Purpose – The paper seeks to analyze the evolution of competitive advantage using both “classic” and “extended” resource‐based theory (RBT). The aim is to examine the different ways in which “classic” and “extended” resource‐based advantage develops and how they might combine to create long‐term advantage. Design/methodology/approach – A single case study method is used to examine the process by which competitive advantage has accumulated over a 50‐year period at Food Services Group Inc., a highly successful food service company based on the West Coast of the USA with an annual growth rate currently running at 10 percent. Findings – Preliminary conclusions suggest support for the sequential, iterative, and slow‐cycle development model associated with proprietary bounded resources and, the strategic resource‐rigidity paradox. The work also highlights preliminary evidence for a faster cycle development process possible with inter‐firm resources associated with extended resource‐based theory (ERBT) and, long‐run sustainable advantage requiring synchronization and integration of both bounded and relational resources. Originality/value – This is the first rich empirical study of the way competitive advantage evolves using both RBT and ERBT. The research provides insights into how organizations can combine both classic and extended resources in seeking to establish competitive advantage. It illustrates how unbounded external resources, such as the role of suppliers engaged in new product development, can create an initial advantage for firms who then build on this by investing in bounded resources such as specific skills within their organization.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 21, 2010
Keywords: Resource management; Resource efficiency; Competitive advantage; Food service; United States of America
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