Dynamic Capabilities and Where to Find Them
CSI-researcher, Seidali Kurtmollaiev, has just published an article with a radically new and slightly provocative view on the central concept of modern strategic management - dynamic capabilities.
Researchers and practitioners have long been searching for powers that could make firms better in dealing with changes. This quest has brought one of the most famous concepts of our time – “dynamic capabilities”. Typically viewed as either abilities or routines that allow firms to create and change their competences, dynamic capabilities have become the hallmark of strategic management. Moreover, the idea has spread to many other fields, including leadership, marketing, and business ethics. Despite the huge amount of various definitions, there is no agreement on what dynamic capabilities actually are. Existing approaches either rely on circular definitions of capability as an ability or build extravagant hierarchies of organizational routines. Dynamic capabilities have become one of those fantastic beasts that everyone talks about but has never seen.
In my article, recently published in the Journal of Management Inquiry, I explain why the ability-based approach and the routine-based approach to defining dynamic capabilities are neither sustainable nor theoretically sound. Instead, I suggest the first precise definition of dynamic capabilities, by outlining their necessary and sufficient conditions. Essentially, I introduce an action-based approach for understanding the causes and effects of dynamic capabilities. This approach offers a more realistic picture of what dynamic capabilities are and portrays them as a genuinely organizational concept. I sincerely hope that the new approach can help avoid obscure terms and stimulate coherent multidisciplinary research on dynamic capabilities.