Dynamic Capabilities and Firm Performance
Jantunen, Ari (2005)
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URN:ISSN 1456-4491Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis
Firms operating in a changing environment have a need for structures and practices that provide flexibility and enable rapid response to changes. Given the challenges they face in attempts to keep up with market needs, they have to continuously improve their processes and products, and develop new products to match market requirements. Success in changing markets depends on the firm's ability to convert knowledge into innovations, and consequently their internal structures and capabilities have an important role in innovation activities. According 10 the dynamic capability view of the firm, firms thus need dynamic capabilities in (he form ofassets, processes and structures that enable strategic flexibility and support entrepreneurial opportunity sensing and exploitation. Dynamic capabilities are also needed in conditions of rapid change in the operating environment, and in activities such as new product development and expansion to new markets. Despite the growing interest in these issues and the theoretical developments in the field of strategy research, there are still only very few empirical studies, and large-scale empirical studies in particular, that provide evidence that firms'dynamic capabilities are reflected in performance differences. This thesis represents an attempt to advance the research by providing empirical evidence of thelinkages between the firm's dynamic capabilities and performance in intenationalization and innovation activities. The aim is thus to increase knowledge and enhance understanding of the organizational factors that explain interfirm performance differences. The study is in two parts. The first part is the introduction and the second part comprises five research publications covering the theoretical foundations of the dynamic capability view and subsequent empirical analyses. Quantitative research methodology is used throughout. The thesis contributes to the literature in several ways. While a lot of prior research on dynamic capabilities is conceptual in nature, or conducted through case studies, this thesis introduces empirical measures for assessing the different aspects, and uses large-scale sampling to investigate the relationships between them and performance indicators. The dynamic capability view is further developed by integrating theoretical frameworks and research traditions from several disciplines. The results of the study provide support for the basic tenets of the dynamic capability view. The empirical findings demonstrate that the firm's ability to renew its knowledge base and other intangible assets, its proactive, entrepreneurial behavior, and the structures and practices that support operational flexibility arepositively related to performance indicators.
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