Operational capabilities

Research in the RBV has identified and elaborated different types of capabilities. While a range of typologies exists, these tend to share the fundamental distinction between operational and dynamic capabilities (e.g. Wang and Ahmed, 2007). In this view, operational capabilities are fundamental to the basic routines and functioning of an organization. They involve “performing an activity, such as manufacturing a particular product, using a collection of routines to execute and coordinate the variety of tasks required to perform the activity” (Helfat and Peteraf, 2003, p. 999). For social movements, the ability to prepare and distribute newsletters to members or to train activists in the use of standard non-violent protests techniques come to mind as examples of operational capabilities. Perhaps a useful way of illustrating the concept of operational capabilities in a social movement context is to think of them as the contents of an SMO’s repertoire of action at a given point in time.

Pekarek, A. and Gahan, P. 2008. From Resource Mobilization to Strategic Capacity: Reconceptualizing Resources and Capabilities in Social Movement Theory. Work & Employment Rights Research Centre Research Report 07/08 September 2008. Monash University

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