Abstract

The entrepreneurship literature has not sufficiently explored the origins of dynamic capabilities in young firms (Zahra, Sapienza, & Davidsson, 2006), mirroring the on-going need within strategy (Felin & Foss, 2009). Despite calls for inclusion, the dynamic capabilities literature has attended very little to micro-foundations in general (Felin, Foss, Heimeriks, & Madsen, 2012) or to entrepreneurship in particular (Zahra et al., 2006). Thus, we ask the question: What behaviors of entrepreneurs shape the development of dynamic capabilities in young firms? We argue for the generative role of entrepreneurial bricolage behaviors in the formation of dynamic capabilities. Dynamic capabilities and bricolage have in common the central characteristic of recombination; however, the former invokes notions of latent or manifest performance capacities, whereas the latter describes a pattern of behavior that often occurs prior to the development of any substantive capabilities. We argue that bricolage can lead to dynamic capabilities through fostering willingness and ability to envision alternative solutions, growth of recombination skills, and increased flexibility. Additionally, we highlight the destructive potential of high levels of bricolage on dynamic capabilities and conditions which may exacerbate these effects.

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