Overview And Advantage Of Resource Based View Management Essay

The assignment is meant to critically analyse the relationship between resource-based view (RBV) and firm’s performance in order to achieve sustainable competitive advantage. This paper also discusses how RBV can be the best strategy route for the development of a firm’s strategy. I have studied various journals in order to understand the prospective of RBV in a firm.

The management has used RBV as a popular theory of competitive advantage (Fahy, 2000, p.94). In order to achieve advantage over other firms, the strategic management need to identify critical resources available in the firm and explore it into full capacity. The RBV uses a strategic choice enabling the firm’s management to identify, develop and deploy key resources to maximise returns (Fahy, 2000, p.96). In short, RBV help a firm to find out why some resources are more advantage-generating than others and why resources asymmetries and consequent competitive advantage exist in an open competition (Fahy, 2000, p.99). Although RBV is useful to find out how some firm can outshine others, it has limited normative guidance to managers (Sheehan and Foss, 2007, p.451). This will be further discussed as we go along the paper.


Overview of RBV

The RBV of the firm includes two components which is the internal resources and capabilities as a source of superior firm performance (Lucas and Kirillova, 2011, p.290). RBV carries the assumption that a high performing firm is made up of a bundle of resources that provides them with an advantage in the marketplace (Zubac, Hubbard, Johnson, 2010, p.516). Besides that, RBV assumes that resources are heterogeneously distributed among the firm and are immobile across the firms (Barney, 2001, p.101). As mentioned by Runyan et.al, a successful firm will be those who are proactive in gaining and maintaining competitive advantage in a hostile environment (p. 392).Therefore, difference in firm resource endowments will exist and last for quite some time, thus enabling differences in performance among firms (Kraaijenbrink, Spender and Groen, 2010, p. 358).

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Resources and competitive advantage

To achieve competitive advantage, a firm’s resources must have characteristics such as valuable, rare, inimitable and non substitutable (VRIN). In RBV, not all resources are of importance for achieving competitive advantage in a firm (Fahy, 2000, p.96). Valuable resources are the key resources that enable a firm strategy to be implemented to satisfy the needs of customers, thereby improving firm’s performance (Clulow, Gerstman and Barry, 2003, p. 222). This indicates a complementary between RBV and Porter’s industry analysis of customers (Fahy, 2000, p.97). Rare resources can be a valuable creating strategy if it is not simultaneously implemented by majority of firms (Barney, 1991, p. 106). On the other hand, inimitable resources are not prone to duplication by rivals and barriers will exist when the resources cannot be imitated and substituted and are immobile (Clulow, Gerstman and Barry, 2003, p. 222). Immobile resources are particularly important in banking industry and advertising whereby individuals or small groups are the key advantage creating resources and will finally be taken up by competitors (Fahy, 2000, p.97).

Strategic capability and firm performance

However, the firm to understand that resources are not productive by themselves. The manager’s ability is to turn advantage creating resources into profit. Thus, strategic capabilities of the firm in terms of coordinating, deploying and revamping resources are vital for achieving best performance in a firm (Lucas and Kirillova, 2010, p.194). Implication of RBV and firm capability was illustrated in Toyota as noted by Anand and Ward (2004, p.371):

[. . .] the success of the Toyota production system and JIT helped bring about a change in the approach to dynamic environments, popularizing the idea of incorporating flexibility in manufacturing systems without sacrificing efficiency. [. . .] As a result, the strategic approach of manufacturing firms has changed, with a new focus on building capabilities to effectively deal with dynamic environments instead of simply trying to avoid uncertainties.

Strategic internal capabilities are important for superior firm performance and for achieving competitive advantage. Tesco had posses another good example in this context. As Tesco, Sainsburry’s and Asda are rivals in the same field, Tesco still exist as a stronger rival because of their heterogeneous aspect in terms of retails sites, management and experience (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington, 2008, p.94). It has therefore been proven that capabilities can be derived from the resources themselves.

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RBV and organising flexibility

To find out how some firm outshine others, we will look into the basis of capabilities dimensions and flexible organisation which increase the difficulty for imitation. As an example, a firm with process-based capability performed much better by transforming input such as information into products and services. This can be seen from McDonalds whereby it could deliver service at a low cost and is reputable fast food chain.

Another firm, Dell developed a network-based capability which was able to integrate product design, assemble and deliver customised computers. So, it can be seen that RBV gives a theoretical basis for organising flexibility, understanding interrelationship, thus allowing them to create and sustain competitive advantage (Lucas and Kirillova, 2010, p.198). These firm are able to perform well because they have the capabilities to produce at a low cost and differentiate their products from competitors using resources available (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington, 2008, p.94).

RBV and its critiques

The value of resource is not useful for firm

Nevertheless, some researchers have raised the question about the value of RBV in a firm. The critique argues that RBV stands on analytical statements which are tautology. From the definition of valuable resources and competitive advantage as discussed earlier, it seems that they are indefinite in notion of value (Kraaijenbrink, Spender, Groen, 2010, p.356). Bowman and Ambrosini (2000) attempted to clarify RBV notion of value by suggesting three concept of value, that is the perceived value by customers, customers willingness to pay and value they paid in exchange for products or services. Alternatively, if RBV is considered as a theory of firm, the firm’s resources and capabilities must be determined independently to justify the products delivered to the customers so as to decouple the tautology.

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Exogenous value determination

The tautology definitions of the value offered triggered some debate on whether value of RBV is determined endogenously or exogenously. In reference to SWOT analysis, RBV has missed out the Opportunities and Threats part which is the environmental analysis on how to place themselves in the product market. However, it has been supported by Priem and Butler (2008) and then explicitly agreed by Barney that value in the RBV should be determined by the outside market. Unfortunately, RBV itself does not cater for such alternative external determination (Kraaijenbrink, Spender, Groen, 2010, p.357).

VRIN criteria is not sufficient for sustainable competitive advantage

Some additional argument on RBV is that the ‘VRIN’ resources are irrelevant to the competitive advantage (SCA) in a firm. This is further argued by Foss and Knudsent (2003) when they said uncertainty and immobility are important for SCA to work while others are simply additional to these. On the other hand, Becerra revealed that value uncertainty, resource specification and firm level innovation are important for a firm to make profits (Kraaijenbrink, Spender and Groen, 2010, p.355).

Porter analysis and RBV


It is proven that the RBV is helpful for a firm. However, it still lacks in various aspects. Therefore, integrating Porter’s competitve positioning view with the RBVof the firm is a very strategic weapon. Porter state that a firm’s strategy must align with its environment. One of the players identified by Porter is the customers of the firm (Lucas, and Kirillova, 2010, p.190). Recently, there has been a preference for customers to demand for better product performance, more customisation and greater responsiveness together with lower prices (Lucas, and Kirillova, 2010, p.191).

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