The creation of organizational capabilities: evidence from a multinational company

José Camilo Dávila (School of Management, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia)

Management Research

ISSN: 1536-5433

Publication date: 12 November 2010



This paper aims to provide empirical evidence concerning the process by which micro‐processes develop and maintain three organizational capabilities: technical and productive capabilities and the capability to engender trust among employees.


The research employs in‐depth case study to provide a longitudinal study spanning 37 years (1971‐2008). The material was collected from available company documents and semi‐structured interviews. In total, 151 interviews were collected from members of the workforce, union leaders, managers, advisors, suppliers, and contractors.


The paper illustrates three characteristics of capabilities: problem solving and complexity, practicing and success, and reliability over time. Additionally, it also illustrates the organizational capability paradox by narrating specific events and illustrating three of its causes: path dependency and lock in, structural inertia, and the absence of a capability dynamization function. The case study suggests that it is helpful to consider the construction of a capability and its dynamization as two separate functions that a company should develop simultaneously.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations derive from case study research methodology, such as difficulty of generalization.


The results suggest that the development of a capability and the dynamization of the system should be understood as two counterbalanced processes that function together according to a dual logic. This is an alternative approach to the concept of the dynamic capabilities of an organization.



Camilo Dávila, J. (2010), "The creation of organizational capabilities: evidence from a multinational company", Management Research, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 183-202.

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