Towards a Comprehensive Conceptualization of Relational Capabilities: an Innovation Management Perspective

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Angélica Pigola
Priscila Rezende da Costa
Geciane Porto
Marcos Rogério Mazieri


Relational capabilities (RC) draw upon the relational view incorporated into different approaches in competing ways. To provide a clarification of concepts to identify trends, perspectives, and future research opportunities, we conducted a literature review through a bibliometric analysis from 1979 to 2021 publications. Additionally, we highlight the most influential papers that extensively discuss RC and its influences and variations to manage innovation. Findings identify some descriptive insights about publications and the turning point article in the literature that influenced the evolution of RC under the innovation management perspective. RC intertwines into various aspects of innovation management, such as knowledge-based co-creation, learning value, collaborative strategy, innovative ecosystems, strategic management, managing partners, and organizational growth. Therefore, the stream of innovation management leads us to conceptualize RC, highlighting opportunities for further research to solidify RC’s significance. By reviewing and identifying the most influential papers and their authors and systematizing existing knowledge on RC, this research produces theoretical contributions for dynamic capabilities and innovation theory. From a practitioner standpoint, managers likely look at relational resources and strategies towards innovativeness from a new perspective understanding that relational rents exist.

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Author Biographies

Angélica Pigola, Universidade Nove de Julho

Master’s in Administration at University Nove de Julho (UNINOVE), post-graduation in Marketing Management at Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP) and graduate in business administration at Universidade Paulista (UNIP). Corporate experience of 26 years in business administration area, with emphasis on Human Resources Administration, planning and strategy. Supporting companies in mergers and acquisitions providing regulatory support for HR perspectives.

Priscila Rezende da Costa, Universidade Nove de Julho

PhD in Business Administration at University of São Paulo (FEA USP), 2012. Master’s in business administration at University of São Paulo (FEA RP USP), 2007. Graduated in Business Administration at Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), 2005. Currently professor at Universidade Nove de Julho (UNINOVE), in the Postgraduate Program in Administration (PPGA). He coordinates a research project funded by CNPq entitled Generation of Innovations for Sustainable Development: A Study with Technological Companies from Emerging Economies

Geciane Porto, Universidade de São Paulo

Associate Professor at FEARP / USP. Experience in Administration area, with emphasis on innovation management, acting mainly on the themes: company-university cooperation, cooperation networks, technological management, Innovation Habitats: incubators and technology parks. Scholarship holder in Technological Development. Coordinator of Dimension at Instituto Nacional S&T. Coordinator of InGTeC - Research Nucleus for Innovation, Technological Management and Competitiveness.

Marcos Rogério Mazieri, Universidade Nove de Julho

Ph.D. in Administration at UNINOVE - Universidade Nove de Julho, MBA in Marketing at FGV - Fundação Getúlio Vargas, MBA in Finance and Investments at FGV - Fundação Getúlio Vargas, MBA in Capital Fundrising at AIEC – Associação Internacional de Ensino Continuado/UNB and bachelor’s degree in business administration at AIEC - Associação Internacional de Ensino Continuado/UNB. Corporate experience of 20 years in business administration area, with emphasis on Innovation, Finance, Strategy, Analytics and Internationalization.