The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Mie Augier, David J. Teece

Competency Trap

  • Gautam AhujaEmail author
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history



It is frequently observed that many firms, especially those that are successful in the current environment, fail to change quickly enough when the environment changes significantly. One potent explanation for these observations is a phenomenon of learning called a ‘competency trap’. In this article we briefly describe what competency traps are, the factors that lead to them, the consequences for the firm, including reduced adaptability and missed opportunities, and, finally, the various means through which a firm can avoid falling into the competency traps.


Focal Firm Venture Capital Fund Corporate Venture Corporate Venture Capital Middle Managerial Level 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stephen M Ross School of BusinessAnn ArborUSA