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The Ressource-Based Tangle: Towards a Sustainable Explanation of Competitive Advantage

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  • Nicolai J Foss
  • Thorbjørn Knudsen

Abstract

The arguably dominant contemporary approach to the analysis of sustained competitive advantage is the resource-based view. Taking Barney (1991) and Peteraf (1993) as representative summary statements of the view, we argue that much resource-based research rests on partial, implicit and problematic assumptions, and that this has led to conclusions that are much less general than the proponents of the view believe. As an example, the widely cited value-rareness-inimitability or heterogeneity-immobility-ex post and ex ante limits to competition lists do not stand up to scrutiny. In general, the view suffers from a confusion of what are necessary conditions for the expression of sustained competitive advantage and what are additional conditions which only serve to give the expression of sustained competitive advantage a specific form. We argue that there are only two necessary conditions for the expression of sustained competitive advantage, namely uncertainty and immobility, and that all other conditions are additional.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School in its series IVS/CBS Working Papers with number 00-1.

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Handle: RePEc:ivs:iivswp:00-1

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Web page: http://www.cbs.dk/forskning_viden/fakulteter_institutter_centre/institutter/oekonomi/ivs/

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Keywords: firm strategy; competitive advantage; resources;

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  1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  2. Joseph Farrell & Hunter K. Monroe & Garth Saloner, 1998. "The Vertical Organization of Industry: Systems Competition versus Component Competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 143-182, 06.
  3. G.C. Archibald & B.C. Eaton & Richard Lipsey, 1982. "Address Models of Value Theory," Working Papers 495, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  4. Amir, Rabah & Wooders, John, 1997. "One-Way Spillovers, Endogenous Innovator/Imitator Roles and Research Joint Ventures," Economics Series 43, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  5. Sutton, John, 1986. "Non-cooperative Bargaining Theory: An Introduction," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 709-24, October.
  6. Demsetz, Harold, 1982. "Barriers to Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 47-57, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Christensen & Thorbjørn Knudsen, 2006. "Organizational Design and Resource Evaluation," DRUID Working Papers 06-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  2. Kraaijenbrink, Jeroen & Spender, JC & Groen, Aard, 2009. "The resource-based view: A review and assessment of its critiques," MPRA Paper 21442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. De Castro, Julio O. & Balkin, David B. & Shepherd, Dean A., 2008. "Can entrepreneurial firms benefit from product piracy?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 75-90, January.

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