Current research has theorized that developing dynamic capability can be viewed as a problem-finding and problem-solving process in terms of a firm’s resource reconfiguration. However, there continues to be a scarcity of empirical research on how firms and managers solve innovation problems to develop capabilities. Building on the theoretical lens of problem-solving perspective (PSP) and dynamic capability literature, the purpose of this paper is to address this gap by examining how a large automobile company developed different types of capabilities (combining capability, replacing capability and evolving capability) and their underlying problem-solving processes.
An inductive multi-case design was used to investigate the problem-solving process in different types of capability development in the context of NPD. This methodology has a number of benefits, including accommodation of the rich data used to compare the inferences among cases, thus enabling researchers to extend the emergent theory.
The findings of a multi-case study show that managers tend to direct their attentions to searching for solutions among external resources when the problem is framed as a combination of existing capabilities. Conversely, managers direct their attention to facilitating organizational learning when the problem is framed as an extension of an existing capability. However, managers need to direct more attention to gaining legitimacy when the problem is framed as a replacement of existing capabilities. The findings thus respond to increasing calls for more investigations into the microfoundations underlying firms’ capabilities, by revealing different instances of PSP, and their connections with different actions that take to capability development.
By comparatively examining the unique problem-solving process underlying an established firm’s innovative challenges in developing capabilities, the findings identify different instances of PSP, and their connections with different actions that take to capability development. Thus, the findings respond to increasing calls for more investigation into the microfoundations of dynamic capabilities for organizational outcomes. The findings also add to the new product development literature by examining how a product innovation can be framed differently depending on the attributes of an innovation problem. As PSP is particularly useful in offering guidance to firms’ innovative search, it is important for managers to pay attention to the attribute of each product and its domain of solution in considering the effectiveness of value creation.
Shu, E.(E). (2019), "A problem-solving process for developing capabilities: the case of an established firm", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 713-727. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-12-2018-0262Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited