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Testing whether major innovation capabilities are systemic design capabilities: analyzing rule-renewal design capabilities in a case-control study of historical new business developments


  • Pascal Le Masson

    (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Sylvain Lenfle

    (CRG - Centre de recherche en gestion - X - École polytechnique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Benoit Weil

    (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


In this paper, we empirically test the proposition that major innovation (MI) capabilities are systemic, dynamic capabilities. We rely on design theories and characterize the systemic, dynamic capabilities as design capabilities that renew a core of stabilized design rules. For the specific case of projects leading to new business development, we conducted a case-control study of 46 historical projects; 26 of these led to new business development, and 20 do not lead to new business development. Utilizing this sample, we show that our measurement model, based on rule-reuse vs. rule-renewal design capabilities, has a good fit. We find that rule-renewal design capabilities are positively related to new business development, whereas rule-reuse design capabilities (maintaining an invariant set of design rules) are independent of new business development. We discuss different combinations of rule-reuse and rule-renewal design capabilities. This paper contributes to the literature on MI capabilities. It also theoretically and methodologically contributes to the analysis of the dynamic capabilities of design activities

Suggested Citation

  • Pascal Le Masson & Sylvain Lenfle & Benoit Weil, 2013. "Testing whether major innovation capabilities are systemic design capabilities: analyzing rule-renewal design capabilities in a case-control study of historical new business developments," Post-Print hal-00881700, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00881700
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Cabanes & Philippe Galy & Pascal Le Masson & Benoit Weil, 2016. "Technical Staff Management for Radical Innovation in Science-based Organizations: a New Framework Based on Design Theory," Post-Print hal-01291190, HAL.

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    More about this item


    major innovation; design capabilities; renewal design capabilities; history; project management principles;
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