9th SKM Symposium 2015 Bochum:
Explicating the Multi-Level-Perspective of Dynamic Capability Research

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Competence-based Strategic Management
Strategisches Kompetenzmanagement (SKM)

9th SKM Symposium: Explicating the Multi-Level-Perspective of Dynamic Capability Research

The conference program is available now. Please download the program .

21/22 September 2015
Ruhr-Universität Bochum / Germany

including an

  • executive seminar (September, 21st, afternoon) and
  • a pre-conference Ph.D. workshop (September, 21st)

SKM-Symposia provide platforms for intensive discussion and exchange of research ideas, and work in the field of Competence-based Strategic Management. In September 2015, the Chair for Human Resources and Work Process Management at the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum/Germany will host the 9th SKM-Symposium.

The micro-foundations movement in dynamic capabilities research gives emphasis to the process perspective of the dynamic capability approach (DCA). It also enhances the multi-level perspective of organizational dynamics. Dynamic capabilities (DCs) represent higher-level capabilities (Winter, 2003) that change operational capabilities to address and possibly shape rapidly changing business environments (Helfat & Winter, 2011). This extended view promises an enrichment of the theoretical approach on the one hand, but on the other, it increases the demand for specifying and further explicating which variables are of the key concern in strategy research (Barney & Felin, 2013).

Given to the fact that there is always a micro-level to a higher entity (e.g. the organization as a part of the institutional or market system; the human being as a part of the organization; the brain as a part of the human body etc.), it is yet unsolved how deep organizational analyses should go. Barney and Felin (2013) suggest referring to lower level routines, e.g. in HRM practices, whereas the broad field of organizational behavior should be excluded since it seems too unspecific for strategy research. Other authors go beyond that perspective and call for bridging DCs as a higher-level construct, and for individual action and interaction as a lower-level construct (Salvato & Rerup, 2011). Consequently, behavior seems not always relevant in the dynamic capabilities perspective, but it is of major concern for identifying strategic action and interaction. For further explicating the multi-level perspective in dynamic capability research with respect to the lower entity, there is the remaining question: How does behavior matter?

Broadening the view into the other direction, a multi-level-perspective also implies the organization as an entity of a higher-level construct. This gives emphasis to market-shaping activities (Callon, 1998; Kjellberg & Helgesson, 2007), as well as to regional innovation systems (Cooke et al., 2004). Regional institutions as specific characteristics of the business system influence organizational capabilities (Withley, 2007) and can be considered as both, local voids and local goods of organizational innovation. Therefore, it is of the key concern how characteristics of (regional) business systems and organizational dynamic capabilities relate to each other, and to retrieve their most critical interfaces (Cohendet et al., 2010). Existing literature describes regional innovation dynamics as relevant for organizational capabilities but is not rooted in capability research on a theoretical basis. There is demand for a further explication how the institutional environment matters in the organizational process of sensing, seizing and transforming tangible and intangible resources.

The 9th SKM Symposium aims to further explicate the multi-level perspective in dynamic capability research. In this regard, various fields could be discussed in depth, for example routinized action of organizational renewal, group dynamics for enhancing actors’ contributions to organizational change, leadership behavior as a moderator between the individual’s competences and organizational capabilities, the role of regional actors and institutions, or the relevance of particular projects that shape organizational dynamic capabilities. Since introducing more and more variables to the field of research seems not helpful to clarify the issues mentioned, it is essential to further elaborate a consistent theoretical basis that combines the individual and the organizational level, respectively the organizational and the institutional level. Moreover, empirical analyses are appreciated in order to focus variables of clearly strategic impact. Therefore, we invite and encourage theoretical and/or empirical contributions that further develop a deeper understanding of dynamic capabilities by facing institutions, organizational structures, processes, projects or individuals’ and managerial action and interaction.

The symposium will be organized in parallel tracks. A further specification depends on focus of submitted papers and results of the review process.


Members of the program committee

Prof. Dr. Jörg Freiling Prof. Dr. Jörg Freiling,
University of Bremen
Prof. Dr. Jochen Koch Prof. Dr. Jochen Koch,
University Viadrina Frankfurt/O.
Prof. Dr. Martin Gersch Prof. Dr. Martin Gersch,
Freie Universität Berlin
Prof. Dr. Birgit Renzl Prof. Dr. Birgit Renzl,
Universität Stuttgart
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Güttel Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Güttel,
University of Linz
Prof. Dr. Uta Wilkens Prof. Dr. Uta Wilkens,
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Conference languages are English and German. In order to accommodate international participants, continuous sessions in English are guaranteed. However, it is possible to submit contributions in German, as there will be German speaking discussion groups as well.