The case study is intended for organization theory and strategic management courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate (MBA) levels.
The case describes a company located in a fictitious developing country. The main activity of the company is the exploitation and production of tin, which it has developed over its 40-year history (1971-2011). During the first 33 years, it developed three capabilities: namely, technical, productive and the generation of trust among employees. The case illustrates three characteristics of capabilities: problem solving and complexity, practicing and succeeding, and reliability over time. The case also illustrates a paradox related to capabilities and shows three of its causes: path dependency and lock-in to a given course of action, structural inertia, and the absence of a capability dynamization function. In 2009, the company was faced with the need to reshape its capabilities and the arrival of a new President to the company provided the appropriate occasion to analyse this option.
Expected learning outcomes
These include: understanding what an organizational capability is and what its main characteristics are; understanding the process by which an organizational capability emerges and develops, and how it may be eroded in a given scenario; understanding a paradox an organization faces when capabilities are developed; and understanding why the concept of dynamic capabilities does not add power to the concept of capabilities.
Teaching notes are available, please consult your librarian for access. Videos with interviews of employees of the case company are also available.
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