Management International Review

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 225–250 | Cite as

Dynamic Capabilities of Multinational Enterprises: The Dominant Logics Behind Sensing, Seizing, and Transforming Matter!

  • Lars Matysiak
  • Alan M. Rugman
  • Andreas Bausch
Research Article


The dynamic capabilities approach explains how firms create and sustain competitive advantages in dynamic environments if they exhibit technical and evolutionary fitness. Multinational enterprises (MNEs) are not only exposed to industry dynamism, but also to dynamism in the different country environments in which they operate. Understanding the dynamic capabilities of MNEs thus requires analyzing not only the firm dimension, but also the country dimension and firm–country interactions of international business. Building on the analytical disaggregation of dynamic capabilities into: (1) sensing opportunities (or threats), (2) seizing (or neutralizing) them via expedient investments, and (3) transforming the firm and its resources and capabilities accordingly, we conceptualize the relationships between the dominant logics behind MNEs’ sensing, seizing, and transforming and evolutionary fitness. First, we propose that a dominant logic behind sensing, based on an application of resource-based view thinking to the international business context (which we develop to separately explain the three component parts of MNEs’ competitive advantages, i.e., non-location bound firm-specific advantages, country-specific advantages, and location bound firm-specific advantages), positively moderates the effect of sensing processes and routines on evolutionary fitness. Second, we propose that a dominant logic behind seizing, based on internalization theory thinking, positively moderates the effect of seizing processes and routines on evolutionary fitness. Third, we propose that a dominant logic behind transforming, based on a broad agency perspective extended to the international business context, positively moderates the effect of transforming processes and routines on evolutionary fitness.


Dynamic capabilities Multinational enterprises Sensing, seizing, transforming Resource-based view Internalization theory Agency theory 



We would like to thank our editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Furthermore, we thank, in alphabetical order, Professors Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra, Niron Hashai, and Ram Mudambi for their reviews and helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. We would also like to thank Professors Jean-Francois Hennart, Thomas Hutzschenreuter, and Alain Verbeke for their invaluable input in a joint panel session at the 2013 EIBA conference in Bremen.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Justus Liebig University GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Henley Business SchoolUniversity of ReadingOxonUK

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