The different innovation capabilities of the firm: further remarks upon the Brazilian experience

Par Paulo Antônio Zawislak, Jorge Tello Gamarra, André Cherubini Alves, Denise Barbieux, Fernanda Maciel Reichert

Innovation is considered by many researchers to be the inevitable outcome for the very survival of the firm. Nonetheless, the focus of most research on innovation is on the ability of firms to deliver new technological items to the market and develop new technological process. However important this approach may be, it does not fully explain the reason why some firms sustain better competitive position even when not having a high technological output. We argue that the firm is better understood as a combination of various capabilities and innovation must be seen not only through the technological capabilities approach. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the firm’s innovation through four capabilities that can be found in any firm: development, operations, management and transaction capabilities. We use 44 Brazilian companies to exemplify and demonstrate that the firm’s innovative performance is affected by these capabilities rather than solely a technological one. The companies belong to representative industries in Brazil and encompass different technological intensities as in the OECD classification. The data was collected on visits, interviews and secondary data. The results show that, besides technological capability being an important component in the innovation performance, other capabilities explain why firms differ and perpetuate overtime.
JEL codes: O31, O32


  • technology development
  • operations
  • management and transaction
  • capabilities
  • capability predominance
  • innovation
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