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    Theorizing piratical innovation: regulatory illegitimacy and firm growth

    Nunan, Daniel and Di Domenico, M. (2021) Theorizing piratical innovation: regulatory illegitimacy and firm growth. Journal of Small Business Management 59 (4), pp. 575-600. ISSN 1540-627X.

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    This article examines the growing phenomenon of firms in ‘winner takes all’ markets who adopt business models that prioritize exceptional levels of growth over other financial metrics. Often this growth results in firms breaking with regulatory norms, despite regulatory legitimacy being theorized as essential for resource acquisition in small firms. The article explores this apparent paradox. We propose piratical innovation as a firm level process built upon disrupting regulatory norms in a way that avoids negative legitimacy judgments. Extending labelling theory, we develop a conceptual model where piratical innovation blends a range of symbolic and substantive actions to enable these firms to maintain legitimacy amongst stakeholders, even when growth is underpinned by illegitimate acts. We conclude by considering the wider applicability of piratical innovation as a model for small firm growth, and the consequences for other firms which must compete against such innovations.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): firm growth, labelling contest, piratical innovation, regulatory illegitimacy
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Daniel Nunan
    Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2018 07:46
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:42


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