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The power of combinative capabilities: facilitating the outcome of frequent innovation in pharmaceutical R&D projects
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2011 (English)In: Project Management Journal, ISSN 8756-9728, E-ISSN 1938-9507, Vol. 42, no 2, 63-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 42, no 2, 63-80 p.
Keyword [en]
combinative capabilities; dynamic capabilities; project capabilities; multiproject capabilities; pharmaceutical innovation
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-40253DOI: 10.1002/pmj.20221OAI: diva2:398834
Available from: 2011-02-19 Created: 2011-02-19 Last updated: 2011-10-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Capabilities for frequent innovation: Managing the early project phases in the pharmaceutical R&D process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Capabilities for frequent innovation: Managing the early project phases in the pharmaceutical R&D process
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Despite their recognized significance for project success and innovation, the management of the early project phases is still an under-researched area in project management. For organizations to secure a continuous stream of innovation, the utilization of capabilities is crucial for managing the early phases of R&D projects.

The purpose of this dissertation is to advance the understanding of the management of the early project phases in hypercompetitive environments. The thesis addresses the research question of how organizations manage the early project phases of R&D in hypercompetitive environments for frequent innovation by taking a dynamic capabilities perspective.

The first conceptual study reviews the literature covering organizational change in hypercompetitive environments with a focus on projects as the vehicle to create the necessary flexibility. The study found that organizational aspects and capabilities have to go hand in hand as enabler and facilitator for a successful emergent change process.

The second qualitative study investigates how organizations organize the early project phases of R&D in the pharmaceutical industry for an outcome of frequent innovation. The findings show that an optimization of combinative capabilities that balances dynamic, project and multi-project capabilities can be used as a powerful leverage to boost the outcome of frequent innovation.

The third study investigates the philosophical stances and related methodologies used within the last 15 years of project management research at the example of IRNOP conferences. The findings show that ontological subjectivism and epistemological interpretivism are dominating. Moreover, case studies and qualitative methods were the most common methods, whereas mixed method studies were lacking despite their value for developing an increasingly complex research field.

The final mixed method study explores how absorptive, innovative and adaptive capabilities within the early phases of pharmaceutical R&D affect project and portfolio performance. Based on the results of quantitative study, the set of capabilities has an overall effect on the set of performance outcomes and thus confirms the results of the qualitative study that a distinct capability mix is needed in the pharmaceutical R&D process.

To conclude, the dissertation has comprehensively explored the management of the early project phases through four studies and by applying a multitude of methodologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå School of Business, 2011. 109 + 4 papers p.
Studier i företagsekonomi. Serie B, ISSN 0346-8291 ; 80
Project management research, early project phases, dynamic capabilities, project capabilities, multi-project capabilities, pharmaceutical innovation, hypercompetition, R&D
National Category
Business Administration
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-48634 (URN)978-91-7459-312-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-17, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal s213h, Umeå University, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2011-10-27 Created: 2011-10-26 Last updated: 2011-10-26Bibliographically approved

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