Abstract

Initial resources (IR) have been argued to imprint start-ups and affect their future competitive position. So far, two perspectives have dominated this research. Within the universalistic perspective, researchers focus on resources that matter to all organizations. In contrast, studies adopting a contingency perspective assume that the value of resources depends on the context in which they are deployed. This context differs according to internal organizational factors (e.g. strategy) and external environmental elements (e.g. uncertainty, competition). While both views provide useful insights, they neglect three important issues. First, IR may interact with each other, thereby generating interdependencies. Hence, the strategic value of IR predominantly resides at the bundle level. Second, start-ups face multiple contingencies at the same time. The value of IR should, therefore, be dependent on the degree of their multivariate fit with strategic and environmental elements. Third, we know little about the time-dependency of IR. The current study addresses these gaps by empirically confirming IR, and their alignment with internal and external firm attributes, as driving forces of start-ups’ sustainable competitive advantage.

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