Historical Change and the Competitive Advantage of Firms: Explicating The 'Dynamics' in the Dynamic Capabilities Framework

34 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2016 Last revised: 16 Jan 2017

See all articles by R. Daniel Wadhwani

R. Daniel Wadhwani

University of the Pacific

Geoffrey Gareth Jones

Harvard University - General Management Unit

Date Written: December 9, 2016

Abstract

This working paper aims to deepen the scholarly dialogue between strategy and history. It does so by examining how historical models of change can contribute to theory and research on the competitive advantage of firms during periods of rapid innovation. Focusing on the dynamic capabilities framework, it shows how three models of historical change – evolutionary, dialectical, and constitutive – can be used to extend theory and deepen research about the origins, context, and micro‐foundations of dynamic capabilities. We show how each model of historical change shaped the intellectual development of the dynamic capabilities framework, point to historical research that illustrates these processes, and discuss the methodological and conceptual implications for future research. We conclude by suggesting that recognizing and building on these historical models of change can provide a common conceptual language for a deeper dialogue between historians and strategy researchers.

Keywords: Business History, Strategy, Dynamic Capabilities, Innovation, Change, Temporality, Context, Microfoundations

Suggested Citation

Wadhwani, R. Daniel and Jones, Geoffrey Gareth, Historical Change and the Competitive Advantage of Firms: Explicating The 'Dynamics' in the Dynamic Capabilities Framework (December 9, 2016). Harvard Business School General Management Unit Working Paper No. 17-052. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2883336 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2883336

R. Daniel Wadhwani

University of the Pacific ( email )

3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
United States

Geoffrey Gareth Jones (Contact Author)

Harvard University - General Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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