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Explicating the dynamics of project capabilities

Article highlight

Building on the authors’ previous work on project capabilities over a decade ago, the article extends and reconceptualises the notion of project capabilities to apply to a broader variety of domains.

By looking at recent literature on the topic, the authors widen their original definition of project capabilities to include recent developments in research on how organisations adapt to uncertain and rapidly changing conditions.


  • Dynamic and operational capabilities
  • Ambidexterity
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What does the paper cover?

The paper aims to guide future research on project capabilities by providing three contributions to the topic:

  • Both innovative and routine project capabilities should be developed to deal with the stable and rapidly changing conditions often facing an organisation.
  • The difference between project capabilities at an operational level and dynamic capabilities at a strategic level is distinguished, to show that dynamic capabilities determine when and how a firm should adapt their project capabilities.
  • The relationship between dynamic and project capabilities is reciprocal, meaning that the behaviour of project capabilities can predict the future behaviour of dynamic capabilities.

The paper also provides:

  • Background and theoretical perspectives on project capabilities;
  • A review of the main contributions to dynamic capabilities research since the authors’ original work on project capabilities;
  • Suggestions for the concept of project capabilities to be reformulated to include recent advances in research on organisational ambidexterity;
  • Several directions for future research on project capabilities.
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