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Dynamic capabilities as patterns of organizational change: An empirical study on transforming a firm’s resource base
Suñé Torrents, Albert; Gibb, Jenny
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Organització d'Empreses; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. CUDU - Grup de recerca en Direcció Universitària
Purpose – In this paper the authors explore the managerial processes involved in deep, purposeful organizational change. The authors investigate change towards a goal-directed end state and the managerial actions involved in reaching it. The purpose of this paper is to identify patterns of organizational change by analysing how variations occurred in a firm’s resources and capabilities at a time of high internal and external uncertainty. Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a longitudinal in-depth case study on the airline Spanair. The authors analyse the change process this airline engaged in between 2007 and 2012, which was considered the most turbulent period in aviation history. The authors followed the grounded theory approach to induce a strategic capability pattern model from secondary data. Findings – The authors identify a capability pattern with four dynamic capabilities: adding, transferring, integrating and shedding; and two higher-order capabilities: goal development and change orchestration. The authors show how the higher-order capability processes are performed by two levels of decision makers, where one creates a goal-directed path, and the other performs a central role in orchestrating change. Originality/value – Using the teleological approach the authors identify how top management orchestrate change arising from the dynamic capability process outcomes in a top-down and bottom-up manner. As such the authors show how the role of management becomes fundamental in adjusting the capabilities required to meet the goals set, particularly in times of heightened internal and external environmental turbulence. The authors also emphasize the importance of providing bottom-up advice to goal directors.
Peer Reviewed
Àrees temàtiques de la UPC::Economia i organització d'empreses::Competitivitat i innovació
Innovation (Economics)
Organizational change
Dynamic capabilities hierarchy
Teleological change
Goal development
Change orchestration
Grounded theory
Change patterns
Canvi organitzatiu

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