Session 97

Cognition and Capabilities

Track H

Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Time: 17:30 – 18:45

Common Ground

Room: Terrace 2


  • Daniella Laureiro-Martínez, ETH Zurich

Title: Barriers to Capability Imitation: A Behavioral Strategy Framework


  • Patrick Regnér, Stockholm School of Economics
  • Harun Emre Yildiz, Stockholm School of Economics

Abstract: Although micro-foundations of capabilities have attracted attention lately, little knowledge has accumulated outside cognitive barriers to capability imitation. Based on extant strategy process and practice research, we fill this void by identifying four categories of behavioral imitation barriers: evaluative, normative, administrative power, and administrative heritage barriers to imitation. We use the theory of planned behavior (TPB), being one of the most prominent models on the relationship between attitudes and behavior in social psychology, to build an integrated and coherent framework of behavioral imitation barriers. Our paper provides key insights for resource and capabilities research as it specifies micro-foundations of behavioral imitation barriers and for strategy process research as it details a theoretical structure of contextual and behavioral strategy process elements in an integrative framework.

Title: Dynamic Capabilities and Reconfigurations: How Much is Too Much?


  • Stéphane Girod, IMD
  • Richard Whittington, University of Oxford

Abstract: We examine the performance effects of organizational reconfigurations, a key element of dynamic capabilities theory. Our data-set is over 800 reconfigurations amongst Fortune 500 firms. We find that reconfiguration performance is subject to an inverted-U relationship, with returns beginning to fall - eventually into negative territory - soon after the mean reconfiguration rate of five. This relationship does not vary between highly dynamic environments and less dynamic environments. However, we find that incumbent CEOs are more effective at reconfigurations than new CEOs. Our results reinforce the need to attend to the downsides of dynamic capabilities, while also pointing to their value in a wide range of environments and to the role of key individuals in accessing capabilities that may be seen as wholly-organizational properties.

Title: Dynamic Capabilities between Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: Evolutionary Theory Revisited


  • Felix Arndt, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: Dynamic capabilities have been developed as a theory integrating perspective by emphasizing the evolutionary characteristics of dynamic capabilities. We investigate how evolutionary mechanisms can help resolving the criticism that has emerged around the concept of dynamic capabilities. We suggest a solution for the problem of infinite regression and of being intractable of how interdependencies of this multi-level construct can be structured through an evolutionary lens. FInally, we develop ideas how this structure can be used for future research.

Title: May the Best Group Innovate: The Role of Social Interaction in the Development of Capabilities


  • Abdelghani Es-Sajjade, University of Leeds
  • Krsto Pandza, University of Leeds

Abstract: We present the findings of an inductive, multiple case study of the role of groups in the development of organizational capabilities. Building on evidence from our research we make the following contributions: First, the more favorable the perception of a capability’s value on organizational level, the more likely different organizational groups will attempt claiming ownership of this capability. This relationship will be stronger in the presence of organizational ambiguity around formal ownership of a highly valued capability. Second, the more intense intergroup competition revolving around an organizational capability, the more likely groups will create tools to influence the development of that capability. Finally, the more tools are shared and adopted across groups, the more likely they will benefit capability development.

Title: The Role of Evolving Lower-Order Capabilities for Strategic Adaptation


  • Svante Schriber, Stockholm Business School
  • Jan Löwstedt, Stockholm University

Abstract: Dynamic capabilities literature takes higher-order capabilities to be necessary for organizations to adapt to environmental change as firm resources and lower-order capabilities are insufficiently flexible. In this study we challenge this view, and based on a case study of a market leader firm in the paper machine industry we show how lower-order capabilities contribute to purposeful, endogenous adaptive development to environmental change. These results are important both for when dynamic capabilities are required, as well as how they can operate to influence firm performance.

Title: Why Do Firms with Dynamic Capabilities Fail?: Exploring Capability Dynamics in MNCs


  • Paula Kilpinen, Aalto University

Abstract: By taking capabilities as focus of analysis and drawing on organizational capabilities-, evolutionary-, and international business literatures, this paper investigates capability dynamics within multinational firms (MNCs) and puts forward a longitudinal case study on Nokia, the global market leader in mobile phones. During the case time (1991-2011) Nokia went through major transformations as an indication of its’ dynamic capabilities. However, the firm has encountered significant difficulties in adapting itself to recent changes in the business environment. This paper illustrates how capability development within MNCs may become constrained by the complexity of the environments internal and external to the firm, and points to the challenges associated with addressing temporally asymmetric and geographically dispersed selection environments.

All Sessions in Track H...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 267: Strategic Processes in Transition
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 268: Capabilities that Help or Hurt Acquisition Processes
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 269: Chief Strategy Officer’s Role in Strategy Processes
Sun: 15:15 – 16:30
Session 89: Strategic Alignment and Strategy Implementation
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 99: Ambidexterity and Innovativeness
Mon: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 91: Consensus and Commitment
Mon: 13:30 – 14:45
Session 92: Attention, Goals and Renewal
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 90: Participation, Cooperation and Commitment
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 94: Going Beyond the Conventional Wisdom
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 95: Emotions and Behavior
Tue: 14:15 – 15:30
Session 96: Comprehensiveness and Time
Tue: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 98: Management of Emerging Strategic Issues
Tue: 17:30 – 18:45
Session 93: Cognition and Intuition
Session 97: Cognition and Capabilities

Strategic Management Society