Bridging ties: A source of firm heterogeneity in competitive capabilities

Bill McEvily, Akbar Zaheer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1307 Scopus citations


What explains differences in firms' abilities to acquire competitive capabilities? In this paper we propose that a firm 's embeddedness in a network of ties is an important source of variation in the acquisition of competitive capabilities. We argue that firms in geographical clusters that maintain networks rich in bridging ties and sustain ties to regional institutions are well-positioned to access new information, ideas, and opportunities. Hypotheses based on these ideas were tested on a stratified random sample of 227 job shop manufacturers located in the Midwest United States. Data were gathered using a mailed questionnaire. Results from structural equation modeling broadly support the embeddedness hypotheses and suggest a number of insights about the link between firms ' networks and the acquisition of competitive capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1156
Number of pages24
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Qiqihar Municipal Science and Technology Bureau Directive Project (SFGG-201410).


  • Bridging ties
  • Firm capabilities
  • Geo graphical clusters
  • Network resources


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