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The Resource-Based Perspective An Assessment and Diagnosis of Problems

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  • Nicolai J. Foss

Abstract

The resource-based approach to strategy, which reaches back to the contributions of Penrose, Selznick and Chandler, has gradually become the dominant perspective in strategy (content) research, arguably because it combines realism with relative rigour. The present paper presents the main themes of the contemporary version of the resource-based perspective (Wernerfelt, Rumelt, Barney....) and diagnoses a number of problems, such as the lack of a clear terminology, unclarity as to what really is the unit of analysis, the role of the environment, and the seemingly different versions that exist of the perspective. The perhaps deepest problem, however, is the lack of theorizing with respect to the creation of new resources, which tends to give the perspective a retrospective character and makes its application to managerial practice. It is suggested that resource-based scholars may draw upon work relating to real options, complementarities and organizational learning if they wish to remedy this deficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolai J. Foss, 1997. "The Resource-Based Perspective An Assessment and Diagnosis of Problems," DRUID Working Papers 97-1, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:97-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-528, June.
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    3. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
    4. Mahoney, Joseph T., 1995. "The management of resources and the resource of management," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 91-101, June.
    5. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    6. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    7. Nicolai J. Foss, 1996. "Research In Strategy, Economics, and Michael Porter," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 1-24, January.
    8. Cynthia A. Montgomery, 1994. "Corporate Diversificaton," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 163-178, Summer.
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    Keywords

    Organizational learning strategy;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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