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Unbundling dynamic capabilities for inter-organizational collaboration

Petricevic, O. and Verbeke, A. (2019) Unbundling dynamic capabilities for inter-organizational collaboration. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 26 (3). pp. 422-448. ISSN 2059-5794

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/CCSM-02-2019-0044


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore two distinct subsets of dynamic capabilities that need to be deployed when pursuing innovation through inter-organizational activities, respectively, in the contexts of broad networks and specific alliances. The authors draw distinctions and explore potential interdependencies between these two dynamic capability reservoirs, by integrating concepts from the theoretical perspectives they are derived from, but which have until now largely ignored each other – the social network perspective and the dynamic capabilities view. Design/methodology/approach The authors investigate nanotechnology-driven R&D activities in the 1995–2005 period for 76 publicly traded firms in the electronics and electrical equipment industry and in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry, that applied for 580 nanotechnology-related patents and engaged in 2,459 alliances during the observation period. The authors used zero-truncated Poisson regression as the estimation method. Findings The findings support conceptualizing dynamic capabilities as four distinct subsets, deployed for sensing or seizing purposes, and across the two different inter-organizational contexts. The findings also suggest potential synergies between these subsets of dynamic capabilities, with two subsets being more macro-oriented (i.e. sensing and seizing opportunities within networks) and the two other ones more micro-oriented (i.e. sensing and seizing opportunities within specific alliances). Practical implications The authors show that firms differ in their subsets of dynamic capabilities for pursuing different types of inter-organizational, boundary-spanning relationships (such as alliances vs broader network relationships), which ultimately affects their innovation performance. Originality/value The authors contribute to the growing body of work on dynamic capabilities and firm-specific advantages by unbundling the dynamic capability subsets, and investigating their complex interdependencies for managing different types of inter-organizational linkages. The main new insight is that the “linear model” of generating more innovations through higher inter-firm collaboration in an emerging field paints an erroneous picture of how high innovation performance is actually achieved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:90519


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