Enhancing Dynamic Capabilities through Organizational Leadership amid COVID-19 Disruption : A case study of a Social Innovation Housing Project in Sweden

University essay from Malmö universitet/Institutionen för Urbana Studier (US)

Abstract: This thesis examines dynamic capabilities and leadership in a Swedish social sustainability-oriented housing project during the unprecedented 2020-2021 COVID-19 business disruption. It employs a descriptive case study approach, investigating the organization’s ability to innovate in the face of the pandemic. Sweden’s related health regulations required adaptations through digital transformation, the adoption of social and physical distancing policies and program testing and measurement delays. Dynamic capabilities literature emphasizes the role of innovation amid disruption, offering a useful analytical framework for examining organizations’ evolutionary fitness. Organizations whose core business incorporates societal needs to promote social sustainability are unusually challenged to deliver services and social programs during a pandemic that limits or extinguishes physical and social interactions. To meet this extraordinary disruption, social sustainability-oriented organizations such as the object of the study must rapidly innovate. Adapting an existing dynamic capabilities framework to analyze the housing organization, this study finds leadership to be crucial to identify, build, and deploy organizational dynamic capabilities for innovation to address such challenges. The study contributes to the existing literature by developing a framework that provides clear connections between leaders, external micro and macro environments, customer value creation and organizational dynamic capabilities. Leaders who can adapt and help their organizations evolve are demonstrated to be an essential capability when dealing with disruptions to social innovations.

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