The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management

2018 Edition
| Editors: Mie Augier, David J. Teece

Capability Lifecycle

Reference work entry


The capability lifecycle provides a framework that articulates patterns in the evolution of a capability from birth through maturity, and subsequent branching into additional stages of development (Helfat and Peteraf, Strategic Management Journal 24: 997–1010, 2003). A capability’s lifecycle begins with its founding, when a group of individuals organizes around an objective. Subsequently, in the development stage, a capability is built, refined and improved. Finally, a capability enters the maturity stage, where it ceases development and is maintained through exercise. Before or after reaching maturity, a capability can also transform through the ‘6 R’s’ of capability branching: retirement, retrenchment, renewal, replication, redeployment and recombination.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard UniversityBusiness School, CambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Dartmouth CollegeDartmouthUSA