Non-cognitive microfoundations

understanding dynamic capabilities as idiosyncratically refined sensitivities and predispositions

Ajit Nayak (Corresponding Author), Robert Chia, J. Ignacio Canales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The dynamic capabilities framework has been used to explain how firms successfully adapt to changing environments. However, tensions exist in the literature surrounding the idiosyncratic, tacit and hence inimitable nature of dynamic capabilities. The literature struggles to explain in cognitivist terms how such firm capabilities are acquired in the first instance. In this paper, we argue that a firm’s dynamic capabilities rest upon a tacitly-shared substrate of sensitivities and predispositions that precede cognitive representation. These sensitivities and predispositions are typically transmitted and shared unconsciously through social practices rather than through formal instruction. They provide the microfoundational substrate of capabilities that enable a firm to effectively respond by orienting its members towards external environmental challenges in a manner unique to the firm’s history. Such sensitivities and predispositions provide an organizational modus operandi for members to reconfigure capabilities and resources and to capitalize on the opportunities arising therefrom.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Early online date20 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2019

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Substrates
Microfoundations
Dynamic capabilities
Substrate
Firm capabilities
Firm dynamics
Resources and capabilities
Social practice

Keywords

  • microfoundations
  • affordances
  • habitus
  • empirical sensitivity
  • skilled adaptive action
  • entrepreneurial fitness
  • adaptive advantage

Cite this

Non-cognitive microfoundations : understanding dynamic capabilities as idiosyncratically refined sensitivities and predispositions. / Nayak, Ajit (Corresponding Author); Chia, Robert ; Canales , J. Ignacio .

In: Academy of Management Review, 20.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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