Operationalization of Dynamic Capabilities

Yesterday I gave a presentation at the meeting of the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Commission of the German Academic Association for Business Research:


I used this opportunity to discuss the operationalization of dynamic capabilities and more specifically the measurement of their effectiveness. I used the framework from Helfat et al. (2007:p. 7-11) in which they propose two dimensions to measure the effectiveness (see figure):

  • technical fitness, which measures the ability to produce a response to an external change and puts it into perspective with the effort (cost)
  • evolutionary fitness,  which measures the effect of dynamic capabilities on competitiveness.
Measuring the effectiveness of Dynamic Capabilities
Measuring the effective of dynamic capabilities (based on CE Helfat et al. 2007)

You can see in the presentation that I concluded that in order to be able to measure these two dimensions we need first to understand better what dynamic capabilities really are and how they deploy their transformative power. That means also that we should continue to look deeper into what actors do and what steps they go through to overcome the barriers to change and transform their company.

For us that means that we will try to use strategy-as-practice methods (such as ethnographic studies , observations of board meetings and analysis of decision memos) to study a whole episode from the emergence of a discontinuous change to the successful response by a company.

The hardest part in such research is the access to the empirical data as companies need to believe in the value of the research, to accept the disturbing effect of such research, and at the same time have sufficient trust to grant us such a deep access to their strategic decision making and planing activities. So wish us luck with the recruitment of companies.

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