abstract Given that firms have both business and social goals, an important unanswered question is whether a general dynamic capability breeds competencies in both these areas. In studies of the US retail food industry, we find that while a general dynamic capability affects firms’ competence in supply chain management (a business competency), it does not affect their competence in environmental management (a social competency). Firm mission and the extent to which firms obtain technical assistance are found to affect the acquisition of this latter competency. These findings offer insights into the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm and provide lessons for corporate social responsibility. They reveal more precisely what a general dynamic capability yields and how far its reach extends, suggesting that the factors that drive competitive advantage are not the same as those that drive social responsibility.