Leveraging big data
: the development of new dynamic capabilities

  • Claire Brewis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Radical technological development over the last thirty years has disrupted the ways that firms operate. The widespread take-up of technological devices has led to a proliferation in rich data capturing every human-computer interaction. Established firms are being challenged by digitally-born competitors using big data-led business models.

Big data brings huge opportunities in terms of market intelligence, the identification of new development prospects, and market insights that can inform firms’ strategic marketing choices. Although there is evidence that firms can improve their performance and competitiveness by adopting big data, many are failing to exploit this new data resource. There is limited understanding of how the firms that are benefitting from big data are achieving these improvements. The research uses a dynamic capabilities lens to investigate the capabilities that established firms use to make efficient and effective use of the big data resource in a turbulent environment. Reflecting the lack of knowledge and limited theory development in this domain, the research uses a qualitative, inductive approach. Interviews in four case study firms, capture the voices of experience of twenty-one senior managers in established firms, who have used big data in strategic marketing projects. Using the Gioia Methodology, their insights into the value of big data in these marketing projects and the capabilities needed to use the new resource, provide the basis for two new theoretical models.

The New Data Value Wheel records the five characteristics of big data being used by the case study firms and identifies the value-creating potential of each characteristic. The Big Data-Driven Capabilities Model presents the five dynamic capabilities that the firms are using to leverage the big data resource in their strategic marketing. The approaches used by the firms to cons the five capabilities are provided in a supporting framework.

The research bridges management and information systems (IS) literature, contributing to theory by using a dynamic capabilities lens from management to investigate the IS, big data phenomenon. The research also makes a methodological contribution through adaptation of the Gioia Methodology to add granularity to the process of analysis. Furthermore, the two new models make a timely contribution to marketing practice by providing frameworks, based on practical experience, for organisations seeking to leverage value from big data.
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorMaureen Meadows (Supervisor) & Sally Dibb (Supervisor)

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