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Overcoming Path Dependency and “Lock-In”: In Competence Building and Competence Leveraging Processes

Mid-Range Management Theory: Competence Perspectives on Modularity and Dynamic Capabilities

ISBN: 978-1-78714-404-0, eISBN: 978-1-78714-403-3

ISSN: 1744-2117

Publication date: 25 October 2017

Abstract

Competence-Based Management (CBM) theory and research suggest that a firm’s competence building and leveraging processes are key factors influencing its competitive success. To achieve sustained competitive success, a firm’s competence building processes must continuously renew and extend the competences a firm has and can leverage. However, the ability of a firm to sustain strategically adequate levels of competence building – while also maintaining strategically successful competence leveraging – may be limited by various self-reinforcing managerial and organizational mechanisms that can arise from competence leveraging processes. In this paper we focus on certain managerial behaviors that may create path dependencies that lead an organization to become “locked-in” to its current competence leveraging processes and to neglect essential competence building, resulting in an inability to renew competences at a strategically adequate level and eventually in competitive failure.

In order to avoid such consequences, the management literature suggests that organizations must cultivate dynamic capabilities to overcome tendencies toward lock-in and to sustain ongoing competence building. This study investigates ways in which firms can maintain healthy competence building processes by avoiding lock-ins, especially those resulting from self-reinforcing managerial behaviors. A case study of successful competence-renewing processes in a home improvement retailing company helps to amplify the components of dynamic capabilities and to illustrate the insights that emerge from our study.

Keywords

Citation

Soyer, A., Onar, S.. and Sanchez, R. (2017), "Overcoming Path Dependency and “Lock-In”: In Competence Building and Competence Leveraging Processes", Sanchez, R., Heene, A., Polat, S. and Asan, U. (Ed.) Mid-Range Management Theory: Competence Perspectives on Modularity and Dynamic Capabilities (Research in Competence-Based Management, Vol. 8), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 25-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1744-211720170000008002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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