Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy
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Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy

Edited by Giovanni Battista Dagnino

The Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy presents a comprehensive state-of-the-art picture of current strategic management issues and demarcates the major investigation strands that are likely to shape the field into the future.
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Chapter 6: The Role of Resource-based Theory in Strategic Management Studies: Managerial Implications and Hints for Research

Jay B. Barney, Valentina Della Corte, Mauro Sciarelli and Asil Arikan


Jay B. Barney, Valentina Della Corte, Mauro Sciarelli and Asli Arikan A BROAD VIEW OF THE MAIN APPROACHES IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT A long debate has been developed on resource-based theory (RBT) since the 1980s. When the new assumptions of this theory were explicated, deep and strong reactions came out. The main theoretical questions that have been constantly posed in international debate are essentially two: 1) how can firms gain their competitive success, that is to say their sustainable competitive advantage? 2) why do firms exist? In the last decades, different theories have been developed trying to answer these questions. Among them, some can be regarded as ‘strategic’. Their main questions are in fact posed from a typically strategic point of view (more attention is paid to the first one of the above questions): in this category, industrial organization contributions have to be considered (Porter, 1980, 1985), as well as the strategic side of evolutionary theory (Nelson and Winter, 1982) and resource-based theory. Other theories can be considered as non-strategic (Figure 6.1). These are, in particular, transaction cost economics, agency theory and options theory: they are all based on the assumption that in equilibrium situations or in the long run firms may make the same choices, that is they can arrive at equal results. Besides, they mainly try to answer the question: why do firms exist? They try to examine under which situations companies prefer to invest internally rather than outsource (the traditional ‘make or buy’ decision) and what can be...

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