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Strategic Management Journal

Strat. Mgmt. J., 28: 121–146 (2007) Published online in Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.1002/smj.573 Received 2 September 2005; Final revision received 13 July 2006

Villanova School of Business, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

The resource-based view (RBV) is one of the most widely accepted theories of strategic management. However, to date no systematic assessment of the RBV’s level of empirical support has been conducted. In response, a sample of RBV-grounded empirical articles was analyzed from which it was found that the RBV has received only modest support overall and that this support varies considerably with the independent variable and theoretical approach employed. It is therefore suggested that scholars avoid the tendency to test models reflecting early incarnations of the RBV and instead test those that incorporate its more contemporary theoretical extensions. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The resource-based view of the firm (RBV) is one of the most widely accepted theoretical perspectives in the strategic management field (Powell, 2001; Priem and Butler, 2001; Rouse and Daellenbach, 2002). As such, the RBV has become a dominant theory upon which arguments in academic journals and textbooks alike have been grounded. Thus, much of what we as strategy scholars study, write about, and teach has been greatly influenced by the fundamental arguments of the RBV. Given that all theories must survive repeated attempts at empirical falsification before they can be accepted as ‘true’ (Godfrey and Hill, 1995), one might assume that the RBV owes its influence to well-documented assessments of the empirical support for its central tenets. Surprisingly, such is not the case. In fact, while there have certainly been many individual tests of the RBV’s fundamental hypotheses in the empirical literature, there
Keywords: resource-based view; empirical literature; assessment
*Correspondence to: Scott L. Newbert, Villanova School of Business, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085, U.S.A. E-mail:

has been only one scholarly review of the results of this research. In 2001, Barney and Arikan published an assessment of 166 empirical articles that test the RBV in one form or another. The authors conclude from this study that of these 166 studies, only four (2%) present results that are at least partially inconsistent with RBV logic. Although at face value Barney and Arikan’s (2001) findings would seem to validate the RBV as a ‘true’ (in the words of Godfrey and Hill, 1995) theory, such a conclusion may be premature for at least two reasons. First, unlike the present study, Barney and Arikan (2001) seek to simply identify articles that have reported some empirical results in support of the RBV. More specifically, Barney and Arikan conclude that an article is consistent with the RBV so long as none of the findings it reports are inconsistent with resource-based logic. Though this may sound obvious by definition (what is not inconsistent must be consistent), it is important to note that Barney and Arikan do not treat non-findings (such as insignificant regression coefficients) as indicating inconsistency. Instead, they only treat findings

Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


S. L. Newbert
this paper will then discuss which streams of the RBV appear most promising and outline an agenda that may facilitate the further testing of the RBV in the future.

that are counter to (such as significant regression coefficients with a sign opposite what the RBV would predict) as indicating inconsistency. Given that many empirical articles fail to find support for all hypotheses tested, Barney and Arikan’s study cannot be used (nor was it intended to be used) to assess the actual level of support for the RBV. Second, though extremely comprehensive in nature, Barney and Arikan’s (2001) sample is not immune from selection bias. Because they identified their sample based entirely on their knowledge of the empirical literature, it is possible that they may have inadvertently omitted articles, such as those published in journals representing academic disciplines with which they were less familiar, that may have nonetheless tested the RBV. This is not to disparage the authors’ collective expertise in the field; to be sure, the articles these wellaccomplished scholars selected for review are certainly relevant to an assessment of the RBV. At the same time, however, it is important to note that this type of subjective sampling may result in the selection of articles based on the researcher’s unconscious predispositions, the consequence of which is a potentially biased sample that does not accurately represent the population from which it was drawn (Kerlinger and Lee, 2000: Ch. 8). Given the nature of Barney and Arikan’s (2001) framing and sampling technique, and because no other assessment of the RBV literature has yet been conducted, the actual level of empirical support for the RBV remains uncertain. Such uncertainty may be worrisome to the RBV’s supporters in that without systematic evidence of its validity it is possible that the RBV’s fundamental hypotheses are incomplete and/or require further theoretical development, a consequence that may subject any research relying on the theoretical arguments from the RBV to propose propositions, develop and test hypotheses, prescribe practitioner advice, and/or otherwise extend our understanding of business strategy to unwelcome scrutiny. In response to this possibility, this paper seeks to advance our understanding of the RBV by conducting a systematic review and analysis of the empirical literature. Following closely the methodology employed by David and Han (2004) in their assessment of the empirical support for transaction cost economics (TCE), this paper seeks to assess the manner in which the RBV has been empirically tested as well as the actual level of support it has received. Based on the subsequent findings,
Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Edith Penrose was one of the first scholars to recognize the importance of resources to a firm’s competitive position. In 1959, she argued that a firm’s growth, both internally and then externally through merger, acquisition, and diversification, is due to the manner in which its resources are employed. She began by arguing that a firm consists of ‘a collection of productive resources’ (Penrose, 1959: 24) and continued by suggesting that these resources may only contribute to a firm’s competitive position to the extent that they are exploited in such a manner that their potentially valuable services are made available to the firm. Aside from Penrose (1959), Rubin (1973) is argued to be one of the few scholars to conceptualize firms as resource bundles prior to the formal origins of the RBV (Wernerfelt, 1984). Like Penrose, Rubin recognized that resources were not of much use by themselves. Instead of merely possessing resources, Rubin (1973: 937) argued that ‘firms must process raw resources to make them useful.’ Building on the inroads made by Penrose and Rubin, Wernerfelt, in the first attempt at formalizing the RBV, argued that ‘[f]or the firm, resources and products are two sides of the same coin’ (Wernerfelt, 1984: 171). In other words, while a firm’s performance is driven directly by its products, it is indirectly (and ultimately) driven by the resources that go into their production, a point that was further clarified by Barney (1986) 2 years later.1 Given this line of reasoning, Wernerfelt (1984) proposed that firms may earn above normal returns by identifying and acquiring resources that are critical to the development of demanded products. Because of the rather abstract nature of Wernerfelt’s (1984) seminal work, acceptance of this theoretical perspective did not immediately gain support from academic audiences. Indeed, Wernerfelt
1 The author thanks an anonymous reviewer for helping clarify this point.

Strat. Mgmt. J., 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10.1002/smj

‘Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. . Rare Resource/Capability Competitive Advantage Performance Valuable. 1995: 171). ‘the processes through which particular resources provide competitive advantage remain in a black box’ (Barney. knowledge. years later Barney admits adopting the assumption in 1991 that ‘once a firm understands how to use its resources . This paper is widely regarded as the first formalization of the then-fragmented resourcebased literature into a comprehensive (and thus empirically testable) theoretical framework. J. Barney (1991) also contended.’ published in Harvard Business Review. . .’ published in the Journal of Management in 1991. Rare. [e]ven I did not cite it’ (Wernerfelt. these authors focused not only on static resources but also the firm’s inimitable skills. These assumptions conjointly allow for differences in firm resource endowments to both exist and persist over time.Empirical Research on the RBV (1995) himself acknowledges that his 1984 article was ‘terse and abstract . In response to this missing link between resource possession and resource exploitation. Prahalad and Hamel (1990) argued that the critical task of management was to create radical new products. Indeed. They continue by noting that in Barney’s interpretation of the RBV. 1995) and contained no testable propositions. Inimitable. which was enabled by the exploitative nature of the firm’s core competences. who argued that to confer a competitive advantage to a given firm its valuable resources must be properly Valuable. implementation follows. its focus on resource exploitation was largely ignored at the time by empirical scholars. The first was Prahalad and Hamel’s 1990 paper. almost automatically’ as if the ‘[a]ctions the firm should take to exploit these resources will be self-evident’ (Barney..1002/smj . Rumelt. Ltd. Barney’s (1991) conceptual model Strat. 1992: 365). and others. with which they are deployed. . Most notably. One of the primary critiques of Barney’s (1991) expression of the RBV over time has been its rather static nature. . Despite the merits of Prahalad and Hamel’s (1990) paper. thereby allowing for a resource-based competitive advantage. Much like Penrose (1959) and Rubin (1973). technologies. (1984). Barney (1991) based his articulation of the RBV on two fundamental assumptions: that resources (and capabilities) are heterogeneously distributed among firms and that they are imperfectly mobile. The second influential paper was Jay Barney’s article. widespread appreciation for the RBV did not begin to accumulate until several years later with the publication of two papers. . 2001: 33). In this paper. Barney’s (1991) conceptual model is interpreted parsimoniously in Figure 1. Priem and Butler argue that in ‘[a]lthough the RBV began as a dynamic approach . etc. 2001: 33). Mgmt. Similar arguments were put forth by Peteraf and by Henderson and Cockburn. Mahoney and Pandain reminded scholars that ‘[a] firm may achieve rents not because it has better resources.. much of the subsequent literature has been static in concept’ (Priem and Butler. Barney (1991) argued that 123 firms that possessed resources that were valuable and rare would attain a competitive advantage and enjoy improved performance in the short term. Non-substitutable Resource/Capability Sustained Competitive Advantage Sustained Performance Figure 1. Wernerfelt (1984). ‘The core competence of the corporation. that in order for a firm to sustain these advantages over time its resources must also be inimitable and non-substitutable. 2001: 53). but rather the firm’s distinctive competence involves making better use of its resources’ (Mahoney and Pandain. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. drawing heavily on Dierickx and Cool (1989). They continued by suggesting that firms that make the best use of their resources are those that allocate them in such a way that their productivity and/or financial yield are maximized. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. Drawing on arguments by Penrose (1959). perhaps because it was positioned as a paper for practitioners (Wernerfelt. As such.

Pisano. In addition to possessing these ingredients. This rediscovered attention to process led to the emergence of two theoretical approaches within the RBV.1002/smj . Building in part off of Mahoney and Pandain (1992). 1991. The first was Barney’s VRIO framework. As is obvious from the above discussion. nonsubstitutable resources and capabilities. METHODOLOGY In order to assess the RBV’s support in the empirical literature. leveraged (Peteraf. they are by themselves insufficient. rare. 1993) or managed (Henderson and Cockburn. Barney and Mackey. Boyd. Barney and Wright. 1992).124 S. strategy. control systems.. Originally formalized in 1991 as a rather static list of the ingredients for competitive advantage. the RBV has come a long way over the past decade and a half. and Shuen proposed the dynamic capabilities framework ‘to explain how combinations of competences and resources can be developed. Concurrent with the publication of Barney’s VRIO framework was a second and radically new theoretical approach that more specifically defined the types of processes by which firms could exploit resources. Barney argued that in addition to simply possessing valuable. David and Han ‘identify a representative sample of studies that empirically tested the core tenets of Williamson’s TCE’ (David and Han. 2005). and protected’ (Teece. firms seeking a competitive advantage must also demonstrate the ability to alter them in such a way that their full potential is realized. inimitable (which by then included non-substitutable) resources. In their influential paper. evolve. transformation-based competencies (Lado. a sample of articles testing hypotheses grounded in the RBV was identified using an adapted version of the approach developed by David and Han (2004). 1982. and Shuen. 1997: 160. in their assessment of the TCE empirical literature. such as core capabilities (LeonardBarton. and Wright. build and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments’ (Teece et al.’ or webs of relationships by which resources can be coordinated and/or deployed. collide. To do so. Mgmt. Strat. Subsequently. 2004: 43).. it has evolved into a dynamic recipe explaining the process by which these ingredients must be utilized to attain this end. 2000: 1107). This line of reasoning echoed much of Winter’s early work on organizational routines (Nelson and Winter. and compensation policies (Barney. competences (Fiol. In short. they defined a dynamic capability as ‘the firm’s ability to integrate. inimitable. and die’ (Eisenhardt and Martin. rare. Specifically. 1995) in which he argued that while resources are no doubt important to a firm’s competitive advantage. This approach was chosen as it represents a more objective approach than that used by Barney and Arikan (2001). 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. He added that the implementation skills that could ensure proper resource exploitation included such organizational components as structure. Teece. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. and capabilities (Amit and Schoemaker. These authors contended that resources are of no real value to the firm in isolation. 1998). Eisenhardt and Martin later averred that dynamic capabilities ‘are the organizational and strategic routines by which firms achieve new resource configurations as markets emerge. thereby mitigating some of the bias noted above that may result when samples are selected via purely subjective criteria. L. it is also understood that such a condition is nonetheless insufficient. To earn above normal rents. Instead. organizational capabilities (Russo and Fouts. 1997: 516). Ltd. deployed. 1997). Winter. Newbert Winter (1995) suggested that firms needed to also possess and be able to replicate ‘routines. 1992). via the following set of criteria:2 2 Refer to David and Han (2004) for a fuller description of the methodology by which articles were selected. 1997. 1997: 510). a great deal of theoretical work began to emerge regarding the types of processes to which resources must be subjected in order to exploit their latent value. they reaffirmed that their latent value could only be made available to the firm via its idiosyncratic dynamic capabilities. 1994). combinative capabilities (Kogut and Zander. 1992). split. or context that encouraged a general and unified approach to the utilization of its resources. 1993). Pisano. Building on the work of both sets of scholars. Reed and DeFillippi. While it is now understood that it is no doubt necessary for a firm to possess valuable. a firm also needed to be organized in such a manner that it could exploit the full potential of those resources if it was to attain a competitive advantage (Barney. J. the organization of a firm was considered to be a firm-level orientation. 1990).

Mgmt.. valu∗ . rare∗ . statistical. Whereas David and Han (2004) initially select articles that contain either transaction∗ or cost∗ in their abstract or title.05 (the largest p-value reported in all studies) was used in order to ensure that the significance of all test results in the sample were evaluated via the same metric. such as American Medical News and Hospital and Health Services Administration.05 level. immob∗ . perform∗ . David and Han (2004) identify 12 additional keywords that articles must have in their title or abstract in order to be considered relevant to TCE (criterion 4). which would have been eliminated anyway in step 7.10 level. imitab∗ . Although the RBV has been used to explain a variety of alternative dependent variables. or organizing. inimitab∗ . as David and Han (2004) point out.e. Thus.. a uniform p-value of 0. the above criteria were adhered to with the following five adaptations. Search the ABI/Inform and EconLit databases. the substantive keywords used to identify articles via criterion 3 were necessarily adapted to make the search relevant to the RBV as opposed to the TCE literature. Based on the discussion of the RBV presented above. Eliminate substantively irrelevant articles by only selecting articles that appear in journals in which multiple articles appear. but also because it represents the 125 9. Ltd. though all articles reported significance at the p < 0. Referring to work by Light and Pillemer (1984: 35). Ensure substantive relevance by requiring that selected articles contain at least one primary keyword in their title or abstract. as well as articles from more mainstream journals. Given this logic. non-substitutab∗ . J. this study restricts the search by including articles published in ‘scholarly’ journals only (criterion 1). competitive advantage). Ensure empirical content by requiring that selected articles also contain at least one of the following seven ‘methodological’ keywords in their title or abstract: data. Barney. to report significance at the p < 0. 3. Second. such as diversification.e. article tests the core tenets of the theory) and adequate empirical content (i. As a result. 6 The result of a statistical test was coded as ‘significant’ only if the respective p-value did not exceed 0.e. capabilit∗ . finding∗ . it was felt that by further restricting the present search to journal articles published in ‘scholarly’ journals.1002/smj Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. they were excluded because. the search word ‘finding∗ ’ will return articles with ‘finding’ and ‘findings’. intangib∗ . For example. the quality of the articles returned would be further increased due to the rigorous peer review process to which articles published in such journals are subjected prior to publication.Empirical Research on the RBV 1. It is important to note that these keywords were chosen in order to identify articles seeking to explain performance (as well as its antecedent. test. there is no systematic way to code the results of such studies in a way that is comparable to the results of statistical tests. there is no reason to believe that the level of support provided by them would vary from that of the articles that were retained. Eliminate substantively irrelevant articles by requiring that selected articles also contain at least one of 12 additional keywords in their title or abstract. result∗ or evidence. 5 It should be noted that while case studies and qualitative analyses are rigorous forms of empirical inquiry.10 level for some articles and not for others would be inconsistent. Strat. Search for published journal articles only. A review of the articles eliminated as a result of this selection criterion seems to uphold David and Han’s (2004) arguments. substitutab∗ . 2. the present study initially selects articles that contain either ‘resource-based’ or RBV in their abstract or title. Indeed. tangib∗ . heterogen∗ . that sought to explain the types of alternative dependent variables that are argued below to be of less interest to strategic management scholars than competitive advantage and performance. mention of statistical analysis).. such as Human Resource Management. 4 David and Han (2004: 43) opt to eliminate ‘single journal’ articles (1) given that they are more likely to be removed from the core tenets of the theory being assessed and (2) even if such articles did include appropriate tests of the theory.3 6. First. they enhanced quality control. Ensure substantive and empirical relevance by reading all remaining abstracts for substantive context (i. 5.. largest p-value used across the entire sample. Consolidate results from ABI/Inform and EconLit and eliminate duplicate articles. for example). the asterisk at the end of a search word allows for different suffixes. Specifically.6 3 As David and Han (2004) explain.5 8. article presents results of statistical tests). Third.05. Further ensure substantive and empirical relevance by reading all remaining articles in their entirety for substantive context (i. In compiling the present sample. 4.4 7. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. the following 17 additional keywords were used to further identify articles that were substantively relevant to the RBV in step 4: competitive advantage. many authors did not report significance at the p < 0. David and Han (2004) argue that by restricting their search to journal articles (as opposed to book chapters or unpublished works.e. .. empirical. discussion of the core tenets of the theory) and empirical content (i. organized. This cut-off was chosen not only in an attempt to adhere to the procedure used by David and Han (2004). this step of the selection process resulted in the elimination of articles from various medical journals. competenc∗ .

the methodological keyword. Porter. in further determining substantive relevance via criteria (7) and (8). of the 15 articles in the present sample that were published during 2000 and earlier (the time frame corresponding to Barney and Arikan’s. it is important to note that while their sample is much larger. Strat. for example. all articles in the dataset are listed in the reference list and are preceded by an asterisk. RESULTS Table 1 shows the number of articles returned from this methodology at each step from steps 3 through 8. Dalton et al. Table 1. or testing. J. 11 Per David and Han (2004). 1999. 2000). only those tests that seek to explain this and related dependent variables (sustained performance. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. 1997. 8 The author thanks an anonymous reviewer for suggesting this adaptation. articles were retained only if they presented the results of multivariable statistical tests9 and if they tested relationships between resource-related constructs10 and either competitive advantage or performance.. and sustained competitive advantage) are assessed in the present study. 9 Articles that only presented the results of bivariate statistical tests (such as simple regression. it is not necessarily more representative of the full population of empirical articles testing the RBV. 1985: 11). entry. such as tests. Ltd.. organizing contexts. paired t -tests. 1995). competitive advantage. etc. capabilities. 2001. studies operationalizing the dependent variable as either construct will be assessed in the present study. study). test. with a final sample size of 55. although Sharma 7 It should be noted that because many scholars use the terms ‘competitive advantage’ and ‘performance’ interchangeably (see. tested. By further comparing the present sample to that used by Barney and Arikan (2001).126 S. growth. In fact.8 Fifth. 10 Note that ‘resource-related constructs’ includes individual resources. Campbell-Hunt. because contemporary strategic management theory is primarily concerned with explaining performance differentials among firms (Barney and Hesterly.. 1997. L.. 1998. Winter.11 It should be noted that this sample is similar in size to David and Han’s (2004) sample of 63 and is larger than the samples used in several other reviews of strategic management theory (Stankovic and Luthans. Articles that did not meet these conditions were deleted from the dataset. Newbert and Vredenburg’s (1998) and Linnehan and de Carolis’ (2005) articles met each of the first seven criteria.1002/smj . and resource attributes. each was eliminated upon reading the full article as the former employed simple regression analysis (the regression models included only one independent variable and no control variables) and the latter did not seek to explain performance or competitive advantage (the authors operationalized the dependent variable as the decision to participate in school-to-work activities). Summary of selection criteriaa Filter type Substantive Substantive Methodological Substantive Substantive and methodological Substantive and methodological Duplicates Description All articles with ‘resource-based’ or ‘RBV’ in title or abstract At least one of 17 additional keywords must also appear in title or abstract At least one of seven keywords indicating empirical data or analysis must also appear in title or abstract Article must appear in a journal that has returned more than one item from the filters above Remaining abstracts read for both substantive relevance and statistical analysis Remaining full articles read for both substantive relevance and statistical analysis Deletion of duplicate articles found in both databases ABI result EconLit result Total 994 642 330 221 114 54 158 83 43 13 8 3 1152 716 369 231 122 57 55 a The selection filters used herein are based on and/or adapted from those developed and used by David and Han (2004) in their review of the TCE literature. This was done in order to account for variations in this root word. 1997. Ketchen et al.. Mgmt. core competencies. For example.7 Fourth. Teece et al. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. or correlations) were eliminated as the results of such tests are generally considered to lack rigor. was replaced with test∗ in step 5.

inimitable. or core competence is valuable. inimitable. Of these eight articles. only those tests in which the relationships discussed above are included in the present analysis. the totals reported for this column do not equal their sums.13 Scholars employing a resource heterogeneity approach argue on theoretical grounds that a given resource. whereas in the three tests where the independent variable is operationalized as value. However. these statistics suggest that Barney and Arikan’s (2001) sample may under-represent relevant research from non-mainstream management journals. each test was categorized first according to its independent-dependent variable pair and then by its theoretical approach in an effort to determine if the level of support for the RBV differed based on the approach utilized. reflecting which of the following theoretical approaches was/were tested in each article in the dataset. quantify the amount of it possessed by a firm. empirical support is found in all (100%). Given that little more than half of the total tests conducted were supported by empirical evidence. 12 It must be noted that these 55 articles contain more than 549 total tests. empirical support is found for only 85 (37%). 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. For example. and/or non-substitutable. D = dynamic capability approach. Variable Independent variable Specific resource Specific capability Specific core competence Capability × Organization Inimitability Competitive advantage Resource × Capability Resource × Organizing context Value Rareness Organizing context Total Dependent variable Performance Competitive advantage Sustained performance Sustained competitive advantage Total Independent and dependent variables # Articlesa 33 19 3 3 5 5 3 4 1 1 1 55 51 9 1 1 55 127 % Total articles # Tests % Total tests # Supported % Supported 60% 35% 5% 5% 9% 9% 5% 7% 2% 2% 2% — 93% 16% 2% 2% — 232 161 24 72 20 13 13 6 3 3 2 549 363 154 24 8 549 42% 29% 4% 13% 4% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% <1% — 66% 28% 4% 1% — 85 114 16 40 14 6 5 4 3 3 2 292 173 91 24 4 292 37% 71% 67% 56% 70% 46% 38% 67% 100% 100% 100% 53% 48% 59% 100% 50% 53% a Because several articles use a variety of independent and dependent variables. J. only eight (53%) were included in Barney and Arikan’s (2001) sample. O = organizing approach. is included in the reference list: R = resource heterogeneity approach. Because some of the tests contained in these articles do not fall within the scope of the RBV. Though by no means conclusive. Ltd. methodologically driven sampling procedure. Deephouse (2000) argues that a firm’s media favorableness (a resource) is a valuable. thereby underscoring the value of David and Han’s (2004) more objective. Table 2 shows that the 55 articles in the sample contain 549 individual tests of the RBV as discussed above.12 What is most notable from this table is that the level of empirical support varies considerably with the independent variable. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. rare. in the 232 tests where the independent variable is operationalized as a specific resource. 292 (53%) of which were supported. drawing on Barney (1991). Mgmt.1002/smj . For example. capability. of the seven articles not included in Barney and Arikan’s (2001) sample.Empirical Research on the RBV Table 2. seven (88%) were published in mainstream management journals. Strat. only four (57%) were published in mainstream management journals. non-substitutable resource and then tests the relationship between the amount (or favorableness) of this resource and the firm’s return on assets. C = conceptual-level approach. 13 The following notation. rare. and correlate this amount to some measure of competitive advantage or performance..

five (9%) articles also tested the relationship between competitive advantage and performance. For example. and de Carolis (2003) finds support for eight (67%) of 12 tests of the relationship between three core competencies (technological. As can be seen from the results of this classification shown in Table 3. Strat. Of the 232 tests in which the relationship between a resource and either competitive advantage or performance is analyzed. inimitable. Ltd. Bates. They then test the effect of the interaction between a firm’s knowledge (a resource) and its entrepreneurial orientation (an organizing context) on its financial and non-financial performance. King and Zeithaml begin by acknowledging Barney’s (1991) work that suggests that ‘firm performance is a function of how well managers build their organizations around resources that are valuable. Instead of identifying the actual resources and capabilities that confer an advantage to a firm.128 S. the resource heterogeneity approach is by far the most widely utilized. Lastly. inimitable resources. non-substitutable resources to outperform competitors. citing Barney’s VRIO framework. and the effect of the interaction of the firm’s human resources and leveraging capability on its performance (dynamic capabilities approach). and lack substitutes’ (King and Zeithaml. inimitable. For example.. For example. In contrast. Powell and Dent-Micallef (1997) find support for four (50%) of eight tests of the relationship between two firm resources (human resources and business resources) and various measures of performance. and regulatory) and four measures of financial performance. However. drawing on Teece et al. scholars employing a dynamic capabilities approach test the degree to which specific resource-level processes improve a firm’s competitive position by operationalizing the independent variable as the interaction of a specific resource and a specific dynamic capability and testing its relationship with some measure of competitive advantage or performance. . marketing. empirical support is found for 114 (71%) and of the 24 tests in which the relationship between a core competence and performance is analyzed. rare. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. (1997) and Eisenhardt and Martin (2000). empirical support is found for only 85 (37%). 10 (18%) articles were found to employ multiple approaches. In fact. the effect of the interaction between the firm’s human capital and diversification strategy on its performance (organizing approach). Zahra and Nielsen (2002) find support for 16 (80%) of 20 tests of the relationship between four firm capabilities (internal and external human capabilities and internal and external technological capabilities) and four measures of competitive advantage. Wiklund and Shepherd argue that in addition to possessing valuable. For example. upon closer inspection it seems that the level of support varies considerably with the relationship tested. 2003: 1307). rare. Zhu and Kraemer (2002) argue that firms must possess and exploit valuable. Although the majority of articles employ only one theoretical approach. Newbert capability on its performance (resource heterogeneity approach). and Junttila (2002) tested the relationship between learning capabilities and competitive advantage as well as the relationship between competitive advantage and performance. While the overall level of support for this approach seems quite in line with the level of support for the sample as a whole. Schroeder. scholars employing a conceptual-level approach seek to test whether the attributes prescribed by Barney (1991) as essential for a resource to effectively contribute to a firm’s advantage are indeed significant predictors to this end. six (46%) were supported. The authors find support for all (100%) three tests conducted. For example. this approach was used in 50 (91%) of the articles and 430 (78%) of the tests. J. 221 (51%) of which were supported. Hitt et al. For example. In addition to testing the above relationships. rare. 2001: 75) and then proceed to test the effect of the causal ambiguity (one dimension of inimitability) of a firm’s competencies on its performance. Zhu and Kraemer (2002) then test the effect of the interaction of a firm’s information technology infrastructure (a resource) and its e-commerce capability (a dynamic capability) on four measures of performance. L. firms must also ‘have an appropriate organization in place to take advantage of those resources’ (Wiklund and Shepherd. empirical support is found for 16 (67%). of the 161 tests in which the relationship between a capability and either competitive advantage or performance is analyzed. (2001) test the independent effects of a firm’s human resources and its leveraging Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons.1002/smj Scholars employing an organizing approach seek to identify those firm-level conditions that enable the effective exploitation of the resources and capabilities under examination. Of the 13 such tests conducted. Mgmt.

The dynamic capabilities approach is the least employed approach.Empirical Research on the RBV Table 3. Table 4 shows how scholars testing the resource heterogeneity approach have operationalized resources. For example. In order to better understand the relationships in Table 3. finding support for two (50%) of four tests. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. 20 (77%) of which were supported. As seen in Table 3. As the results in Table 3 show. Ltd. For example.1002/smj . there is a great deal of variation in Strat. and core competencies. 46 (58%) of which were supported. Mgmt. J. McEvily and Chakravarthy (2002) find support for four (50%) of eight tests of the relationship between the inimitability of a firm’s technical knowledge and its sustained competitive advantage. Independent–dependent variable pairs by approach Dependent variable 129 Independent variable # % Total # % Total # % Articlesa articles Tests tests Supported Supported 29 5 13 6 1 3 5 50 1 2 4 1 8 1 1 3 1 1 5 3 55 53% 9% 24% 11% 2% 5% 9% 91% 2% 4% 7% 2% 15% 2% 2% 5% 2% 2% 9% 5% — 189 43 88 49 24 24 13 430 60 12 6 2 80 3 3 10 8 2 26 13 549 34% 8% 16% 9% 4% 4% 2% 78% 11% 2% 1% <1% 15% 1% 1% 2% 2% <1% 5% 3% — 69 16 56 34 24 16 6 221 39 1 4 2 46 3 3 8 4 2 20 5 292 37% 37% 64% 69% 100% 67% 46% 51% 65% 8% 67% 100% 58% 100% 100% 80% 50% 100% 77% 38% 53% Resource heterogeneity approach Specific resource Performance Specific resource Competitive advantage Specific capability Performance Specific capability Competitive advantage Specific capability Sustained performance Specific core competence Performance Competitive advantage Performance Subtotal Organizing approach Capability × Organizing Competitive advantage context Capability × Organizing Performance context Resource × Organizing Performance context Organizing context Performance Subtotal Conceptual-level approach Value Performance Rareness Performance Inimitability Performance Inimitability Sustained competitive advantage Inimitability Competitive advantage Subtotal Dynamic capabilities approach Resource × Capability Performance Total a Because several articles employ multiple approaches and multiple independent and dependent variables. This approach is employed in eight (15%) of the articles and 80 (15%) of the tests. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. the conceptual-level approach is the third most commonly used approach. The results in Table 3 suggest that the organizing approach is the next most commonly used.. the manner in which the independent variable was operationalized was assessed for each of the four theoretical approaches. only three (5%) of the articles employed this approach. As is clear from these results. Zhu (2004) analyzes the impact of the interaction of a firm’s information technology infrastructure and its e-commerce capability on a variety of measures of firm performance. the subtotals and total reported for this column do not equal their sums. For example. It is employed in five (9%) of the articles and 26 (5%) of the tests. capabilities. Richard (2000) conducts and finds support for all (100%) three tests relating the effect of the interaction between a firm’s racial diversity and its growth strategy on its performance. five (38%) of which were supported. resulting in 13 (3%) of the 549 tests.

L. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. J.. Ltd. Operationalization of resource heterogeneity approacha Independent variable Resource Human capital Knowledge Experience Social capital Innovation Reputation Service climate Economies of scale Financial Culture Physical Entrepreneurial Customer-related Organizational Racial diversity Top management team Property-based Business Environmental performance Intangible Managerial Price Tangible Work–family policy Technological Tenure Subtotal Capability Human resource Innovative Information technology Technological Entrepreneurial Learning Cost reduction Product development Quality Client retention Customer relationship building Information acquisition Knowledge Market orientation Negotiation Specialization Supplier relationship building Title-taking Communication Distribution Research and development Ancillary Change Leveraging Merger and acquisition Medical Pricing Subtotal Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. Mgmt.1002/smj . # Articlesb 7 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 32 4 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 19 % Total articlesc 13% 11% 9% 9% 7% 7% 5% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 58% 7% 7% 5% 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 35% # Tests 33 46 15 11 10 7 15 7 7 13 6 5 4 4 4 11 8 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 232 19 8 58 13 7 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 161 % Total testsd 6% 8% 3% 2% 2% 1% 3% 1% 1% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% 42% 3% 1% 11% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 29% # Supported 11 9 5 8 7 5 6 4 3 1 1 1 4 2 0 5 6 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 1 0 85 12 5 47 11 5 5 0 2 0 2 3 1 3 3 1 3 1 3 1 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 114 % Supported 33% 20% 33% 73% 70% 71% 40% 57% 43% 8% 17% 20% 100% 50% 0% 45% 75% 0% 67% 0% 33% 0% 0% 100% 50% 0% 37% 63% 63% 81% 85% 71% 100% 0% 50% 0% 67% 100% 33% 100% 100% 33% 100% 33% 100% 50% 100% 50% 100% 100% 100% 0% 0% 0% 71% Strat.130 S. Newbert Table 4.

1002/smj . For example. one of the 32 capabilities (information technology). J. b The total number of articles is 55. d The total number of tests is 549. support for tests using this approach is largely consistent with the overall level of support for the entire sample. innovation. the subtotals and total reported for this column do not equal their sums. capabilities. and none of the core competencies are examined in more than 5 percent of the total articles and 5 percent of the total tests. and cost reduction strategies respectively). Though the support for the various interactions varies considerably. and cost reduction) and its organizing context (quality. Results for the manner in which scholars testing the organizing approach have operationalized the independent variable are shown in Table 5. b Table 5. Resource/ capability Operationalization of organizing approach Organizing context Integration Integration Quality strategy Innovation strategy Cost reduction strategy Growth strategy Innovation strategy Entrepreneurial orientation Diversification Governance flexibility # % Total # % Total # % Articlesa articlesb Tests testsc Supported Supported 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 8 2% 2% 4% 4% 4% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 15% 36 24 4 4 4 3 1 1 1 2 80 7% 4% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 15% 20 19 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 2 46 56% 79% 25% 0% 0% 100% 0% 100% 0% 100% 58% Technological capability Human resource capability Quality capability Innovation capability Cost reduction capability Racial diversity Racial diversity Knowledge Human capital Knowledge Total a Because some articles use more than one of the listed measures. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. As can be seen.. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. innovation. or 81%) and all six of the core competencies examined have received empirical support at least 50 percent of the time. only two of the 26 resources (human capital and knowledge). c The total number of articles is 55. In fact. Because several articles use a variety of resources and capabilities. three of the variable pairs have been used in multiple articles. (Continued ) # Articlesb % Total articlesc # Tests % Total testsd # Supported 131 Independent variable Core competence Marketing Technological Architectural Regulatory Component Integrative Subtotal Total a % Supported 2 2 1 1 1 1 3 50 4% 4% 2% 2% 2% 2% 5% 91% 5 5 8 4 1 1 24 417 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% 4% 76% 3 4 4 3 1 1 16 215 60% 80% 50% 75% 100% 100% 67% 52% Results shown only for tests in which resources and capabilities serve as the independent variable.Empirical Research on the RBV Table 4. the total reported for this column does not equal its sum. in general. the resources. Ltd. or 38%) have received empirical support at least 50 percent of the time. whereas an overwhelming majority of capabilities examined (26 of 32. and core competencies scholars have examined under the RBV. Each of the remaining variable pairs is used in one study only. Mgmt. Yet. what is most striking from these results is that an overwhelming minority of resources examined (only 10 of 26. c The total number of tests is 549. both Chandler and Hanks (1994) and Wang and Ang (2004) test for the interaction between a firm’s capabilities (quality. Strat.

application. reputation Rareness Average level of resource possessed by competing firms in same county Inimitability Patent citations Perceived level of difficulty of imitation by competitors Number and importance of a resource’s components necessary to affect performance Inability to explain and predict relationships between product components..132 S. and performance Degree to which what a firm knows about its products’ components is specific to a customer. The manner in which scholars testing the dynamic capabilities approach have operationalized the independent variable is presented in Table 7. Operationalization of conceptual-level approach Construct and Measure Value Perceived degree to which resource had potential to increase customers. whereas de Carolis (2003) measures the inimitability of firm’s knowledge in terms of the number of patent citations. Mgmt. it is important to note that support for tests using this approach is consistently high (ranging from a low of 70% to a high of 100%) across the three attributes examined. design choices. non-substitutability has not. resources in terms of the level of experience and turnover.1002/smj . Newbert Table 6. however. Only two resource-capability interactions have been tested and have received markedly different levels of empirical support. occupancy. and inimitability have been empirically examined. though no dimension has been examined in more than one article. Hatch and Dyer (2004) measure the inimitability of a firm’s human Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. L. For example. J. Ltd. As can be seen. Whereas Zhu (2004) and Zhu and Kraemer (2002) found support for the interaction of information technology Strat. rareness. Table 6 illustrates how scholars employing the conceptual-level approach have operationalized the independent variable. c The total number of tests is 549. or component varieties Degree to which a firm acquires knowledge about its products’ components by tailoring its products for specific customers or applications Level of managerial disagreement regarding which resources lead to competitive advantage Degree to which managers are able to articulate a resource Location of knowledge regarding resources Prior experience Turnover Subtotal Total # Articlesa % Total articlesb # Tests % Total testsc # Supported % Supported 1 2% 3 1% 3 100% 1 2% 3 1% 3 100% 1 1 1 1 1 1 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 4 3 2 2 2 2 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 4 3 2 2 0 0 100% 100% 100% 100% 0% 0% 1 1 1 1 1 5 5 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 9% 9% 1 1 1 1 1 20 26 <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 4% 5% 0 1 0 1 1 14 20 0% 100% 0% 100% 100% 70% 77% a Because some articles use more than one of the listed measures. value. the subtotals and total reported for this column do not equal their sums. Lastly. Of those attributes examined. only inimitability has been measured in more than one article and along more than one dimension. b The total number of articles is 55. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10.

infrastructure and e-commerce capability on firm performance in five (42%) of 12 tests. there is a marked difference in terms of the level of support for the RBV. Strategic Management Journal. In fact. Strategic Management Journal has published one article employing both the resource heterogeneity and conceptual-level approaches and two articles employing both the resource heterogeneity and organizing approaches. Of the two journals in which more than three (5%) articles have been published. Based on the results in Table 9. 17 (45%) of which have been supported. b The total number of articles is 55. As Table 8 also shows. the number and percentage of tests of the RBV across all four approaches appears to have increased steadily since the mid 1990s. in order to identify temporal trends in tests of the RBV. innovation/technology. (2001) found no support for their one test of the interaction of human capital and leveraging capabilities on firm performance. Also evident from these results is the substantial variation in articles published in each journal. Table 9 also shows that the publication date of the first article testing each approach varies considerably. the subtotals and total reported for this column do not equal their sums. Resource Information technology infrastructure Human capital Total Operationalization of dynamic capabilities approach Capability E-commerce capability Leveraging capability # Articlesa 2 1 3 % Total articlesb 4% 2% 5% # Tests 12 1 13 % Total testsc 3% <1% 2% # Supported 5 0 5 133 % Supported 42% 0% 38% a Because some articles use more than one of the listed measures. many use a combination of approaches (typically. while 10 (42%) journals have published articles employing one of the remaining three approaches. articles employing the conceptual-level approach were not published until 1998 and articles employing the dynamic capabilities approach were not published until 2001. have not published any such articles. on the other hand.. Specifically. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. entrepreneurship. marketing. Academy of Management Journal has published six (11%) articles in which 38 (7%) empirical tests have been conducted. but does seem to have increased over time for the dynamic capabilities approach. A total of 22 (92%) of the 24 journals listed have published three (5%) or fewer articles and. J. Hitt et al.1002/smj . only two journals have published multiple articles: Academy of Management Journal has published two and Strategic Management Journal has published five. Specifically.Empirical Research on the RBV Table 7. As the results in Table 8 show. the articles included in this study appear in 24 separate journals from a variety of fields. the resource heterogeneity approach plus one or two additional approaches). Lastly. Strat. of those journals publishing articles employing approaches other than the resource heterogeneity approach. such as management. In an effort to identify where tests employing the various theoretical approaches have been published. or conceptual-level approaches. 22 (92%) of the 24 journals in the sample have published at least one article using this theoretical approach. Finally. the 55 articles were categorized by journal and approach. 109 (67%) of which have been empirically supported. For example. Despite this upward trend in the number of tests. the majority of journals in the sample publish articles employing the resource heterogeneity approach. Mgmt. of the 348 empirical tests conducted in these articles. Only Information Systems Research and Journal of Management Information Systems Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. and information technology. the level of support appears to show no trend (positive or negative) for the resource heterogeneity. the sample articles were categorized by year of publication and theoretical approach. only 166 (48%) have been empirically supported. c The total number of tests is 549. international business. organizing. has published 14 (25%) articles in which 163 (30%) empirical tests have been conducted. Furthermore. Ltd. whereas articles employing the resource heterogeneity and organizing approaches were first published in 1994.

From this analysis. Results by journal Journal Resource heterogeneity approach Strategic Management Journal Academy of Management Journal MIS Quarterly Journal of Small Business Management Journal of International Business Studies Journal of Business Venturing R&D Management Journal of International Marketing Journal of Management Group and Organization Management Journal of Engineering and Technology Management Industrial Marketing Management Research Policy Journal of Managerial Issues Healthcare Management Review International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management The Services Industries Journal Asia Pacific Journal of Management Irish Journal of Management Technovation Journal of Business Research Organization Studies Subtotal Organizing approach Strategic Management Journal Academy of Management Journal Journal of Business Venturing Journal of Small Business Management Journal of Business Research Group and Organization Management Subtotal Conceptual-level approach Strategic Management Journal Journal of Engineering and Technology Management Journal of Management Subtotal Dynamic capabilities approach Information Systems Research Journal of Management Information Systems Academy of Management Journal Subtotal Total a # Articlesa 12 6 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 50 2 2 1 1 1 1 8 3 1 1 5 1 1 1 3 55 % Total articles 22% 11% 5% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 91% 4% 4% 2% 2% 2% 2% 15% 5% 2% 2% 9% 2% 2% 2% 5% — # Tests 89 33 62 41 27 25 17 14 13 12 6 24 20 12 9 8 5 4 4 3 1 1 430 61 4 6 6 2 1 80 13 9 4 26 8 4 1 13 549 % Total tests 16% 6% 11% 7% 5% 5% 3% 3% 2% 2% 1% 4% 4% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 0% 0% 78% 11% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% 15% 3% 2% 1% 5% 2% 1% <1% 3% — # Supported 62 14 50 10 13 3 6 11 9 5 6 9 4 4 2 2 1 3 3 2 1 1 221 40 3 1 0 2 0 46 7 9 4 20 3 2 0 5 292 % Supported 70% 42% 81% 24% 48% 12% 35% 79% 69% 42% 100% 38% 20% 33% 22% 25% 20% 75% 75% 67% 100% 100% 51% 66% 75% 17% 0% 100% 0% 58% 54% 100% 100% 77% 38% 50% 0% 38% 53% Because 10 articles employ multiple approaches. DISCUSSION AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH The present research has been conducted in order to identify the manner in which the RBV has Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. J. it seems that while the RBV has received Strat. based on the results presented above.1002/smj . five general findings warrant additional discussion. Mgmt. Newbert Table 8. Ltd.134 S. L.. First. the sub-totals and total reported for this column do not equal their sums. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. been tested empirically in the literature and to assess its level of empirical support.

Ltd. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. the total reported for this column does not equal their sums. Strat. Data were collected during June 2005. J. Year Results by year # Articlesa % Total articles 15% 16% 16% 15% 11% 9% 5% 2% 5% 2% — 4% 91% — 2% 5% 2% 2% 2% — — — — — 2% 15% — 2% 2% 2% 2% — — 2% — — — — 9% — 2% — 2% 2% — — — — — — — 5% — # Tests 61 54 83 89 57 18 11 3 23 16 — 15 430 0 6 4 60 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 6 80 0 2 4 8 3 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 26 0 4 0 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 549 % Total tests 11% 10% 15% 16% 10% 3% 2% 1% 4% 3% — 3% 78% — 1% 1% 11% <1% 1% — — — — — 1% 15% — <1% 1% 2% 1% — — 2% — — — — 5% — 1% — 2% <1% — — — — — — — 3% — # Supported 23 30 65 36 24 12 5 3 10 6 — 7 221 — 0 3 39 0 3 — — — — — 1 46 — 2 4 4 1 — — 9 — — — — 20 — 2 — 3 0 — — — — — — — 5 292 135 % Supported 38% 56% 78% 40% 42% 67% 45% 100% 43% 38% — 47% 51% — 0% 75% 65% 0% 100% — — — — — 17% 58% — 100% 100% 50% 33% — — 100% — — — — 77% — 50% — 38% 0% — — — — — — — 38% 53% Resource heterogeneity approach 8 2005b 2004 8 2003 8 2002 6 2001 5 2000 5 1999 3 1998 1 1997 3 1996 1 1995 0 1994 2 Subtotal 50 Organizing approach 2005b 0 2004 1 2003 3 2002 1 2001 1 2000 1 1999 0 1998 0 1997 0 1996 0 1995 0 1994 1 Subtotal 8 Conceptual-level approach 2005b 0 2004 1 2003 1 2002 1 2001 1 2000 0 1999 0 1998 1 1997 0 1996 0 1995 0 1994 0 Subtotal 5 Dynamic capabilities approach 2005b 0 2004 1 2003 0 2002 1 2001 1 2000 0 1999 0 1998 0 1997 0 1996 0 1995 0 1994 0 Subtotal 3 Total 55 a b Because some articles use more than one theoretical approach.1002/smj .. Mgmt.Empirical Research on the RBV Table 9.

due to its overwhelming use in the sample. However. Reed and DeFillippi. Russo Strat. Barney. for example. Such a finding may seem inconsistent with the early incarnations of the RBV (i. Barney and Mackey.. 1991). Peteraf. it is similar to levels of support found in reviews of other theories of strategic management. As was noted above.1002/smj considerable attention in the empirical literature. only 53 percent of the tests assessed in this study were empirically supported. While the level of support for one theory is certainly not comparable to another. the present finding of 53 percent support may seem at odds with Barney and Arikan’s (2001) conclusion that only 2 percent of the studies they assessed return results that are inconsistent with the RBV. they also find that other forms of architectural competence (integrated worldwide research and rich information flow) are entirely unrelated to performance at either level. it has only received marginal support. 1997. 2000. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. 1990. Although in all cases the authors argue convincingly on theoretical grounds that the resources.136 S. Of primary importance. 1959. 1992. 1993. 1992. Ketchen et al. and/or non-substitutable. which suggests that valuable. Newbert expected. 1994. Rubin. 1992. Dalton et al. Thus. For example. of the nine tests of the competence–performance relationship Henderson and Cockburn (1994) conduct. 1997) yield similarly non-compelling levels of support. inimitable. while at face value the conclusions drawn from Barney and Arikan’s (2001) and the present study are contradictory. J. Leonard-Barton. 1998.. Fiol.e. the level of support for the RBV reported herein should not be unexpected. As noted above. Barney and Wright. 2005. David and Han (2004) find support for only 47 percent of tests of TCE. . 1993. because Henderson and Cockburn (1994) do not find any significant relationships counter to what the RBV would predict. Thus. capabilities. Consider. 1991. While Henderson and Cockburn (1994) find that component competence and some forms of architectural competence (centralized decision making and emphasis on publication) are significantly and positively related to firm-level and programlevel performance. 1992. as noted above. it is at the very least important to note that the level of support for the RBV found herein is by no means atypical. given that much of the foundational work on the RBV addresses the importance of deploying and not simply possessing resources (Penrose. rare. 1998. Henderson and Cockburn. nonsubstitutable resources and capabilities will contribute to these ends. they are actually quite Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. the level of support for tests employing this approach varies substantially with the independent variable. these seemingly contradictory conclusions can be reconciled by considering each study’s treatment of non-findings. an article in both Barney and Arikan’s (2001) and the present samples. Barney.. Nevertheless.. Kogut and Zander. A second finding worthy of discussion is that considerable variation exists regarding the level of support both across and within the theoretical approaches tested. Whereas 71 percent of the tests relating a specific capability to competitive advantage or performance were found to be supported and 67 percent of the tests relating a specific core competence to performance were found to be supported. L. 1990. resources do not. empirical support is found for only five (56%) and is reported as such herein. following a similar methodology. Mgmt. it logically follows that some portion of tests (in this case a substantial portion) will yield insignificant results. is the resource heterogeneity approach.. Whereas Barney and Arikan (2001) endeavored simply to identify articles that have reported findings that are consistent with the RBV. 2001: 172). However. Mahoney and Pandain. Barney and Arikan report that ‘Henderson and Cockburn’s results are consistent with the RBV’ (Barney and Arikan. However. Given that the majority of empirical studies fail to find support for all hypothesized effects. Eisenhardt and Martin. 1973) and much of the more contemporary work has attempted to more precisely explain these processes (Amit and Schoemaker. and core competencies under examination are valuable. 2000. Prahalad and Hamel. rare. Henderson and Cockburn’s (1994) well-known analysis of the impact of architectural and component competence on the performance of pharmaceutical firms. the present study has sought to quantify the actual level of support for the RBV. While such a level of support may seem uncomfortably low to the RBV’s supporters. Ltd. only 37 percent of the tests relating a specific resource to competitive advantage or performance were found to be supported. In fact. Lado et al. These authors also note that several other quantitative reviews of strategic management theory (Campbell-Hunt. the empirical results seem to suggest that while capabilities and core competencies do indeed contribute significantly to a firm’s competitive advantage and/or performance. inimitable.

2004). Notwithstanding these apparent methodological challenges. In fact. and processes. education and screening exam criteria used in the hiring process. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. relationships. it is possible that this methodological trend is due in part to the relative ease of measuring resources as compared to capabilities and core competencies. For example. scholars interested in this area may find the opportunity to contribute to this important and emerging stream of empirical inquiry quite appealing. it hints at the possibility that scholars are responding (and may wish to consider responding) to advances in the theoretical literature and findings from the empirical literature regarding the importance of capabilities and core competencies relative to resources in determining a firm’s competitive position. are not so easily quantified or accessed. empirical work on this approach is still in its infancy. measuring capabilities and core competencies often necessitates a greater need for primary data collection techniques and often introduces a greater potential for slippage and respondent bias. and the manner in which candidates were recruited (De Sa´ a Per´ ez and Falcon. for example. then why have resources received so much empirical attention? While it is beyond the scope of the present study to draw any definitive conclusions. J. For example. 2004). results from tests using the organizing approach are markedly different than for those using the dynamic capabilities approach. however. the first of the three empirical articles in the sample using this approach was published in 2001. the most popularly studied resource in the sample: human capital. 2004). Teece et al.Empirical Research on the RBV and Fouts. Given that tests of this approach are on the rise. one possible explanation for this finding is that although a dynamic capability may be significantly related to competitive advantage and performance by itself. Consider. only 57 percent have done so. Since the beginning of 2001. Indeed.. 2003).14 Indeed. Because the theoretical work on dynamic capabilities was not published until 1997 (i. Indeed. Capabilities and core competencies. As is obvious. As is clear from these examples. and Iles. of those articles published during 2000 and earlier. when interacted with a resource (generally found to be unrelated to competitive advantage and performance) this relationship is eliminated. compared to resources. if such a conclusion is indeed not surprising. Of course. and Yang. 2003). although Hitt et al. 2001). on the other hand.. the type of training required (Hatch and Dyer. temporal patterns of research done under the auspices of the resource heterogeneity approach suggest that the trend toward examining capabilities and core competencies as opposed Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. Of course. it is perhaps no surprise that capabilities and core competencies have been found to be far more significant in explaining competitive advantage and performance than resources. 1997).. Strat. Mgmt. (2001) find that a firm’s leveraging capability (a dynamic capability) is significantly related to its performance. as well as advertising expenditures relative to total sales (de Carolis. despite the importance suggested above to the process by which resources are exploited. 1997). and Ucbasaran. these measures are easily quantified and many are obtainable from secondary sources. and level of education (Westhead. distribution and communication channels. 73 percent focused on resources. human resource capability. Blackburn. is operationalized as the perceived ability to manage customer needs. Though merely speculative. the most widely studied capability in the sample. Wright. is operationalized as the perceived importance of 18 human resource policies to the firm (Deniz-Deniz and De Sa´ a Per´ ez. It must be noted that the lack of support for resources as predictors of competitive advantage and performance may also help explain the low level of support for tests employing the dynamic capabilities approach. 14 The author thanks an anonymous reviewer for helping clarify this point. the number of years of various types of experience (Hayton.e. one of the two most widely studied core competencies in the sample. Additionally. only 38 percent of dynamic capabilities tests have been supported. While such a shift may be modest. marketing competence. Ltd. they also find that a firm’s human capital (a resource) and the interaction of these two variables are not significantly related to its performance. gender. 1997). 1997. Teece et al. Lo. This construct is operationalized along such dimensions as the percentage of certain demographics in various roles/positions (Shrader. 137 to resources is on the rise. it is likely that more definitive answers regarding these relationships will emerge as more empirical research is conducted. and competitor information (Wang. 2005). Interestingly. it may also be that the present findings are simply inconclusive..1002/smj .

1999) to work–family policies (Perry-Smith and Blum. 26 different resources. thus. Thus. which are in many cases relatively standardized (such as technology in general). Dierickx and Cool. 1984. for example. it is important to note that over the course of the past decade some scholars have argued that non-substitutability is merely a form of inimitability (see. 1991. capability. 1991. 1989.. and core competencies. and core competencies that may confer firm-level advantages. as with the emerging work on dynamic capabilities. Aside from a lone study in 1994. or core competence serves as the independent variable. and core competencies. Because the articles assessed herein represent only a sample of the full population of tests of the RBV. all of which rely on operational definitions from the past two decades of theoretical research. and both Hatch and Dyer (2004) and McEvily and Chakravarthy (2002) operationalize inimitability in terms of asset specialization (Rumelt. 1989) and tacitness (Reed and DeFillippi. and core competencies listed in Table 4 and may provide additional evidence regarding their contribution to a firm’s competitive advantage and/or performance. 1989). because empirical work in this area is still in its infancy and is still evolving. Barney. Ltd. Third. As Table 6 shows. the lack of depth with which most have been examined may warrant that the evidence regarding their importance be accepted guardedly. capabilities. inimitable resources. 32 different capabilities. relatively few resources. in the event that such evidence does not exist. However. Dierickx and Cool. 1984. While such findings may seem to contradict the logic above pertaining to dynamic capabilities. the conceptual-level approach has found a great deal of empirical support. respectively). 1989). Strat. L. all articles adopting this approach were published in 2000 or later. 2000). Because an organizing context establishes a firm’s general approach to the utilization of its resources and capabilities. Dierickx and Cool. Like resources. Reed and DeFillippi. the manner in which inimitability has been operationalized has also varied considerably in the sample. 1984. However. Thus. capabilities. its lack of empirical examination in the present sample is not entirely unexpected. While the omission of any tests regarding non-substitutability may at first glance appear disconcerting. scholars may wish to replicate these studies in an effort to further support or even refute their importance. although the empirical literature assessed herein has informed us about the breadth of resources. Of the 417 (76%) tests in which a specific resource. rare. For example. capabilities. and six different core competencies are studied ranging from ancillary capabilities (Brush and Artz. it seems that firms looking to attain and/or sustain competitive and performance advantages may well need to possess and exploit valuable. it is possible that additional articles not assessed herein have examined many of the resources. 1990). 1997). Hatch and Dyer (2004) operationalize inimitability in terms of learning costs (Rumelt.138 S. Irwin. McEvily and Chakravarthy (2002) operationalize inimitability in terms of social complexity (Barney. 1987). and Lamont (1998) operationalize inimitability in terms of interconnectedness of asset stocks (Dierickx and Cool. it is also possible that these findings may be explained by the fact that this approach has (with one exception) only recently been subjected to empirical scrutiny. Lippman and Rumelt. have been measured. it may simply speak to the nature of the organizing function. it is important to acknowledge the myriad ways in which the various independent variables Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. In stark contrast to the above three approaches. capabilities. Rumelt. as with the dynamic capabilities approach. Hoffman. . Mgmt. J. More specifically. 1990. 1987). it may simply be too early to draw definitive conclusions from this line of work. support for tests examining organizing contexts designed to exploit resources is notably higher than for those designed to exploit capabilities (75% and 56%. compared to resources. Such a finding suggests that RBV theorists have identified important resource attributes. Newbert have been operationalized. Thus. and core competencies have received attention in multiple studies. 1987). capabilities. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. 1991. 1982. scholars concerned with the contexts by which resources may be effectively exploited may find that the opportunity to contribute to the development of the RBV exists with tests of this relatively underexamined theoretical approach. it may be that a firmwide strategy or orientation is by its very nature ineffective at exploiting capabilities.1002/smj Indeed. 11 different dimensions of inimitability. as with the dynamic capabilities approach. which tend to be highly resource-specific (such as capabilities to exploit specific technologies). de Carolis (2003) operationalizes inimitability in terms of time compression economies (Barney. Of course. King and Zeithaml (2001) operationalize inimitability in terms of causal ambiguity (Barney.

1995. Mgmt. if they are strategic substitutes). 1991). but perhaps more importantly that there are a myriad of ways in which a resource. total margin. Mclaughlin. as work by Christmann (2000). 1987). scholars measuring value may wish to seek alternative definitions of these constructs so that the potential for such bias is avoided. 139 this line of reasoning is similar to Penrose’s argument: The services yielded by resources are a function of the way in which they are used—exactly the same resource when used for different purposes or in different ways and in combination with different types or amounts of other resources provides a different service or set of services. and reputation and then measure the dependent variable in terms of return on assets. research since 15 See Priem and Butler (2001) for an elaborate critique of this tautology. King and Zeithaml. (1998) unavoidably introduce an element of tautology in its operationalization. In adhering closely to Barney’s (1991) conceptualization of value. Interestingly. and occupancy. 2001). A fourth finding worthy of attention is the observation regarding the diffusion of the RBV. a technique which has been found to minimize such bias (Harrison.e. capability. Ltd. then the rareness of each resource is a function of the availability of both. 1984. scholars may wish to avoid generalizing the level of support reported herein to the attribute as a whole. free goods. Of course. 1996). it is important to note that because value and rareness were examined in only one article in the sample. scholars may also wish to empirically examine these and similar dimensions that may not have received empirical attention in order to expand our knowledge regarding those isolation mechanisms that hinder imitation. Penrose (1959). 1989. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. Given that each of these constructs includes a similar dimension (occupancy).. (1998) use multiple items to measure this construct. much additional theoretical work has been conducted regarding this attribute. Barney. (Penrose. In light of this argument. such as path dependence (Dierickx and Cool. The temporal results discussed above suggest that the scholarly community has begun to embrace a variety of theoretical approaches in tests of the RBV. These findings are even more encouraging given the arguments that inimitability is the most important attribute in the RBV (Barney. However. More recently. because many dimensions of inimitability were not addressed in the sample. few or no other firms may possess it). the services provided by that resource may not be (many firms may possess an alternative resource that can be used to attain the same ends). or core competence may be protected from imitation. Nonetheless. the conclusions to be drawn with respect to these attributes are limited. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. 1986). Furthermore. there is a potential for response bias (Podsakoff and Organ. For example. scholars employing a conceptual-level approach in the future may wish to resist the temptation to focus solely on the rareness of the resource under examination and instead focus on the rareness of the resource bundle as well as on the rareness of substitute resources. Godfrey and Hill. However. Peteraf and Bergen (2003) contend that resource rareness must not be measured solely in terms of the amount of the resource possessed by competing firms (as it was measured in the lone study in which it was examined). it seems that a substantial challenge complicates the measurement of this construct. but also in terms of its function. although the lone test of this construct received support. J. Whereas almost all empirical work for the first 6 years reflected in the sample employed a resource heterogeneity approach.15 Specifically. or co-specialized assets).Empirical Research on the RBV The fact that an overwhelming majority (70%) of these tests have received empirical support suggests not only that inimitability may contribute substantially to a firm’s competitive position. it focused on one interpretation of this construct (i.. the results of the conceptuallevel tests of value and rareness received overwhelming empirical support. With respect to rareness. 2001. and Coalter. 2000) or switching costs (Rumelt. Eisenhardt and Martin. occupancy. With respect to value. Irwin et al. and Teece (1986) suggests. Although Irwin et al. otherwise rare resources often must be bundled with resources that may be quite common (commonly referred to as complementary assets. these authors measure value as the degree to which the resource in question can increase customers. Strat.1002/smj . These authors suggest that if two different resources can be exploited toward the same end (that is. 1959: 25) It seems then that although a given resource may be rare by definition (that is. Like inimitability. it is important to note several important issues.

Prahalad and Hamel. such as knowledge. 1991. and others have averred that the possession of a valuable. in one of the most recent articles in the sample. 1985: 11).. rarity. 1990) and have in turn eschewed some of the more recent theoretical work that has sought to clarify and revise the RBV. journals in related fields. of the 55 articles in the sample. Porter. Amit and Schoemaker. J. (Cho and Pucik. Newbert a discussion of the RBV. This increased breadth of empirical analysis given to the RBV is encouraging in that it suggests that our collective understanding of this important theory will continue to evolve.e. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. Building in part off of Coff (1999). and performance. While the work of these early scholars (i. Grant. empirical work is largely focused on early incarnations of the RBV. As this and similar examples suggest. On a related note. As a result. it was noted above that many scholars testing the resource heterogeneity approach have treated competitive advantage and performance interchangeably despite the fact that most claim to be following Barney’s (1991) conceptual model in which they are argued to be conceptually distinct. 2003: 316. 47 (85%) use this early theoretical work as a central reference in defining the RBV and/or developing hypotheses. are also publishing empirical studies in which the RBV is tested with increasing regularity. 1991). Additionally. As a consequence. Coff (1999) suggests that such treatment in empirical analysis assumes that the rents created through the exploitation of a given resource will be fully appropriated by the firm.1002/smj then has increasingly incorporated alternative approaches.. Barney. only 21 (38%) were published within 10 years of the first formalization of the RBV (Barney. These scholars suggest that a resource can only contribute to this end when it is paired with an appropriate dynamic capability or organizing context. 1959. In fact. Winter (1995). Thus. scholars may also wish to infuse their empirical tests with even more recent conceptual work that has sought to reconceptualize many of the relationships within these various approaches. rare. scholars conducting empirical research on the RBV in the future may wish to move away from the dominant resource heterogeneity approach toward either the organizing approach or the dynamic capabilities approach in order to test theoretical models that more closely reflect the current state of the RBV than does Barney’s (1991) original model. These studies emphasize that a firm should possess certain intangible resources that competitors cannot copy or buy easily. For example.. 1997. 1991) is no doubt worthy of inclusion in Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. 1999: 131). Such a trend suggests that the scholarly community in general has recognized the RBV as an important and informative theoretical perspective. capabilities. Coff notes that to the extent that the resource in question is embodied in individuals. organizing contexts. 1993). However. For example.140 S. such as marketing. it seems that although management journals in general and Strategic Management Journal in particular are clearly leading the way in publishing RBV-grounded empirical research. Peteraf and Barney argue that ‘there is no necessary connection between any advantage that a firm has in terms of its ability to generate rents and superior profitability’ (Peteraf and Barney. the sustainable competitive advantage results from the inimitability. L. Penrose. and non-tradability of intangible resources (Barney.e. they nevertheless fail to exhaust all that is known about the relationships among resources. emphasis Strat. the firm possessing intangible resources can gain competitive advantage in this market. As discussed at length above. it seems that a great deal of the empirical work in the sample has relied heavily on work by Barney (1991) and his contemporaries (i. Peteraf. non-substitutable resource is a necessary but insufficient condition for explaining a firm’s competitive position. Peteraf. Barney (1997). core competencies. competitive advantage. 2005: 556) The authors then proceed to develop and test hypotheses regarding the relationships between a variety of resources and performance. Mgmt. for example. 1991. as well as journals in unrelated fields. Fifth. the clear majority of articles limit empirical inquiry to the relationships depicted in Figure 1. Ltd. ‘a resourcebased advantage may result in relatively little rent observable in measures of firm performance’ (Coff. While such a methodological decision may appear to be of little consequence given the purported theoretical relationship among the two constructs and given that competitive advantage is often defined in terms of performance (see. Eisenhardt and Martin (2000). Cho and Pucik assert the following: According to the RBV. 1993. yet. 1993. inimitable. . such as entrepreneurship.

As David and 16 The author thanks an anonymous reviewer for suggesting this point. Despite the attention to methodological rigor. of which one (Ray. or core competence and performance. thus. the present sample is not exhaustive of all empirical work on the RBV.. Priem and Butler. capabilities. Despite this logic. Interestingly. non-substitutable resources. particularly if examining a resource characterized by a high degree of tacitness (Coff. emphasis in original). by default. the subsequent findings may be mitigated by the following limitations. two studies reference Coff (1999). and consulting agendas of many scholars in the field are increasingly dominated by the assumption that valuable. not competitive advantage. a sample of RBV-grounded empirical articles was analyzed in order to assess the actual level of empirical support for the RBV. 1999). 2001. Strat.1002/smj . no systematic assessment of the RBV’s level of support had been conducted prior to this study. 2004) astutely acknowledges and addresses empirically the issues he raises regarding Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. competitive advantage leads to increased performance but not the opposite). how much of the created value the firm accrues in terms of profits is a function of the costs involved in delivering the product or service and of the consumer’s perceived value of one firm’s product or service compared to that of its competitors. great care was taken to ensure that a relevant and representative sample of empirical articles was collected and that findings in support of the RBV were juxtaposed with findings that were both insignificant and counter to the RBV. despite the overwhelming appreciation for the RBV’s central tenets. less than half of the tests of the competitive advantage–performance relationship were supported in the present sample. scholars are adopting the tenuous assumption that if a firm has achieved above normal performance it must have. because the publication of empirical articles typically lags theoretical articles. In apparent support of this notion. Mgmt. the majority (76%) of tests employing the resource heterogeneity approach examine the relationship between a specific resource. It seems then that firms may often fail to appropriate all of the value they create and. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. Powell (2001) argues that tests relying on evidence of the latter as proof of the former’s existence are methodologically flawed. Given that the RBV not only serves as a major theoretical foundation in the scholarly literature (Rouse and Daellenbach. or Powell (2001). inimitable. in turn. J. CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to assess the empirical support for what is argued to be one of the most widely accepted theories of strategic management (Powell. Peteraf and Bergen (2003). while no studies in the sample reference Peteraf and Barney (2003). Yet. Ltd. and Muhanna. scholars may wish to continue to incorporate these and similar theoretical advances to the RBV into their empirical analyses so that we as a scholarly community may continue to enhance our collective understanding of the manner in which resources and capabilities contribute to a firm’s competitive position. Powell (2001) reasons that by treating these constructs interchangeably. 141 the competitive advantage–performance relationship. scholars seeking to use the RBV to explain performance may wish to carefully consider those exogenous factors that may hinder the firm’s ability to appropriate rents and. attained a competitive advantage. Given these theoretical arguments and empirical results. These scholars argue that ‘[a]n enterprise has a Competitive Advantage if it is able to create more economic value [an additive combination of producer and consumer surplus] than the marginal (breakeven) competitor in its product market’ (Peteraf and Barney. rare. In response. capability. incorporate some measure of the appropriability regime (Teece. 2003: 314. teaching. the resource-based rents they earn may not accurately reflect the advantages they have attained. In so doing. because the relationship between competitive advantage and performance is unidirectional (that is. but is also prominently featured in all major textbooks on the subject of strategic management. Yet. it may well be that given the contemporary nature of these theoretical advances additional empirical work is currently being conducted but simply has not yet been published.Empirical Research on the RBV in original). In observing this tendency. First. 1986) into their analyses. 2002). the research. 2001).16 Either way. Of course. and core competencies can confer competitive and performance advantages to the firm. Of course. Barney.

rare. 1991. 1993. O = organizing approach. ABI/Inform and EconLit do not contain all possible studies published in the field. more importantly. Of course. It is imperative to note that the suggestions presented above in response to the findings are intended to be neither exhaustive nor absolute. the present study assesses only those RBV-grounded empirical studies that seek to explain a firm’s competitive advantage or performance. Although the RBV has been used to explain a variety of additional dependent variables. Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. the present study omits them from examination given the preeminence ascribed to understanding competitive advantage and performance in the strategic management field (Barney and Hesterly. the criteria by which articles were selected. and 8). greater use of these theoretical approaches. may have defined the sample in ways that other keywords and other researchers may not have. D = dynamic capability approach. scholars may wish to reflect on these choices as they interpret the results reported herein. the finding that little more than half (53%) of tests support 17 The author thanks an anonymous reviewer for suggesting this point. Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage . Schoemaker PJH. 1986. and dynamic capabilities approaches is still in its infancy. Newbert the RBV and. coupled with increased attention to recent extensions to the RBV. the results reported herein will vary. 1997. 1997. Notwithstanding these limitations. Thus. Mgmt. 7. capabilities. Copyright  2007 John Wiley & Sons. that the degree of support varies considerably with the independent variable may contribute to our collective understanding of the RBV. Barney JB. because of this focus. and core competencies facilitate the attainment and sustainability of a firm’s competitive advantage and subsequent level of performance. and business strategy. Strategic Management Journal 14(1): 33–46. C = conceptual-level approach. given the inherent tacitness of capabilities and core competencies. Han (2004) note with regard to the TCE literature. MA. inimitable capabilities (dynamic and otherwise) and core competencies rather than its static resources that are essential to determining its competitive position. However.. Strat. and 5) and the subjective determination of what constitutes a relevant article (criteria 6. Addison-Wesley: Reading. due to the comprehensive nature of these databases. J. it may be that their lack of representation in the present study is due in part to the singular focus on quantitative analyses. both in terms of the objective keywords used (criteria 3. conceptuallevel. will no doubt increase the precision with which this important theory is tested and in turn enhance our understanding of how and to what degree resources. Winter. to the extent that other articles that empirically test the RBV may have been identified via alternative databases. The same may be true for the RBV literature as well. luck.1002/smj . Ltd. Indeed.142 S. because research on the organizing. Scholars seeking to replicate this study may also consider employing alternative selection criteria in an attempt to expand or contract the scope of articles identified. Nevertheless. 28: 121–146 (2007) DOI: 10. 1999. For example. REFERENCES18 Amit R.17 Thus. Strategic factor markets: expectations. Journal of Management 17(1): 99–120. Teece et al. this paper has attempted to create awareness about what we actually know about the RBV and in turn propose suggestions for future research that may help strengthen the support for this important theory. all articles in the dataset are listed in the reference list and are preceded by an asterisk. L. 4. although great care was taken to ensure that the choices made adhered closely to theory and precedent. Strategic assets and organizational rent.. scholars should be wary of generalizing the present findings to studies seeking to explain alternative dependent variables and may find it fruitful in the future to formally assess the empirical support for such studies. the findings suggest that it may well be the firm’s organizing context and its valuable. Barney JB. Barney JB. 1995). Additional notation is also included for each article in the dataset indicating which theoretical approach(es) was(were) employed to test the RBV: R = resource heterogeneity approach. At the very least. 18 As noted in the results section. Second. Management Science 32(10): 1231–1241. Third. the sample is argued to be representative of the full population of articles testing the RBV to which the findings presented herein are argued to be generalizable. Rather they are offered in an attempt to stimulate thought and discussion regarding past research on the RBV and future directions for testing its core hypotheses.

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