Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Jay B. Barney

Jay B. Barney

Ohio State University (OSU) - Human Resource Research

Date Written: 1991


Explores the link between a firm's resources and its sustained competitive advantage. For purposes of this analysis, a firm is considered to have a sustained competitive advantage when it is implementing a value creating strategy that no competitor is implementing and when these competitors are unable to duplicate the benefits of this strategy. Strategic resources are assumed to be both heterogeneous and immobile. Value, rareness, imitability, and substitutability are considered in evaluating how useful these firms' resources are for generating sustained competitive advantage. Using the framework developed, three different applications are considered: strategic planning, information processing, and positive reputations. This framework for evaluating sustained competitive advantage can also be used to examine the relationship between strategic management and other disciplines including social welfare, organization theory and behavior, and firm endowments. This analysis leads to the conclusion that firms cannot expect to purchase sustained competitive advantage on the open market, but rather, these firms need to look to resources that are rare, imperfectly imitable, and non-substitutable resources already controlled by the firms. (SRD)

Keywords: Strategic planning, Firm resources, Firm strategies, Sustainable development, Resource model, Information processing, Competitive advantages

Suggested Citation

Barney, Jay, Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage (1991). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Jay Barney (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Human Resource Research ( email )

700 Fisher Hall
2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States
614-688-3161 (Phone)

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