Quo vadis, dynamic capabilities? A content-analytic review of the current state of knowledge and recommendations for future research

Oliver Schilke, Songcui - Hu, Constance E. Helfat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations


Although the dynamic capabilities perspective has become one of the most frequently used theoretical lenses in management research, critics have repeatedly voiced their frustration with this literature, particularly bemoaning the lack of empirical knowledge and the underspecification of the construct of dynamic capabilities. But research on dynamic capabilities has advanced considerably since its early years, in which most contributions to this literature were purely conceptual. A plethora of empirical studies as well as further theoretical elaborations have shed substantial light on a variety of specific, measurable factors connected to dynamic capabilities. Our article starts out by analyzing these studies to develop a meta-framework that specifies antecedents, dimensions, mechanisms, moderators, and outcomes of dynamic capabilities identified in the literature to date. This framework provides a comprehensive and systematic synthesis of the dynamic capabilities perspective that reflects the richness of the research while at the same time unifying it into a cohesive, overarching model. Such an analysis has not yet been undertaken; no comprehensive framework with this level of detail has previously been presented for dynamic capabilities. Our analysis shows where research has made the most progress and where gaps and unresolved tensions remain. Based on this analysis, we propose a forward-looking research agenda that outlines directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-439
Number of pages50
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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