Presentation Slides

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Plenary Session 1: The Origins, Historical Trajectory and Contemporary Applications of the Dynamic Capabilities Approach

Saturday, June 3 11:30-12:45

Elizabeth Cannon, President of the University of Calgary and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, together with Jim Dewald, Dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, will provide opening remarks at this plenary session. 

President Cannon will describe how a dynamic capabilities approach has guided the University of Calgary’s ‘Eyes High’ strategy, and has contributed to the University of Calgary being recognized as the ‘Number One Young University in North America.’  The rise of the University of Calgary as an internationally recognized research institution is one of continuous strategic renewal in a context of high internal and external complexity, and fast-paced change.  Ultimately, a dynamic capability focus means giving more priority to entrepreneurial thinking and experimenting in the University, rather than relying solely on proven, internal routines and on critical relationships with multiple external stakeholders, such as government actors responsible for funding and for determining the University’s mandate in society.

David Teece will explain his own transformation from a scholar specialized in the governance of large organizations, and focused on eliminating the ‘inhospitability tradition’ in American courts, to becoming the flag bearer of the dynamic capabilities school in management research and practice. He will address the origins of the highly influential dynamic capabilities papers published in 1997 and 2007 in the Strategic Management Journal (SMJ), and on the state-of-the-art of dynamic capabilities thinking in 2017.  He will consider three specific topics regarding fundamental, real-world managerial challenges:  (1) the processes of creating and managing intellectual property, and the evolving role of complementary assets and ecosystems in these processes; 2) the challenge of ‘organizing’ for dynamic capabilities; 3) the potential of – and barriers to – adopting a dynamic capabilities approach in public sector organizations, such as large, publicly funded universities.

Birger Wernerfelt, one of the founders of the modern resource-based view (RBV) theory in strategy, and author of the classic 1984 SMJ paper entitled ‘A resource-based view of the firm’, will respond to David Teece’s description of the intellectual history of dynamic capabilities. Professor Wernerfelt will provide his own perspective on the present state of strategy research, as described in his recent Cambridge University Press book that includes a modern RBV theory of the firm, focused on firm-level adaptation and specialization.


picture of Elizabeth Cannon
Elizabeth Cannon
University of Calgary


picture of Jim Dewald
Jim Dewald
University of Calgary

Plenary Speakers

picture of David Teece
David Teece
University of California, Berkeley