From resource base to dynamic capabilities: An investigation of new firms

Alexander McKelvie, Per Davidsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


Despite the numerous observations that dynamic capabilities lie at the source of competitive advantage, we still have limited knowledge as to how access to firm-based resources and changes to these affect the development of dynamic capabilities. In this paper, we examine founder human capital, access to employee human capital, access to technological expertise, access to other specific expertise, and access to two types of tangible resources in a sample of new firms in Sweden. We empirically measure four dynamic capabilities and find that the nature and effect of resources employed in the development of these capabilities vary greatly. For the most part, there are positive effects stemming from access to particular resources. However, for some resources, such as access to employee human capital and access to financial capital, unexpected negative effects also appear. This study therefore provides statistical evidence as to the varying role of resources in capability development. Importantly, we also find that changes in resource bases have more influential roles in the development of dynamic capabilities than the resource stock variables that were measured at an earlier stage of firm development. This provides empirical support for the notion of treating the firm as a dynamic flow of resources as opposed to a static stock. This finding also highlights the importance of longitudinal designs in studies of dynamic capability development. Further recommendations for future empirical studies of dynamic capabilities are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S63-S80
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue numberSUPP. 1
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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