The marketing and strategy literature hail strategic flexibility as a key success factor in creating continuously customer value and generating competitive advantage. However, empirical evidence indicates that rigidity in market strategies and actions is more the rule than the exception in organizations. The focus of this special issue is on better understanding rigidity and flexibility in business markets. This lead article seeks to elaborate on why companies face rigidity and how they can create flexibility. To do this, we relate rigidity in organizations to the concepts of dominant logic, industry recipe and persistence. The case illustrations highlight barriers to the development of absorptive capacity in business organizations. Identifying such barriers is a first step in better understanding how companies can remain agile and flexible in demanding and fast changing markets. The paper then proceeds with a brief introduction to the other contributions of this special issue and concludes with a research agenda.