“Can we build it? Yes, we can!” complexities of resource re-deployment to fight pandemic

Ziad Elsahn*, Frank Siedlok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


During the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries asked their domestic firms to produce various medical equipment. Many firms promised to do so, including redesigns of existing ventilators or designing new ones. Despite these firms' enthusiasm, however, many of their attempts at being resourceful- through deploying their resources in activities beyond their current use- were unsuccessful. Our study attempts to explain why the success of these efforts varied. We integrate concepts of resourcefulness, managerial cognition, and product architecture to develop a typology of resourcing approaches, using a firm's characteristics and resources, its interpretative frames, and the technical and regulatory characteristics of the product being resourced for as boundary conditions. We illustrate our theorizing through case studies on the manufacturing of face shields, hand sanitiser, face masks, and medical ventilators. Our study provides important implications for firms attempting to deploy their resources in new contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-207
Number of pages17
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


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