Baker, T. & Nelson, R.E., 2005. "Creating something from nothing: Resource construction through entrepreneurial bricolage." Administrative Science Quarterly, 329-366.


Lévi-Strauss’s concept of bricolage -making do with what is at hand- explained many of the behaviors we observed in small firms that were able to create something from nothing by exploiting physical, social, or institutional inputs that other firms rejected or ignored.




1) Making do.

- Lévi-Strauss (1967:17) described the “rules” of the bricoleur’s “game” as “always to make do with ‘whatever is at hand.

- A refusal to enact limitations.

- making do” includes a bias for testing received limitations.

- the social construction of resource environments can be as influential as the objective limitations of environments in determining behaviors

- it begins to open a black box that Penrose created when she noted that firms vary tremendously in their ability to extract services from physical input


2) Combination of resources for new purposes.

- bricolage is the combination and reuse of resources for different applications than those for which they were originally intended or used.


3) The resources at hand

- a set of “odds and ends,” which may be physical artifacts, skills, or ideas that are accumulated “on the principle that they may always come in handy,’” rather than—as in the engineering model sometimes contrasted with bricolage (Lanzara, 1998, 1999)—acquired in response to the well defined demands of a current project.


[Parallel and Selective Bricolage]


- Physical inputs, labor, skills, customers, and the institutional environment


 1) Parallel bricolage.

- Physical inputs: Diverse resource trove

- Labor inputs: Broad self-taught skills.

- Institutional/regulatory environment. Firms engaged in parallel bricolage repeatedly deviated from and tested the limits of local codes as well as craft and professional norms and standards.

- Customers and labor: Multiplex ties. : the network ties that helped to sustain parallel bricolage differed from those we saw in other businesses, especially in the prevalence of particular sorts of embedded multiplex ties

 - Mutually reinforcing pattern


2) Selective bricolage

  - Form of bricolage that we labeled “selective” appeared to support or even to drive firm growth



- the results strongly substantiate our claim that a constructivist view of resource environments is critical to understanding what entrepreneurship contributes to organizational processes, and they open up new areas for research.

- Because bricolage is not simply a matter of firms passively not enacting limitations but, rather, requires substantial activity and effort.

- This refusal calls upon and provides a context in which firms actively exercise their creative and combinatorial capabilities, their tolerance for ambiguity and messiness and setbacks, and their ability to improvise and take advantage of emerging resources and opportunities.

- the patterns of enacting or testing and counteracting limitations shape the relationship between bricolage and firm growth represents an important theoretical contribution to our understanding of entrepreneurship under resource constraints

- A theory of entrepreneurial bricolage that accounts for differences in bricolage capabilities would be useful beyond the sorts of penurious environments.

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