Path dependence and path creation in volunteer partners, a non-governmental organization

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Claudia Bitencourt
Talita Oliveira


Path dependence (PD) is not able to satisfactorily explain organizations' strategic choices. There are some moments in which an organization needs to innovate and seek new solutions. This approach characterizes path creation (PC), apparently in opposition to PD principles. This article aims to analyze critical events and future prospects at the Volunteer Partners NGO, based on PD and PC. Field research was conducted through a case study based on semi-structured interviews with key organization stakeholders, followed by content analysis. The sub-categories analyzed in order to explain PD and PC are, respectively, initial moments, current processes, results and future prospects, social relations, and innovation. The main results indicate that strategic choices are influenced by the organization's history and future prospects, with a variation of intensity in every project, event and partnership. Thus, regarding PD we highlight organizational history, deliberate strategies, choice patterns and risk of imprisonment. Aspects relevant for analyzing PC included emerging strategies, technical capabilities, engagement and visibility.


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Bitencourt, C., & Oliveira, T. (1). Path dependence and path creation in volunteer partners, a non-governmental organization. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 18(3), 351-367.