A critical analysis of the role and nature of dynamic capabilities to enable and sustain organizational fitness, incorporating complexity thinking

Schick, Verena (2002-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In light of the rising recognition that strategic management, especially in uncertain fastchanging environments, needs to be robust beyond time and space, this study has the objective to re-conceptualize the term "organizational fitness". Due to the preliminary and isolated nature of existing organizational fitness models, the decision was made to incorporate the considerable knowledge base of "dynamic capabilities" and "complexity thinking". The critical criteria for choosing these strategic management approaches were seen in their appreciation of change as a natural principle of life within the larger context of this currently fast evolving world. The study aims at establishing a sound understanding of the reference point, i.e. organizational fitness, as well as its hypothetical conceptual means, i.e. dynamic capabilities and complexity thinking. Furthermore, the relational aspects of these concepts were elaborated and converged into a synthesis of what could emerge to become a comprehensive and persistent approach towards organizational fitness and strategic management per se. In respect to the complexity of the chosen concepts, a sequential method of incorporation was adopted. In reviewing and analyzing existing literature on organizational fitness, a possible definition and a general anatomy for organizational fitness could be established. Subsequently, the components and rationale of dynamic capabilities were critically delineated. The insights derived were then inserted in a preliminary fitness model. Hereafter, complexity thinking was investigated and related to the dynamic capabilities framework. Motivated by the complementary nature of these concepts, two emerging techniques of complexity thinking were delineated, viz. the co-evolutionary space and fitness landscapes, with the aim of deepening as well as extending the earlier preliminary concept. This logical yet theoretical and normature study presents clear pointers concerning strategic enterprise robustness with which organizational fitness could be approached in the specific realm of this conceptual frame. In respect of its hypothetical and preliminary nature, the conclusions reached should be seen in their proper perspective. Moreover, further basic and applied research is seen as crucial to substantiate the conclusions and recommendations of this study.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In lig van die toenemende besef dat strategiese bestuur, veral in toestande van vinnige verandering, dinamies en robuust moet wees onbegrens deur die konsepte van tyd en spasie, het hierdie studie die doelstelling om die begrip van organisatoriese fiksheid te herkonseptualiseer. Op grond van die voorlopige en geïsoleerde aard van huidige organisatoriese fiksheidsmodelle, is besluit om die nuwer strategiese bestuursbenaderinge van 'dinamiese vermoëns' en 'kompleksiteitsdenke' in die omvang van die studie te inkorporeer. Die kriteria vir die keuse van insluiting van die voorgenoemde strategiese benaderinge was hul toenemende potensiaal as onderliggende teorieë vir die verduideliking van verandering in die konteks van die toenemend snelle veranderende wereld. Die studie beoog om 'n deeglik-gefundeerde basis en vertrekpunt daar te stel, d.w.s. dinamiese vermoëns beskou as deel van kompleksiteitsdenke. Die interaktiewe en verhoudingsaspekte van die twee konsepte is intensief ontleed en 'n konvergensie is nagestreef ten einde 'n sintese van benadering daar te stel, wat die konsep van organisatoriese fiksheid en gepaardgaande strategiese bestuursimplikasies aandui. In die uitvoering van die ondersoek van kompleksiteitsteorie is 'n sekwensiële wyse van ondersoek gekies. Omvattende ontleding van bestaande internasionale literatuur het 'n voorlopige definisie en anatomiese dimensies van die konsep van organisatoriese fiksheid opgelewer. Daarna is die komponente en rasionaal van dinamiese vermoëns krities ontleed. Die resulterende insigte is voorts in die konsep van organisatoriese fiksheid geïnkorporeer. 'n Verdere stap was ontleding en relevansie-passing van kompleksiteitsdenke in verband tot dinamiese vermoëns. Twee ontluikende tegnieke van kompleksiteitsdenke is afgebaken, naamlik ko-evoluerende spasie en fiksheidslandskappe, met die doeI om die voorlopige konsep van organisatoriese fiksheid te verdiep en te verbreed. Hierdie logiese, teoretiese en normatiewe studie voorsien duidelike aanduidinge t.o.v. strategiese ondernemings-robuustheid, waarmee die konsep van organisatoriese fiksheid toepaslik benader kan word. In die lig van die hipotetiese en voorlopige aard van die studie, moet die gevolgtrekkings van die studie in sy begrensde konteks beskou word. Verder basiese en toegepaste navorsing word as noodsaaklik geag ten einde die gevolgtrekkings en aanbevelings van die studie te substansieer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52628
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