Incumbents in the Transition Towards the Bioeconomy: The Role of Dynamic Capabilities and Innovation Strategies

Abstract

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This study explored incumbents’ roles in the transition towards the bioeconomy by examining what goes on inside firms, what strategies they practiced, and how these affected the way incumbents engaged in the transition, as well as their ability to innovate. The study focused on the Norwegian meat-processing sector, investigating how dynamic capabilities affected incumbent firms in the transition process, and the management strategies adopted in response to external pressures (local and global) and to innovation opportunities. The analytical approach builds on two theoretical pillars: Multi-level perspective and dynamic capabilities.
 
The findings showed that the incumbent exercised different modes of behavior—first-into-niche and follow-into-niche—in response to innovation pathways during the transition, mobilizing various dynamic capabilities—learning, financing, and organizational restructuring. The study sheds light on the underlying business dynamics of incumbent firms within a given regime and on intra-regime dynamics concerning innovation opportunities, and notes the proactive roles of incumbents in the sustainability transition.
Keywords:
 dynamic capabilities; incumbents; innovation strategies; multi-level perspective; sustainability transitions; meat by-products
Published Oct. 3, 2019 11:43 AM - Last modified Oct. 3, 2019 11:43 AM