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Winning an Unfair Game: How a Resource-Constrained Player Uses Bricolage to Maneuver for Advantage in a Highly Institutionalized Field

Entrepreneurial Resourcefulness: Competing With Constraints

ISBN: 978-1-78190-018-5

ISSN: 1074-7540

Publication date: 27 August 2013

Abstract

In this study we examine how resource-constrained organizations can maneuver for competitive advantage in highly institutionalized fields. Unlike studies of institutional entrepreneurship, we investigate competitive maneuvering by an organization that is unable to alter either the regulative or normative institutions that characterize its field. Using the “Moneyball” phenomenon and recent changes in Major League Baseball as the basis for an intensive case study of entrepreneurial actions taken by the Oakland A’s, we found that the A’s were able to maneuver for advantage by using bricolage and refusing to enact baseball’s cognitive institutions, and that they continued succeeding despite ongoing resource constraints and rapid copying of their actions by other teams. These results contribute to our understanding of competitive maneuvering and change in institutionalized fields. Our findings expand the positioning of bricolage beyond its prior characterization as a tool used primarily by peripheral organizations in less institutionalized fields; our study suggests that bricolage may aid resource constrained participants (including the majority of entrepreneurial firms) to survive in a wider range of circumstances than previously believed.

Keywords

Citation

Baker, T., Pollock, T.G. and Sapienza, H.J. (2013), "Winning an Unfair Game: How a Resource-Constrained Player Uses Bricolage to Maneuver for Advantage in a Highly Institutionalized Field", Entrepreneurial Resourcefulness: Competing With Constraints (Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-41. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1074-7540(2013)0000015004

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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