Capability building through adversarial relationships: A replication and extension of Clarke and Roome (1999)
Cooperative interorganizational relationships are seen by many as indispensable vehicles for accessing external knowledge and accumulating capabilities. Surprisingly, the question of whether companies can also build capabilities through adversarial relationships has received little attention. This paper reports a study of the learning-action network of a major Anglo-Dutch food and personal care company. The firm's present relationships with consumer representatives and environmental activists are strongly adversarial, due to the recent introduction of genetically modified ingredients. The study shows that companies can still build capabilities in a hostile environment, but that adversity influences capability building processes as well as capability content.