Tor Helge Aas, School of Business and Law, University of Agder, Norway and Karl Joachim Breuning, Oslo Business School, Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway
The relationship between firms’ resources and capabilities and their performance has been discussed in the literature of strategic management since Edith Penrose addressed the mechanisms behind the growth of the firm (Penrose, 1959). Early contributions in this area suggest that valuable and inimitable resources and capabilities are sources of superior performance and sustained competitive advantage (Barney, 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984), while more recent contributions suggest that it is the firms' ability to change and re-configure their resources and capabilities, often referred to as dynamic capabilities, that sustains the firms’ performance, especially when the market is unstable (Teece, 2014; Teece, Pisano, & Shuen, 1997).
It has also been argued that firms may utilize their resources and capabilities through the development of innovations in the form of new products, services or processes (Hill, Brandeau, Truelove, & Lineback, 2015), and empirical research has confirmed that there is a positive relationship between the implementation of innovation activities and the future performance of firms (Bowen, Rostami, & Steel, 2010; Rubera & Kirca, 2012). However, innovation as a phenomenon entails change as opposed to resources and capabilities that represents a firm’s ability to reproduce a certain performance – and as such involves stability. Viewed in this way the very term innovation capability can constitute an oxymoron.
The study of innovation capabilities is therefore a complex field of study that is emerging at the present time. The topic has already attracted interest from a number of scholars (e.g. Forsman, 2011; Guan & Ma, 2003; Hertog, van der Aa, & de Jong, 2010; Wang et al., 2008; Yam et al., 2011), but despite these important advances there is still a lack of consensus in the literature and a pressing need to clarify what type of resources and capabilities drive innovation in different contexts (Lidija & Robert, 2014), and how these capabilities are developed and utilized (Helfat & Peteraf, 2003).
- This special issue, therefore, invites both theoretical and empirical contributions which shed further light on innovation capabilities. Suitable topics may include but are not limited to:
- The relationship between ordinary capabilities, dynamic capabilities and innovation capabilities.
- The relationship between different types of innovation capabilities and performance.
- The development of innovation capabilities.
- The lifecycle of innovation capabilities.
- The role of the external environment in ‘open’ innovation capabilities.
- Variations in capabilities across different contexts/industries/sectors – such as distinctions between innovations in manufacturing as opposed to innovations in services.
- Variations in capabilities across different types of innovation – such as distinctions between radical and incremental innovation.
- Extending knowledge on the strategy-innovation link with particular emphasis on the elements constituting organizational stability as opposed to innovation and change.
- Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120.
- Bowen, F. E., Rostami, M., & Steel, P. (2010). Timing is everything: A meta-analysis of the relationships between organizational performance and innovation. Journal of Business Research, 63(11), 1179-1185.
- Forsman, H. (2011). Innovation capacity and innovation development in small enterprises. A comparison between the manufacturing and service sectors. Research Policy, 40(5), 739-750.
- Guan, J., & Ma, N. (2003). Innovative capability and export performance of Chinese firms. Technovation, 23(9), 737-747.
- Helfat, C. E., & Peteraf, M. A. (2003). The dynamic resource-based view: capability lifecycles. Strategic Management Journal, 24(10), 997-1010.
- Hertog, P. d., van der Aa, W., & de Jong, M. W. (2010). Capabilities for managing service innovation: towards a conceptual framework. Journal of Service Management, 21(4), 490-514.
- Hill, L. A., Brandeau, G., Truelove, E., & Lineback, K. (2015). The Capabilities Your Organization Needs to Sustain Innovation. Harvard Business Review(January 14).
- Lidija, B., & Robert, D. H. (2014). Dynamic capabilities vs. innovation capability: are they related? Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 21(3), 368-384.
- Penrose, E. T. (1959). The Theory of the Growth of the Firm. New York: John Wiley and Son.
- Rubera, G., & Kirca, A. H. (2012). Firm Innovativeness and Its Performance Outcomes: A Meta-Analytic Review and Theoretical Integration. Journal of Marketing, 76(3), 130-147.
- Teece, D. J. (2014). The Foundations of Enterprise Performance: Dynamic and Ordinary Capabilities in an (Economic) Theory of Firms. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 28(4), 328-352.
- Teece, D. J., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 18(7), 509-534.
- Wang, C. H., Lu, I. Y., & Chen, C. B. (2008). Evaluating firm technological innovation capability under uncertainty. Technovation, 28(6), 349-363.
- Wernerfelt, B. (1984). Resource-based View of the Firm. Strategic Management Joumal, 5(2), 171-180.
- Yam, R. C., Lo, W., Tang, E. P., & Lau, A. K. (2011). Analysis of sources of innovation, technological innovation capabilities, and performance: An empirical study of Hong Kong manufacturing industries. Research Policy, 40(3), 391-402.