July 15, 2008
The paper entitled “Strategizing through the capability lens: sources and outcomes of integration” recently earned its authors a Highly Commended award from the Emerald publishing group, at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2008. Taïeb Hafsi, holder of the Walter J. Somers Chair in International Strategic Management, and Jad Bitar, a PhD student in Administration at HEC Montréal, wrote the article published in Management Decision magazine in 2007.
In their paper they propose a theory explaining how a capability or dynamic capability (according to the definition of the resource-based view of the firm, or RBV), for instance pricing capability, develops and look at the conditions that make it effective. In particular, for a capability to have the desired effects in terms of competitive advantage, both local and global coherence are required. However, the effectiveness curve of a capability has an inverted U shape, meaning that it increases with coherence up to a certain threshold then decreases. Consequently, the authors state that the development of organizational capability is a powerful integration mechanism that spans levels and functions.
By opening up the capability black box, this paper may help managers better grasp how to develop organizational capabilities that contribute to sustainable competitive advantage. The authors emphasize that capabilities are not to be equated with competitive advantage, for capabilities may lead to a competitive advantage only when the context is favourable. Consistency with environmental challenges is an important factor, and managers must pay attention to the relationships between the organization’s capabilities and the challenges it faces in its environment. Lastly, this research may promote the development of tools to measure consistency within a given context and maintain appropriate levels of organizational dissent to trigger the re-shaping of existing capabilities or the emergence of new ones.
The eminent academics and managers on the editorial team of Management Decision magazine considered this article one of the most impressive of all those submitted to the magazine in 2007, in terms of its relevance and content.
The Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence are presented by the Emerald Group, a leader in English-language scientific and professional publications in management, engineering and information science. Every year, the editorial team of each journal published by Emerald is invited to select one Outstanding Paper and up to three Highly Commended Papers from all those published in the previous year.