Competitive advantage and
The key role of dynamic capabilities
Salvador Vivas Lo
Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics,
University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to promote the use of dynamic capabilities as a strategic tool of
the highest order in terms of ﬁrm management.
Design/methodology/approach – The content of the article is developed from a table that offers
some insights into the relationship between the three theoretical perspectives analyzed in the paper:
resource-based view, knowledge-based view and dynamic-capabilities view.
Findings – The paper describes the evolution that can be discerned in the process of developing
competitive advantage, from a resource-based view to a dynamic-capabilities framework.
Originality/value – The objective of the article was not to bring to light any new revelations in this
ﬁeld of investigation, but is intended as a theoretical reﬂection on the implications of dynamic
capabilities for ﬁrms and managers.
Keywords Competitive advantage, Management strategy, Knowledge management,
Learning organizations, Resource management
Paper type Conceptual paper
The intentions of this paper are three-fold. On the one hand, as a result of our own
investigations, we will provide a comparative analysis of how relevant academic
literatures has evolved in such a way that dynamic capabilities are presently
considered a business asset of the highest order. Dynamic capabilities are complex,
higher order organizational processes which provide adequate conditions for the
modiﬁcation and renewal of the ﬁrm’s stock of business assets. Secondly, we will
discuss the dynamic-capabilities view (DCV) as having a central role to play in the
analysis and interpretation of complex organizational processes allowing ﬁrms to
remain competitive and adapt to external changes.
Lastly, and as a result of the previous points, we will highlight the use of dynamic
capabilities as an essential element in the development of knowledge-based assets,
which have a high chance of creating and sustaining competitive advantage in what is,
today, an unsettled and globalized business environment. In short, we will present a
framework for identifying the elements that make up the organizational processes
involved in learning and the creation of assets and knowledge. We will also indicate
key points for special consideration by managers in their role as strategists, planners
and designers of the future of their organizations.
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Key role of
Vol. 43 No. 5, 2005
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited