Thinking Inside the Box: Linking Dynamic Capabilities to Theories of Action
University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 310
25 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 13, 2012
We argue that development of dynamic capabilities theory into a fully dynamic theory of strategy is inhibited by the operation of an incomplete set of perspectives on human action. Clarifying how human action is conceptualized, particularly as regards creativity and learning, might help strategy scholars to develop theory in ways that adequately address action at all levels of engagement in dynamic contexts, thereby turning existing contradictions into complementarities whilst accounting for issues of both content and process. By reorganizing existing literatures along action theoretic lines the paper reframes some of the difficulties in current theorizing, illustrates the value of this reframing by applying action theory to recent work on dynamic capabilities and proposes a rules-based framework as a potential integrating device for the field. The paper closes by highlighting the need for interdisciplinary research in strategy.
Keywords: Dynamic capabilities, action theory, creative action, learning, rules
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