic and provide: (1) the process by which this book came about; (2) a summary of its key ideas; (3) some implications for operations management research; (4) the subsequent impact of the book, in which we focus on mathematical models; and (5) a discussion of some of the research lessons learned from this exemplar of engaged scholarship. We invite management science and operations scholars to discover the rich scientific world of Edith Penrose and experience the product and process of her research creativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1727-1744
Number of pages18
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • dynamic adjustment costs
  • engaged scholarship
  • entrepreneurship
  • growth of the firm
  • resource-based approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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