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How lifecycle influences capabilities and their development: Empirical evidence from Estonia, a small European country

Mait Rungi (Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Capabilities are a widely researched subject, but capability development techniques have received considerably less attention. Capability development is a long-term activity, where both how to choose “the right capabilities” and how to develop “the capabilities right” are important. The purpose of this paper is to approach to pick up the most widespread capabilities and development techniques in project-companies, and observes their shift of focus when moving from one lifecycle stage to another.

Design/methodology/approach

A long-scale survey was chosen and carried out in EU member state Estonia in 2011, resulting with close to a couple of 100 responses.

Findings

The quality of most business capabilities decreases in reaching the decline stage of the lifecycle, but project-related capabilities are improving. The same cannot be concluded for project-led capability development techniques, as they decline, and the quality of traditional and business-led capability techniques are improving. The use of development techniques changes less throughout lifecycle stages than capabilities do – it is not so important how companies develop capabilities, capabilities themselves matter.

Research limitations/implications

Survey was performed in a small country which limits the generalizability to larger countries.

Practical implications

Capabilities and their development techniques are very much practice-oriented, especially development techniques. However, research indicates that it is more important to choose the right capabilities and worry less about their development-specific issues.

Originality/value

Results provide lifecycle-specific information which capabilities and their development techniques prevail at what stage of companies’ lifecycle. Thus far, learning, as the most important technique, has received the most attention, other techniques less – this research gives further information about a wider array of the techniques. Furthermore, the prior research was concentrated on a few specific capabilities or capabilities at an abstract level, this research focuses on a comprehensive set of capabilities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research is part of large-scale quantitative survey, where several publications from different perspectives are analyzed and introduced. The author would like to thank all the students who have helped to improve the questionnaire and gather the data. Special thanks go also to colleagues for their comments and Valeria Stulova for English-Russian translation and proof reading.

Citation

Rungi, M. (2015), "How lifecycle influences capabilities and their development: Empirical evidence from Estonia, a small European country", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 133-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-06-2014-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited