The Role of Executive Directors’ Autonomous Motivation and Creativity in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises’ Dynamic Capabilities

This article analyzes the importance of executive directors’ autonomous motivation and creativity in small and medium-sized enterprises when identifying new market opportunities. The article is connected with current research on the dynamic capabilities microfoundation and considers the influences of individual behavior on sensing. In the Dynamic Capabilities Approach, sensing represents the organizational capability to identify new market opportunities. Based on the ability-motivation-opportunity (AMO) concept, according to which individual behavior results from ability, motivation, and situation, a new model was designed to explain sensing. This structural equation model was based on a sample of 539 executive directors in Germany and showed that the executive directors’ autonomous motivation and creativity, as well as technical progress, have a significantly positive influence on sensing. By far the strongest influence is the executive directors’ autonomous motivation, while the influence of their creativity is less important than originally assumed. Apart from technical progress, further aspects of environmental dynamics do not indicate any significant influence in the study’s empirical findings. The investigation model explains almost a quarter of sensing variance. It also demonstrates that the satisfaction of the executive directors’ basic psychological needs has a significantly positive influence on their autonomous motivation. In particular, the satisfaction of autonomy plays a crucial role in executive directors’ autonomous motivation.


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