How did a local guerrilla turn into a global gorilla? Learning how transformational change happened under dynamic capabilities from the rise of Huawei

Xin Liang, Lin Xiu, Wei Fang, Sibin Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: In this paper, the authors tentatively develop a theoretical model that depicts how the dynamic capabilities of a firm may be driven by three macro-organizational foundations: visionary leadership, organizational culture, and empowered human resources. The authors propose that visionary leaders are the original driver of dynamic capabilities and that visionary leaders create a unique organizational culture and empowered human resources so that their organizations embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship, an orientation toward learning, and a commitment to mission-driven improvement. Design/methodology/approach: The authors use a case of the early success of a highly performing Chinese telecommunication equipment producer, Huawei Technology, to explain the theoretical model that shows how dynamic capabilities are developed as visionary leaders influence firm routines for learning, innovation, and strategic human resource policies, which in turn collectively create and update operational capabilities to deliver directly manipulatable competitive advantages. Findings: The paper concludes by arguing that the sources of dynamic capabilities need not be dynamic. Instead, visionary leadership, organizational culture, and human resource policies are relatively stable factors in comparison with other possible competence-building mechanisms such as innovation or ambidexterity. Practical implications: The authors’ model provides a direction for firms in high-tech industries to develop dynamic capabilities in order to maintain competitiveness and sustain high performance. Originality/value: This paper is the first to present three macro-level drivers of dynamic capabilities, and it is also the first to understand the success of Huawei from a dynamic capabilities perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-414
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 23 2020

Keywords

  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Empowered human resource
  • Organizational culture
  • Visionary leadership

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