Dynamic capabilities: a systematic literature review of theory and practice

  • Klara-Marie Gremme HTW University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • Veit Wohlgemuth HTW University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Berlin, Germany http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0649-1985
Keywords: dynamic capabilities, theory, systematic literature review


Purpose. Although the dynamic capability concept has been one of the most researched topics in strategic management in recent years, it is not commonly defined in theory and hardly applied in practice. For this reason, the authors decided to re-evaluate dynamic capability literature.

Design/Method/Approach. Systematic literature review.

Findings. Various discrepancies concerning the very nature of dynamic capabilities and their impact on firm performance are identified that need to be resolved.

Theoretical implications. For the purpose of enabling more precise prediction, it is recommended to contrast various dynamic capability concepts, reducing the number and increasing the predictability of the contingencies involved. It is advised to develop these scenarios based on the various seminal papers on dynamic capabilities, grounded in empirical research and supported by specific examples.

Practical implication. It is concluded that there is a generalized version of the dynamic capability concept that allows one to understand the rough outline of dynamic capability theory. However, it is noted that this generalized, contingency-based version compromises the prediction of specific dynamic capability deployment outcomes, therefore hindering dynamic capabilities in gaining practical application.

Originality/Value. Complementary and opposing views on the characteristics, causalities and contingencies of the dynamic capability construct are combined and contrasted respectively.

Research limitations/Future research. The paper highlights avenues for further research by contrasting, rather than merging, different perspectives.

Paper type – сonceptual.


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Author Biographies

Klara-Marie Gremme, HTW University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Berlin, Germany


Veit Wohlgemuth, HTW University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Berlin, Germany

 Dr. rer. pol., Professor of International Business


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How to Cite
Gremme, K.-M., & Wohlgemuth, V. (2017). Dynamic capabilities: a systematic literature review of theory and practice. European Journal of Management Issues, 25(1), 30-35. https://doi.org/10.15421/191705