Emergence of dynamic capabilities in low velocity industries : a case study of European shipbuilding industry

Maljugin, Anton (2013) Emergence of dynamic capabilities in low velocity industries : a case study of European shipbuilding industry. (DBA thesis), Kingston University, .


During last two decades the uncertainty in and complexity of the external environment has become a common challenge for most companies worldwide. To gain a more sustainable competitive advantage in their rapidly changing competitive milieux companies should be able successfully to integrate innovative elements and develop their dynamic capabilities. The value of dynamic capabilities lies in the resource configurations that they create or enhance in rapidly and radically changing environments, which in turn enable the firm to pursue opportunities in new, unpredictable markets (Ambrosini & Bowman, 2009). Firms which operate in high-velocity industries continuously develop their dynamic capabilities as the only means to survive. Companies in low-velocity industries are usually unprepared for radical and rapid changes and thus they are less competitive than companies which develop their dynamic capabilities in less stable environments. This study examines how dynamic capabilities have evolved in an industry which is moving from a relatively low velocity into moderately high velocity. A deductive, interpretive approach is chosen for the current study, mainly because it offers a better opportunity to explain, describe, illustrate, and explore specific aspects of the emergence of dynamic capabilities in relatively low velocity environments. The study has studied three ship building companies in Europe. The study has two main phases of data collection. The first data collection phase begins with three in-depth interviews with chief executives from the companies selected for the case study. The chief executives of these companies are chosen for their known, recent experience with dynamic capabilities and because they represent the shipbuilding industry in Europe. The second data collection phase consists of nineteen semistructured interviews. The collected research data is analyzed by case studies methods. This work has found that dynamic capabilities developed in stable environments lead to superior performance under conditions of environmental volatility; entrepreneurial behaviour on every managerial level is necessary in order to develop dynamic capacity; low-cost experimentations are one of the most effective methods to trigger dynamic capabilities; and learning through internationalization is an effective tool to develop dynamic capabilities. It has also found that new business development units and spin-offs might trigger development of dynamic capabilities but cooperation between small and medium-sized firms and large enterprises does not increase the development of dynamic capabilities and might be even counterproductive.

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