Entrepreneurial bricolage and online store performance in emerging economies

  • Xiaoyu Yu
  • Yajie LiEmail author
  • Daniel Q. Chen
  • Xiaotong Meng
  • Xiangming Tao
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Issue on "Electronic markets in emerging markets"


Third-party e-commerce platforms (such as eBay and Taobao) provide great opportunities for small or minor sized enterprises (SMEs) to overcome technological challenges to enter e-commerce markets. However, SMEs still encounter other market entry barriers such as resource constraints and institutional challenges. We apply entrepreneurial bricolage theory to the context of online businesses operating on third-party e-commerce platforms in order to shed light on how SMEs could possibly cope with these challenges. We present a novel framework to explore the relationships between different types of entrepreneurial bricolage and online store performance. The research hypotheses were evaluated by survey data collected from a sample of small online stores operating on the largest third-party e-commerce platform in China, Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA). Results show that input bricolage has a positive effect on efficiency performance and market bricolage has a positive effect on sales performance, and the relationships between input (and market) bricolage and store performances are significantly stronger with higher level of institutional bricolage. Contrary to our expectations, the effects of input bricolage on sales performance and market bricolage on efficiency performance are positive but not significant. The study contributes to the development of entrepreneurial bricolage theory literature by providing a fine-grained analysis of the varying effects of different types of entrepreneurial bricolage on organizational outcomes. The findings of the study also provide guidelines for SMEs to effectively make use of resources at hand through the practice of entrepreneurial bricolage.


Entrepreneurial bricolage Online store Performance E-commerce Emerging economy 

JEL classification

M13 L81 



We thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71772117; 71472119) for generous financial support. We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the EM editors for their detailed and constructive comments on our paper. We would like to thank Ted Baker and Christian Linder for their helpful comments. An earlier version of this paper was accepted for presentation at the Academy of Management’s 2017 Annual Meeting, Atlanta, USA, August 2017.

Funding information

This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71772117; 71472119), Innovation Program of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, the Pujiang Talent Plan of Shanghai (15PJC053), the Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Young Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning (QD2016015).


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Copyright information

© Institute of Applied Informatics at University of Leipzig 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoyu Yu
    • 1
  • Yajie Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Q. Chen
    • 2
  • Xiaotong Meng
    • 1
  • Xiangming Tao
    • 3
  1. 1.School of ManagementShanghai UniversityShanghaiP.R. China
  2. 2.Neeley School of BusinessTexas Christian UniversityTexasUnited States
  3. 3.School of Management, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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