Title: Competence building in electric mobility: solving the paradox of specific investments in nascent industries

Authors: Martin Gersch; Tilman Rüsike; Florian Reichle

Addresses: School of Business and Economics, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystraße 21, 14195 Berlin, Germany ' School of Business and Economics, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystraße 21, 14195 Berlin, Germany ' ESCP Europe, Wirtschaftshochschule Berlin, Heubnerweg 8-10, 14059 Berlin, Germany

Abstract: Due to their high degree of uncertainty, nascent industries are of increasing interest in strategic management science. Drawing on the concept of specificity, we analyse the building of resources and competences in the emerging industry of electric mobility. In a qualitative multiple case study on two major car manufacturers and their investments, we show how firms handle the paradox of specific investments. Our results indicate that specificity depends upon strategic management. By varying the degree of specificity, firms can balance the resulting commitment in nascent markets and remain flexible. From a co-evolutionary perspective, firms are driving and are driven by these specific investments. Hence, they continuously engage in creating and securing deployment options for existing resources and competences by (de-)specification strategies but also by trying to shape the firm's environment.

Keywords: competence building; specific investments; specificity; resources; competences; nascent industries; electric mobility; automobile industry; automotive investment; strategic management; electric vehicles.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2013.054921

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2013 Vol.13 No.3, pp.273 - 288

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 07 Jun 2013 *

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