4.7 Conclusion

This chapter explains key issues that executives face in managing resources to keep their firms competitive. Resource-based theory argues that firms will perform better when they assemble resources that are valuable, rare, difficult to imitate, and nonsubstitutable. When executives can successfully bundle organizational resources into unique capabilities, the firm is more likely to enjoy lasting success. Different forms of intellectual property—which include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets—may also serve as strategic resources for firms. Examining a firm’s resources can be aided by the value chain, a tool that systematically examines primary and secondary activities in the creation of a good or service and by a knowledge of supply chain management that examines the value added of multiple firms working together. While resource-based theory provides a dominant view for examining the determinants of firm success, other perspectives provide insight for understanding specific behaviors of firms within an industry. Finally, SWOT analysis is a simple but powerful technique for examining the interactions between factors internal and external to the firm.


  1. Divide your class into four or eight groups, depending on the size of the class. Each group should search for a patent tied to a successful product, as well as a patent associated with a product that was not a commercial hit. Were there resources tied to the successful organization that the poor performer did not seem to attain?
  2. This chapter discussed Southwest Airlines. Based on your reading of the chapter, how well has Southwest done in bundling together the resources recommended by resource-based theory? What theoretical perspective best explains the competitive actions of most firms in the airline industry?
  3. Conduct a SWOT analysis of your college or university. Based on your analysis, what one strategic move should your school make first, and why?

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