Innovation capabilities accumulation using a lifecycle approach: The case of a Mexican steel company
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How are innovation capabilities created in a firm in an emerging economy, why does such a firm decide to start to innovate? These are two of the challenging questions that direct this study. A Mexican steel company, called "Steel Company", is the subject of study. This company started to operate with obsolete equipment, and thanks to a strong management commitment to innovation, it could develop its own processing technology becoming the world technological leader in its market. This study uses a single case study research design in order to start the academic discussion regarding both questions. Capabilities life-cycles are identified, with a cluster of strategic capabilities evolving in a synergetic way, accumulating and diminishing innovation capabilities along the firm history. Strong context effects, shareholder and management support, and corporate strategy changes are among key factors that conducted this evolutionary process. The need to consider spin outs from the firm when studying the dynamics of capabilities is identified as an interesting future research for regional development purposes, as innovation capabilities can be transferred crossing the boundaries of the firm.