The Taxonomy of Dynamic Capabilities

Research paper on the theoretical concept of dynamic capabilities, categorizing and organizing empirical findings into a taxonomy

How and why do some firms manage to thrive in markets with rapidly changing technological, social, and market environments while others vanish? Strategic management scholars have developed the concept of “dynamic capabilities” to explain this phenomenon. Dynamic capabilities are the firm’s abilities and processes to reinvent its resources to thrive in changing environments. Despite its popularity in the academic discourse, a common understanding of what dynamic capabilities specifically are, has not yet emerged.

This research paper aims to shed more light on the concept of dynamic capabilities by categorizing and organizing empirical findings. It reviews empirical literature since 2007 to identify a sample of idiosyncratic dynamic capabilities that exist in practice. By seeking similarities and differences in the sample, a taxonomy of dynamic capabilities is derived. The main finding of the study is a taxonomy of dynamic capabilities. Its first level is based on the triad of sensing, seizing, and transforming. On the second level, 19 dynamic sub-capabilities are introduced to the discourse. As such, it translates scholarly literature to a practitioner audience.

This research paper by Niklaus Leemann and Dominik K. Kanbach is titled “Toward a taxonomy of dynamic capabilities – a systematic literature review”. It is published in the Management Research Review under the DOI 10.1108/MRR-01-2021-0066.



Leemann, N. and Kanbach, D.K. (2022), "Toward a taxonomy of dynamic capabilities – a systematic literature review", Management Research Review, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 486-501.

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