MPhil thesis – Academic abstract

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“We wouldn’t be here without the Internet”: The limits and capabilities of digital value chain upgrading in the Philippine independent film sector

Supervised by Dr. Xiaolan Fu

January 2018 - May 2019

Dynamic capabilities approaches argue that, in the face of rapid environmental change, organisational routines in learning can become an effective source of competitive advantage. Such an approach has helped create more sustainable ways of upgrading value chain activities where factor accumulation strategies have neglected the uneven distribution of capital goods facing developing countries. Yet, despite this significance placed on knowledge in fostering competitive advantage, the dynamic capabilities literature fails to locate the role of the individual in the value creation process where analyses have focused on industry- or firm-level activities. Moreover, the emergence of project-based organisations and information technologies challenge pre-conceived assumptions about value chain upgrading, changing the normative strategies, structures and processes capturing sources of competitive advantage.

Thus, this paper seeks to fulfil this analytical gap by studying the impact of Internet-based technologies in upgrading individual and organisational capabilities in the digital value chain of the Philippine independent film sector.
The findings of this paper suggest that Internet-based technologies have upgraded capabilities by liberalising access to knowledge at a scale previously unprecedented. However, it has also perpetuated pre-existing institutional and market imbalances, resulting in the sluggish development of capabilities and the upgrading of the value chain. Using a phenomenological case study approach, this paper aims to further a theoretical understanding of how capabilities in knowledge acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation are upgraded in a temporary setting such as a project, where there is little room for routinised efforts in learning.

Keywords: capabilities, digital value chain, capability upgrading, value chain upgrading, knowledge processing, project-based organisation, Internet-based technologies, Philippine independent film sector.