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How to concretize dynamic capabilities? Theory and examples

Arto Kuuluvainen (Centre for Collaborative Research, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 26 October 2012




Dynamic capabilities approach, having roots in evolutionary economics, has recently become popular also among strategic management researchers. However, the dynamic capabilities construct has been criticised for being too confusing and abstract. The purpose of this paper is to tackle this criticism by first introducing a theoretical framework for concretising dynamic capabilities and then by testing the framework empirically.


The study utilises qualitative case study methods. The empirical part of the research introduces a single case study of Finnish manufacturing small to medium‐sized enterprise (SME). The longitudinal research data include two structured telephone interviews and two personal interviews with the case firm's managers. Also significant amount of secondary data were analysed during the study. Pre‐planned systematic coding methods were utilised during the data‐analysis phase of the study.


Concrete examples were provided of the dynamic capabilities identified from the international growth of the studied firm.

Research limitations/implications

The research design led to a sample of only one case. Therefore, the findings have a strong intuitive and conceptual appeal and statistical generalizability is not appropriate.

Practical implications

The paper introduces an example of how SME can grow in international markets. Some good practices can be identified from the case study.


By introducing a new and operationalized classification for studying dynamic capabilities qualitatively, the paper makes methodological contributions. The paper also answers criticism addressed towards the dynamic capabilities construct by making dynamic capabilities more concrete.



Kuuluvainen, A. (2012), "How to concretize dynamic capabilities? Theory and examples", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 381-392.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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