Project Management Institute

Dynamic capabilities in complex projects

the case of London Heathrow terminal 5

Whereas existing approaches and empirical studies of dynamic capabilities focus on the strategic innovation activities of firms (i.e., permanent organizations executing multiple projects and programs), this article identifies how certain types of dynamic capabilities are required to deliver large, complex, and risky projects involving multiple parties. Our longitudinal study of the design and construction of Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 by the British Airports Authority (BAA) makes three main contributions to the literature: (1) It contributes to the project management literature by identifying how specific dynamic capabilities (BAAs "T5 Agreement," strategic behaviors, and collaborative processes) are developed through a three-phase process (learning, codifying, and mobilizing) to support the strategic management of complex projects. (2) While emphasizing their importance for the successful management of complex projects, our findings also underline the continuing fragility of dynamic capabilities.
member content locked

Log in or join PMI to gain access

or Join



Related Content

  • PM Network

    The New Space Race

    By Ali, Ambreen | Hendershot, Steve | Hermans, Amanda | Thomas, Jen | Wilkinson, Amy Talk about timing. When Earth and Mars aligned at their closest points in two years, in July, aerospace leaders around the world jumped at the chance to explore the red planet. Following successful…

  • PM Network

    Quantum Leap

    By Ali, Ambreen | Hendershot, Steve | Hermans, Amanda | Thomas, Jen | Wilkinson, Amy When Google announced in August that one of its quantum computers had succeeded in simulating a chemical reaction, it became the latest breakthrough for the technology. Quantum’s promise: harnessing…

  • PM Network

    High-Wire Act

    By Parsi, Novid Seven years ago, government leaders in Alberta, Canada vowed to take a major step toward addressing the energy needs of the growing province. The resulting transmission line, the longest of its kind…

  • Sponsored Research

    Reinventing Megaproject Delivery Models

    By Denicol, Juliano Megaprojects are usually proposed by the public sector as a reflection of the government delivering a new physical asset to address a necessity of the society, improve living conditions, foster…

  • PMI White Papers

    The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Project Business

    By Project Management Institute | Project Business Foundation This is a report on the results of a survey jointly conducted by PMI and the Project Business Foundation. The intention was to replace observations and opinions with reliable data. The mission was…