Abstract

The behavioral theory of “entrepreneurial bricolage” attempts to understand what entrepreneurs do when faced with resource constraints. Most research about bricolage, defined as “making do by applying combinations of the resources at hand to new problems and opportunities” (Baker & Nelson 2005: 333), has been qualitative and inductive (Garud & Karnoe, 2003). Although this has created a small body of rich descriptions and interesting insights, little deductive theory has been developed and the relationship between bricolage and firm performance has not been systematically tested. In particular, prior research has suggested bricolage can have both beneficial and harmful effects. Ciborra’s (1996) study of Olivetti suggested that bricolage helped Olivetti to adapt, but simultaneously constrained firm effectiveness. Baker & Nelson (2005) suggested that bricolage may be harmful at very high levels, but more helpful if used judiciously. Other research suggests that firm innovativeness may play an important role in shaping the outcomes of bricolage (Anderson 2008). In this paper, we theorize and provide preliminary test of the bricolage-performance relationship and how it is affected by firm innovativeness.

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