Mere adaptability or dynamic capabilities? A qualitative multi-case study on how SMEs renew their resource bases

Barbara Kump, Christina Schweiger

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The capacity to renew their resource bases over time is crucial for the long-term survival of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). While there is no doubt that SMEs are capable of adaptation, a recent debate has emerged in the literature on whether SMEs can also have dynamic capabilities; that is, sensing, seizing, and transforming capacities. The paper reports on a qualitative multi-case study based on interviews with 84 persons from 10 Austrian SMEs that have demonstrated substantial adaptability over the past decade(s). It examines the questions of how these SMEs adapted to their changing environments, and whether they had exhibited dynamic capabilities. The findings suggest that sensing, seizing, and transforming can be challenging for SMEs; however, SMEs have specific ways to overcome these challenges. The main contribution of the paper is a nuanced picture of how SMEs enact dynamic capabilities–an area that has been a blind spot in earlier research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351 - 377
Number of pages27
JournalInternational journal of entrepreneurial venturing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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