Abstract

The resource-based view (RBV) of the firm focuses on the role of resources in determining strategic advantage of a firm (Barney 1991; Alvarez & Barney, 2002). Yet traditional RBV literature has been less concerned with how these resources are acquired and developed. Alternatively, recent research has explored the resource development processes of entrepreneurial firms through bricolage (Strauss 1967) defined as defined as “making do by applying combinations of the resources at hand to new problems and opportunities” (Baker and Nelson 2005). Our contribution is to study the link between bricolage and the RBV – a firm’s resource position.

We investigate the level of bricolage within a firm’s resource development process and its resource advantage/disadvantage position. We argue that firms engaging in higher levels of bricolage will be better at overcoming obstacles and working around barriers to progress. As such we propose: (i) firms employing moderate and higher levels of bricolage (bricoleurs) will tend to have less areas of resource disadvantage; and will tend to more quickly overcome their most important sources of resource disadvantages. Owing to the idiosyncratic nature of this process, high and moderate bricoleurs may develop resource advantages that are difficult to copy (Ciborra 2002). As such we propose: higher levels of bricolage will tend to lead to some resource advantages that can be less quickly imitated by competitors.

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