Pursuing three horizons of growth – three cases: Bombardier (Canada), Disney (US) and Hutchison Whampoa (China)

Carol Matheson Connell (Assistant Professor, Business & Management, Department of Economics, City Brooklyn College, University of New York, New York, New York, USA)

Business Strategy Series

ISSN: 1751-5637

Publication date: 1 January 2007



The article looks at how companies pursuing a three‐horizon growth strategy weathered the last economic downturn and what became of their growth initiatives.


The paper examines the financial performance and continued investment of three growing companies from 1996‐2004: Bombardier (Canada), Hutchison Whampoa (Hong Kong/China) and Disney (US).


The Bombardier, Disney and Hutchison Whampoa cases teach a powerful lesson about the importance of using investment in growth to manage uncertainty and limit downside risk.

Research limitations/implications

While the focus of this article is on three companies only, the financial performances of a dozen other growing firms are examined over the same period for purposes of comparison.

Practical implications

Following the last downturn, companies sought to preserve the core and outsource non‐critical functions to reduce the cost of business. Some chose to sideline growth initiatives during this period. This article analyzes the outcomes for three companies that continued to invest in growth during and after this period.


This article addresses a series of questions. Is a three‐horizon growth strategy sustainable in a downturn? Have companies that pursued a three‐horizon strategy actually grown? Do they continue to finance the growth of horizon two and horizon three businesses? Have any viable options matured?



Matheson Connell, C. (2007), "Pursuing three horizons of growth – three cases: Bombardier (Canada), Disney (US) and Hutchison Whampoa (China)", Business Strategy Series, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 14-25. https://doi.org/10.1108/17515630710686842

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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