Core capabilities and core rigidities: A paradox in managing new product development
Version of Record online: 20 FEB 2007
Copyright © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Strategic Management Journal
Special Issue: Special Issue
Volume 13, Issue S1, pages 111–125, Summer 1992
How to Cite
Leonard-Barton, D. (1992), Core capabilities and core rigidities: A paradox in managing new product development. Strat. Mgmt. J., 13: 111–125. doi: 10.1002/smj.4250131009
- Issue online: 20 FEB 2007
- Version of Record online: 20 FEB 2007
- Core capabilities;
- new product development
This paper examines the nature of the core capabilities of a firm, focusing in particular on their interaction with new product and process development projects. Two new concepts about core capabilities are explored here. First, while core capabilities are traditionally treated as clusters of distinct technical systems, skills, and managerial systems, these dimensions of capabilities are deeply rooted in values, which constitute an often overlooked but critical fourth dimension. Second, traditional core capabilities have a down side that inhibits innovation, here called core rigidities. Managers of new product and process development projects thus face a paradox: how to take advantage of core capabilities without being hampered by their dysfunctional flip side. Such projects play an important role in emerging strategies by highlighting the need for change and leading the way. Twenty case studies of new product and process development projects in five firms provide illustrative data.