The power of combinative capabilities

facilitating the outcome of frequent innovation in pharmaceutical R&D projects

The purpose of this article is to investigate how organizations organize the early phases of research and development (R&D) projects in the pharmaceutical industry to achieve frequent innovation. The concept of dynamic capabilities as a starting point in exploring the capabilities needed to master the crucial activities of R&D projects as pathfinders for frequent innovation. The investigation was designed as a qualitative multiple case study. The analysis identified a standardized projectification of the preproject phases, leading to certain conflicts, such as a severe tension between dynamic, project, and multiproject capabilities, which hamper frequent innovation. Optimizing combinative capabilities to balance the capabilities triumvirate can provide powerful leverage and boost frequent innovation. This study contributes to the capabilities-based literature of project management and strategic management by demonstrating the potential arising from a holistic view of organizing for innovation through project.
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