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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