Dynamic capabilities for sustainability: Toward a typology based on dimensions of sustainability-oriented innovation and stakeholder integration

Daniela Ortiz-Avram, Nelly Ovcharova, Alexander Engelmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This study aims to synthesize the current state of knowledge on conceptualizations of dynamic capabilities for sustainability (DCsS)—patterns of behavior in organizations specialized in adapting to sustainability demands. Our main goal is to elucidate the theoretical nature of the DCsS construct and provide a theoretical foundation for future empirical works. We perform a systematic literature review focused on existing conceptualizations of DCsS. Our content analysis of 86 articles reveals two emerging dimensions that account for variation in DCsS definitions: (i) the novelty degree of pursued sustainability-oriented innovations and (ii) the level of stakeholder integration. Based on these dimensions, we identify four distinct types of DCsS: (1) firm-level eco-efficiency; (2) Firm-level transformation; (3) supply chain or network level eco-efficiency; and (4) systemic transformation. We illustrate the predominant underlying practices and related outcomes of each type, as described in the literature. By developing a typology that integrates distinct conceptualizations, we substantiate and clarify the DCsS construct, thus providing a fruitful starting point for more distinct and focused operationalizations of DCsS. By conceptualizing
sustainability-oriented innovation and level of stakeholder integration as integral
dimensions constituting DCsS, we offer a more nuanced theoretical understanding of the DCsS construct.
Original languageGerman
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

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