The impact of organizational boundaries on (re)building capabilities

Galvin, Peter & Tywoniak, Stephane (2013) The impact of organizational boundaries on (re)building capabilities. In 27th Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management (BAM2013) : Managing to Make a Difference, 10-12 September 2013, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)


The literature concerning firm boundaries has focussed extensively on the rationale for different boundary choices and the economic efficiencies that such choices can make. There is also an acknowledged position that a firm’s boundary choices may impact the ability of a firm to maintain and even build new capabilities, though such choices may not be optimal from an economic efficiency perspective. It is in this context that we seek to investigate how firms make this potential trade-off in respect of their boundary choices and how these choices are implemented across a wide range of activities. Using qualitative data from three public sector construction oriented organizations, we observe that neither pure make nor buy decisions assisted significantly in capability building. Dual modes – where firms make and buy the same product or service simultaneously – provided firms with some opportunities to manage this paradox, but the most successful decisions seemed to occur in respect of using intermediate governance modes such as alliances. We also observed that the boundary choice was just one dimension of the capability building process and firms pursuing the same boundary choice decisions often had quite divergent outcomes on the basis of their boundary management and the ability of knowledge to move across firm boundaries.

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ID Code: 65729
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Organizational Boundaries, Building Capability, Rebuilding Capability
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Planning and Management (150312)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 07 Jan 2014 23:31
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2014 18:00

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