Dynamic capabilities and the emergence of intraindustry differential firm performance: insights from a simulation study



This paper explores how the dynamic capabilities of firms may be linked to differential firm performance within an industry. A formal model is presented in which dynamic capabilities are treated as a set of routines guiding the evolution of a firm's resource configuration. The model centers on the endogenous choice firms make between resource deployment through imitation and experimentation in order to generate alternative resource configurations. Three performance-relevant attributes of dynamic capabilities are proposed: timing, cost, and learning of resource deployment. Theoretical propositions are developed that suggest how these attributes contribute to the emergence of differential intraindustry firm performance. Simulation analysis offers insights into the trajectories of evolutionary change engendered by dynamic capability, and serves to refine the theoretical propositions. It is found that timing, cost, and learning effects foster the emergence of robust performance differences among firms with strikingly similar dynamic capabilities. Moreover, the results show that even small initial differences among firms can generate significant intraindustry differential firm performance, especially when the effects of timing, cost and learning are combined. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.