Contemporary literature on intermediary organisations does not cover the history of these organisations in the early twentieth century or how their roles evolved. To understand the evolution of roles, this paper extends the application of dynamic capabilities theory from firms to intermediary organisations. It does this by studying a Dutch government innovation agency between 1910 and 1940 with dynamic capabilities in mediation and knowledge development. These capabilities are illustrated by nine examples that reveal how the agency’s consultants modified and extended their resource base in order to continue supporting small and medium-sized enterprises while coping with considerable challenges and changes. Thereby, this paper shows that the dynamic capabilities theory can explain how intermediary organisations can adapt their roles.
- Modernisation; knowledge transfer; intermediary organisation; innovation intermediary; small and medium-sized enterprises