Our analysis of survey data of US small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) explores (1) whether firms have ‘dynamic’ capabilities that change their ethics-focused operational capabilities; (2) what effects those dynamic capabilities have on both ethical and competitive performance; and, (3) whether those effects are contingent on a firm’s entrepreneurial characteristics. Our survey reveals that about a quarter of SMEs self-report high levels of these ethics-focused dynamic capabilities. We use hierarchical OLS to analyze the survey data to find that the general effect of these capabilities is positive on an SME’s ethical performance, and that the performance effects are contingent on an SME’s degree of entrepreneurial orientation and sensitivity to changes in the business context. The main implication is that the extent of heterogeneity in types, roles, and performance effects of ‘higher-than-operations-level’ capabilities is likely underestimated in current dynamic capabilities theory and application.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 5, 2012
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