CiteWeb id: 19910000001

CiteWeb score: 47922

DOI: 10.1177/014920639101700108

Understanding sources of sustained competitive advantage has be­ come a major area of research in strategic management. Building on the assumptions that strategic resources are heterogeneously distrib­ uted across firms and that these differences are stable over time, this ar­ ticle examines the link between firm resources and sustained competi­ tive advantage. Four empirical indicators of the potential of firm resources to generate sustained competitive advantage-value, rare­ ness, imitability, and substitutability--are discussed. The model is ap­ plied by analyzing the potential of several firm resources for generating sustained competitive advantages. The article concludes by examining implications of this firm resource model of sustained competitive ad­ vantage for other business disciplines. Understanding sources of sustained competitive advantage for firms has be­ come a major area of research in the field of strategic management (porte~ 1985; Rumelt. 1984). Since the 1960's, a single organizing framework has been used to structure much of this research (Andrews, 1971; Ansoff. 1965; Hofer & Schendel, 1978). This framework, summarized in Figure One, suggests that firms obtain sus­ tained competitive advantages by implementing strategies that exploi~ their inter­ nal strengths, through responding to environmental opportUnities. while neutiaI­ izing external threats and avoiding internal weaknesses. Most research on sources of sustained competitive advantage has focused either on isolating a firm's oppor­ tunities and threats (Porter, 1980, 1985), describing its strengths and weaknesses (Hofer & Schendel, 1978; Penrose, 1958; Stinchcombe, 1965), or analyzing how these are matched to choose strategies. Although both internal analyses of organizational strengths and weaknesses Discussions with members of the Strategic Management Group at Thxas AM and Abby McWilliams, have been helpful in the development of these ideas. The rudiments of the argument were presented and discussed at the second annual Wharton Con­ ference on Models of Strategic Choice. Discussions with Raphael Amit, Birger Wemerfelt, Michael Porte!; David Thece, Dick Rumelt, Margie Petroff; Connie Helfat, Sid WmteJ; and Garth Saloner have had a significant impact on the ideas developed here. I would especially like to thank Cynthia Montgomery for convincing me to write this article. Address all correspondence to Jay B. Barney, Department of Management, Thxas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.