Dr Sussie Morrish Dr Sussie Morrish CREDIT: University of Canterbury

UC research shows serendipity a precursor to fast business growth

Monday 1 July 2013, 12:45PM
By University of Canterbury

A University of Canterbury marketing expert says research shows that serendipity is a precursor to fast business growth.

UC senior marketing lecturer Dr Sussie Morrish says growth is an important consideration in any business and, more so, for entrepreneurial firms.

``We investigated how some businesses grew so fast and found that most of them believed that serendipity played an important role. They still had to use entrepreneurial marketing strategies to pursue the opportunities that were uncovered by serendipitous circumstances.’’

Dr Morrish will deliver a paper on fast business growth at the International Academy of Marketing Conference in Cardiff next week. UC was rated number one in marketing and tourism in the latest performance based research fund (PBRF) round.

She says many firms that expand rapidly are considered entrepreneurial and pursue growth using innovative strategies

However, research by UC PhD student Saeed Mirvahedi found some firms achieve growth because of favourable circumstances, such as being in the right industry at the right time. The study shed some understanding on how businesses exploit new opportunities that lead to growth.

``But not every business has fast growth and many would not like to grow too fast as that would be extremely difficult to manage without the right resources,’’ Dr Morrish says.

``What we found however is that firms tend to have growth spurts. There is now evidence that the role of serendipity can lead to faster growth.

``We compared New Zealand to a non-western country, Iran, to see whether there were differences or similarities. The Middle East is a huge market for New Zealand exports. Doing business in any overseas market requires understanding of their belief structures.

``Serendipity appears to cut across both cultures but is viewed in somewhat different ways, such as the spiritual or religious dimension.

``Culturally, there is a difference between how Iranian and New Zealander entrepreneurs view serendipity. Some Iranian entrepreneurs saw it as a divine will. They believe that their faith guides their intent to serve people better, especially their customers, and this leads them to serendipity.

``Despite the spiritual differences which are associated with the entrepreneurs’ religious beliefs, there are a number of similarities that could be observed in both Iran and New Zealand.

``Mirvahedi’s study shows that they share similar views on the existence on serendipity, the value of perseverance and the use of strategic marketing methods to exploit discovered opportunities,’’ Dr Morrish says.