Dynamic capabilities at IBM: Driving strategy into action

Dynamic capabilities at IBM: Driving strategy into action

By
J. Bruce Harreld, Charles A. O’Reilly, Michael L. Tushman
California Management Review.
2007, Vol. 49, Issue 4, Pages 21-43

In the past 15 years, the IBM Company has undergone a remarkable transformation from a struggling seller of hardware to a successful broad range solutions provider. Underlying this change is a story of foresighted strategy and disciplined execution—of connecting knowing to doing. In strategic terms, the IBM transformation illustrates the ideas behind dynamic capabilities, showing how the company has been able to sense changes in the marketplace and to seize these opportunities by reconfiguring existing assets and competencies. We review the literature on dynamic capabilities and, using IBM as a case example, show how their strategy process permits them both to explore new markets and technologies (e.g., life sciences, pervasive computing) as well as to exploit mature products and markets (e.g., mainframe computers, middleware).