Dynamic capabilities in complex projects: the case of London Heathrow Terminal 5

Davies, Andrew, Dodgson, Mark and Gann, David (2016) Dynamic capabilities in complex projects: the case of London Heathrow Terminal 5. Project Management Journal, 47 2: 26-46. doi:10.1002/pmj.21574

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Author Davies, Andrew
Dodgson, Mark
Gann, David
Title Dynamic capabilities in complex projects: the case of London Heathrow Terminal 5
Journal name Project Management Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 8756-9728
1938-9507
Publication date 2016-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/pmj.21574
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 47
Issue 2
Start page 26
End page 46
Total pages 21
Place of publication Hoboken NJ, United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Language eng
Subject 1403 Business and International Management
1408 Strategy and Management
1405 Management of Technology and Innovation
Abstract Whereas existing approaches and empirical studies of dynamic capabilities focus on the strategic innovation activities of firms (i.e., permanent organizations executing multiple projects and programs), this article identifies how certain types of dynamic capabilities are required to deliver large, complex, and risky projects involving multiple parties. Our longitudinal study of the design and construction of Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 by the British Airports Authority (BAA) makes three main contributions to the literature: (1) It contributes to the project management literature by identifying how specific dynamic capabilities (BAA's "T5 Agreement," strategic behaviors, and collaborative processes) are developed through a three-phase process (learning, codifying, and mobilizing) to support the strategic management of complex projects. (2) While emphasizing their importance for the successful management of complex projects, our findings also underline the continuing fragility of dynamic capabilities. (3) The case study reveals their fluidity and balancing role with respect to demands for stability and change in complex, uncertain, and volatile project environments.
Formatted abstract
Whereas existing approaches and empirical studies of dynamic capabilities focus on the strategic innovation activities of firms (i.e., permanent organizations executing multiple projects and programs), this article identifies how certain types of dynamic capabilities are required to deliver large, complex, and risky projects involving multiple parties. Our longitudinal study of the design and construction of Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 by the British Airports Authority (BAA) makes three main contributions to the literature: (1) It contributes to the project management literature by identifying how specific dynamic capabilities (BAA’s “T5 Agreement,” strategic behaviors, and collaborative processes) are developed through a three-phase process (learning, codifying, and mobilizing) to support the strategic management of complex projects. (2) While emphasizing their importance for the successful management of complex projects, our findings also underline the continuing fragility of dynamic capabilities. (3) The case study reveals their fluidity and balancing role with respect to demands for stability and change in complex, uncertain, and volatile project environments.
Keyword Dynamic capabilities
Complex projects
Risk and uncertainty
Owner operator
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 16 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 10 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 23 Mar 2016, 21:04:51 EST by Karen Morgan on behalf of UQ Business School