In Search of Dynamic Capabilities: The Origins of R&D Competence in Biopharmaceuticals

Gary P. Pisano

in The Nature and Dynamics of Organizational Capabilities

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199248544
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596155 | DOI:
 In Search of Dynamic Capabilities: The Origins of R&D Competence in Biopharmaceuticals

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The chapter seeks to shed some light on the issue of creating firms’ unique organizational capabilities by reporting the findings of an in‐depth, field‐based, longitudinal analysis of the evolution of process development capabilities in the pharmaceutical industry. The chapter presents a simple conceptual framework for learning across development projects that highlights the dual ‘outputs’ of development projects: the technology that is implemented in a new process (or product design) and the knowledge that becomes available for future projects. It is argued that the latter can push technical and organizational learning that become part of a firm's knowledge base and which, in turn, influence strategies chosen for and performance achieved on future projects. In the example of four biotechnology organizations is explored the dynamic interaction between the organization's knowledge base, its capability for different development strategies (e.g. learning by doing versus learning before doing), and changes in project performance over time (e.g. lead time).

Keywords: capabilities; innovation strategy; knowledge; learning; pharmaceutical industry; process development; technical change

Chapter.  11918 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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