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EXHIBIT 1 Punctuated Shifts in Resource Flows
Notice that the difference between this view and the
lifecycle view is that the latter posits incremental
growth, whereas a punctuated view offers a theory of
discontinuous shifts followed by relatively stable structural and
resource configurations in a firm. This is no small
difference, for while managers seem to be able to say which stage
theyre in when given descriptions of several stages
(Churchill & Lewis, 1983; Eggers et. al., 1994), the life
cycle model provides no trigger to identify why or when shifts in
resources or stages should occur. Our integration, shown in
Exhibit 1 above, offers a theoretical
model for how a series of resourceacquiring configurations
might occur (Penrose, 1959; Amit & Schoemaker, 1993).
These ResourceBased modelsthat new ventures strive to acquire necessary bundles of competencies and resources, and that these bundles shift over timeremain theoretical abstractions. The goal of this paper is to explore what actually are the salient organizational resources acquired by new ventures, an how does this composition change over time. What follows next is a discussion of an empirical method that is being used to explore these questions, and a preliminary analysis of results, as well as some conclusions and implications of the research.
While numerous typologies of strategic resources have been theoretically derived (e.g. Penrose, 1959; Hofer & Schendel, 1978; Mosakowski, 1993; Dollinger, 1995; Brush & Greene, 1996), discovering empirically what the salient resources are and how they change is not so simple. Most entrepreneurs dont segregate their growth strategies in theoretical categories, nor would we expect them to have a clear understanding of the RBT of the firm. Here a longitudinal, qualitative methodology was used to explore what are the salient organizational resources in entrepreneurial firms, and how these might change over time.
This research is part of a larger study on how new ventures actually make the transitions or shifts from one stage of development to the next (Lichtenstein, 1996). In that study the first author is tracking three new ventures whose entrepreneurs have described as being in transitions to their next stage of growth. In order to discover the microprocesses of the emergence process the researcher goes into these firms once a week, and asks a majority of organizational members a specific question relating to the resources, projects, issues, learning and changes that are occurring. The answers to this brief question are typed verbatim into a laptop computer . The researchers typing speed is between 90 and 120 wpm, and numerous mistakes are spellchecked and corrected generally within the next day or two. At this point (midApril) up to 42 weeks of qualitative data and 16 months of quantitative indicators have been collected from the three companies, including interviews totaling approximately 650 singlespaced pages of field notes.
Over the course of the research a brief question on
resource acquisitions has been asked several times in each
company. Specifically the researcher asked the
following: The question for this week is about
resource acquisition. Taking the perspective of the
organization as a whole, what are the resources that you have
been acquiring or should be acquiring at this stage in the
companys development? Followup questions
were used to clarify meanings and test certain assumptions of the
researcher and the participant. This question was
repeated in one or twomonth intervals in each of the
three companies. Exhibit 2
provides brief descriptions of the ventures and details of the
data collected and analyzed for this paper.
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