The need for speed—unfamiliar problems, capability rigidity, and ad hoc processes in organizations
Dynamic capabilities, which are subject to organizational embeddedness and potential path dependence, are sometimes inadequate for dealing with urgent and unexpected organizational and strategic problems. This study explores the boundary conditions of dynamic capabilities and proposes a complementary approach for dealing with unfamiliar problems: the ad hoc problem-finding and problem-solving perspective. Building on theoretical arguments of the dynamic capability view, managerial choice, and problem-finding/problem-solving logic, we suggest that managers addressing unfamiliar problems make discrete organizing choices over a range of dynamic capabilities and ad hoc processes. A series of theory-driven propositions are developed to illustrate our arguments.