Improvising firms: Bricolage, account giving and improvisational competencies in the founding process

Ted Baker, Anne S. Miner, Dale T. Eesley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

617 Scopus citations


Improvisation occurs when the design and execution of novel activities converge. Drawing on three samples of young firms, this inductive study investigates the existence, channels and implications of strategic improvisation in knowledge-intensive new businesses. Our study suggests that not only may founding itself be improvisational in some cases, but improvisational processes and issues permeate entrepreneurial activity and have non-obvious implications for emergent firm strategies and competencies. We develop propositions in four domains: (1) the occurrence of strategic improvisation; (2) tactical improvisation rising to the level of strategy; (3) network bricolage; and (4) improvisational competencies. This study contributes to research on organizational improvisation, bricolage and entrepreneurship. Theoretically and in practice, both improvisation and bricolage represent potentially rich additions to the vocabulary of entrepreneurial action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-276
Number of pages22
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number2 SPEC.
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • Bricolage
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Improvisation
  • Network
  • Strategy


Dive into the research topics of 'Improvising firms: Bricolage, account giving and improvisational competencies in the founding process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this