«Экономика и менеджмент – 2013: перспективы интеграции и инновационного развития». >> Том 2

Doctoral candidate Bogodistov Yevgen

Research Programme «Dynamic Capabilities and Relationships» European University Viadrina (Frankfurt a. d. Oder)

German Graduate School of Management and Law (Heilbronn)


The Resource Based View (RBV) or Resource Based Theory (RBT) is a relatively young theory of the firm which explains its nature and success by virtue of the composition of resources and capabilities (Barney, 1991; Barney, Ketchen & Wright, 2011; Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Helfat & Peteraf, 2009). Dynamic capabilities are the concept that sheds light onto internal dynamics in the confluence of assets, routines, and evolutionary paths. Dynamic capabilities are supposed to explain the business performance in a long term perspective and provide a sustainable competitive advantage (Teece et al., 1997; Teece, 2007). However, contradictions in the concept of dynamic capabilities confound the nomologicalnetwork, thus making further research difficult. Some of the contradictions were specified by Arend & Bromiley (2009): inconsistency of usage, tautological or «too flexible» definitions, infinite regress (capabilities arising from capabilities), post hoc identification of dynamic capabilities when trying to measure them, and others.

Dynamic capabilities are capabilities aimed at reconfiguring the resource base of an organization. Eisenhardt & Martin (2000: 1107) define dynamic capabilities as «the antecedent organizational and strategic routines by which managers acquire and shed resources, integrate them, and recombine them». From Winter’s (2003) point of view, dynamic capabilities are routines for changing routines thus taking a higher place in the hierarchy of capabilities thereby repsenting «higher-order» routines (Winter, 2003). However, if one depicts dynamic capability as a particular type of organizational capabilities using Fig. 1 and 2, i. e. differentiating between organizational capabilities and capability composing routines, he or she sees that dynamic capabilities are neither more complex nor «higher ordered» than other organizational capabilities. In this event the old routine or initial asset base would be the input (starting point) for the capability, the output will be repsented by the changed routine or reconfigured asset base, whereas the nodes and arrows will repsent actions and actors respectively (see Fig. 1 and 2).

We differentiate between a dynamic routine and a dynamic capability. A dynamic capability might provide a broader set of decision options for changing ordinary routines while a dynamic routine might provide a relatively straightforward patterned sequence of actions to change ordinary routines. For example, in the situation with efficiency indicators a dynamic routine would be a new pscription of objectives for these indicators (as car producers adjust sales plans during the crisis) or layoffs, while a dynamic capability would provide a broad set of actions within the resource base of the enterprise (diversification, reorientation toward internal markets, processes restructuring).

Fig. 1. Collection of Ordinary Routines

Fig. 1. Collection of Ordinary Routines

Fig. 2. Capabilit

Fig. 2. Capabilit

Let us draw an analogy between an organization and a heating system. Radiator, pipes, water, and coal would be resources (input/starting point), heat would be the outcome, and heating (moving from input towards outcome via different stages of the system’s work) would repsent a routine. It also has a heating capability or a potential ability to heat the system and consequently the air in the room. This capability is a function of resources the system possesses and can be calculated using the physical formula for heat transfer according to the type and amount of fuel and to the heating medium (e.g. water). There is also a kind of dynamic capability in the heating system. It has a thermostat – a device measuring the temperature of the environment (or of the heating system itself) and terminating the heating process when a specific temperature is reached. The thermostat provides a dynamic capability for the system or, in other words, it allows the system to change itself by starting heating or terminating it according to the state of the environment. Hence the heating system is a very simple system, and the environment is repsented by its temperature only, the only possible adoption of the system is the «turn on/turn off». Would one rank the capability provided by the thermostat as higher order in the hierarchy of heating system capabilities? Probably not. Similarly, an organization possesses its resources, its ordinary routines, capabilities and dynamic capabilities, whereas dynamic capabilities have the same place in the hierarchy of organizational capabilities as the other capabilities have.

The logic of «higher order» is applicable only in two possible ways: first, if it is bound to a specified by a researcher purpose. I.e. if ones primary goal is to reduce energy costs, he or she would probably pay more attention to his or hers thermostat thus perceiving thermostat as of higher level (of importance). However, if ones goal is the diversification of fuels for the heating system, then the burner section would receive more attention and probably would be considered as «higher order», although the heating system can neither exist without the burning section nor without the thermostat. Second, «higher order» might mean that dynamic capabilities change ordinary capabilities, but ordinary capabilities do not change dynamic capabilities. In the second case, we argue, ordinary routines might also trigger and constitute dynamic capabilities. If an organization collects indicators of efficiency (as a part of its ordinary routine) and the objectives are not achieved, then the ordinary routine is going to signal a need for change and thus trigger dynamic capability. Moreover, the type of indicator might unveil the nature of the problem and thus form the path for the dynamic capability to be applied.

Therefore we argue that the conceptualization of dynamic capabilities as being of «higher order» towards «zero level» capabilities or routines is applicable only for a specific research goal and plays a minor role for the nomological network of dynamic capabilities.

The list of references :

1. Arend, Richard J., and Philip Bromiley. 2009. «Assessing the dynamic capabilities view: Spare change, everyone?» Strategic Organization, 7: 75–90.

2. Barney, Jay. 1991. «Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage» Journal of Management, 17: 99–120.

3. Barney, Jay B., David J. Ketchen, and Mike Wright. 2011. «The future of resource-based theory: Revitalization or decline?» Journal of Management, 37: 1299–1315.

4. Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., and Jeffrey A. Martin. 2000. «Dynamic capabilities: What are they?» Strategic Management Journal, 21: 1105–1121.

5. Helfat, Constance E., and Margaret A. Peteraf. 2009. «Understanding dynamic capabilities: Progress along a developmental path» Strategic Organization, 7: 91–102.

6. Teece, David J., Gary Pisano, and Amy Shuen. 1997. «Dynamic capabilities and strategic management» Strategic Management Journal, 18: 509–533.

7. Teece, David J. 2007. «Explicating dynamic capabilities: The nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance» Strategic Management Journal, 28: 1319–1350.

8. Winter, Sidney G. 2003. «Understanding dynamic capabilities» Strategic Management Journal, 24: 991–995.