In Search of a Contemporary Strategic Management Approach: Identification and Assessment of the Means to Achieve Strategic Renewal and Sustain Competitive Advantage

Christina Bach Schou Stub

Student thesis: Master thesis


Over the past decades, generation and management of intangible assets has grown to surpass scale economies in importance for enabling creation and preservation of competitive advantages at the organisational level. Knowledge increasingly constitutes of ‘bottle-neck assets’, allowing innovating organisations to differentiate, establish and sustain successful competitive positions through continuous renewal of their resource bases. This has led to organisations increasingly distinguishing themselves based on what they currently know and are capable of learning. In line with this shift in competition, a dynamic capability view is currently emerging as an extension of the resource-based view of the firm. Taking point of departure in the dynamism of capabilities, embodying the capacity to deploy a combination of resources through collective competencies to achieve objectives, it anticipates the organisation as a repository of existing and potential capabilities. Provided that knowledge is the foundation of competences, it is eventually expected to render obsolete and expire the bases of competitive advantages, continuous enhancement hereof is required. In this respect, the dynamic capability view identifies learning as the means to achieve continuous strategic renewal of the resource base. However, my proposition is that it has yet to attain an adequate elaboration of learning as a concept. Therefore, this thesis aims at extending existing research within the field of strategic management, by elaborating on organisational learning as the principal means to achieve strategic renewal. Hence, it is emphasised that the current adopted conceptualisation of learning within the dynamic capability view, lacks explicit contemplation to the notion of knowledge creation. With knowledge being the key competitive parameter, similarly constituting the foundation for competencies I however find this a necessity. Ultimately, it is suggested that certain impediments to learning and knowledge creation prevail. Through a brief examination, it is contended that the notion of path-dependencies captures the essence of these and impose boundaries as to the range of strategic objectives the organisation should pursue. Hence, it is certified that the organisation should pursue continuous exploitation and explore potential synergies among the competencies underlying their capabilities to sustain competitive advantages.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages100
SupervisorsKristina Dahlin