SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Edith Penrose's Legacy: Dynamic Capabilities, Humanomics, Innovation and the Growth of Firms

Kofi Adjepong-Boateng, Bill Lazonick (University of Massachusetts), Jonathan Michie (Oxford University), Christine Oughton (SOAS University of London), Angela Penrose (Author)

Date: 28 October 2020Time: 4:00 PM

Finishes: 28 October 2020Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Event

Register for this event

Edith Penrose’s ground breaking analysis of the growth of firms provided a new dynamic approach to understanding business performance.  Rather than seeking to explain the optimal size and efficiency of firms, something that had preoccupied much of economic theory since Marshall, Penrose focused on a different question: why, faced with the same market conditions, do some firms survive and flourish while others stagnate and die? Her answer pointed to the key role of firms’ managerial, or entrepreneurial capacity to create and renew the resources necessary to innovate and grow.  Penrose’s analysis provided fertile ground upon which to sow new theories of firm behaviour, dynamic business performance and strategic management, leading to the development of the resource-based view of the firm and the approaches of dynamic capabilities in strategic management.

Penrose viewed the firm as a collection of productive resources. Prime amongst these are technology, knowledge, marketing expertise and above all, the managerial capabilities that enable firms to exploit and renew their resources, create new products and grow. Her focus was on the role of managers in enabling creativity and growth. Firms grow over time by enhancing the productive potential of the internal resources at their disposal.

This panel considers Edith Penrose’s legacy, focusing on her theoretical and practical contributions to our understanding of learning, innovation and managers’ ability to renew the human capabilities of the firm. The panel also explores Penrose’s underlying methodology and considers whether a further significant contribution lies in Penrose’s use of humanistic economics to replace the conventional assumption of “maximising” behaviour.

This online panel will open with short contributions from our speakers followed by an interactive question and answer session.

Organiser: Penrose Committee