Innovations and the Role of Complementarities in a Strategic Theory of the Firm
Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 28, pp. 1-15, 2007
Posted: 26 Jun 2007
In the resource-based view of strategy and in evolutionary economics, complementary assets play a crucial role in explaining sustainable competitive advantages and innovations. Despite the apparent importance of complementary assets for the understanding of corporate strategy, their creation and the associated managerial problems have been much less discussed. We believe this to be a major weakness in the strategic theory of the firm. Interestingly, problems of coordination and cooperation are center stage in the contract-based theories of the firm, and we try to integrate some of their insights into a resource-based perspective. Specifically, we show how complementary assets raise the need for strategic direction by a firm's top management. Moreover, complementary assets magnify internal incentive problems, and their management has an impact on the innovativeness of a firm. Lastly, complementary assets play a crucial role in the internal appropriation of innovative rents. We demonstrate the fruitfulness of our integrated framework by relating some of our findings to the literature on corporate strategy, industry evolution, and organizational structures.
Keywords: coordination, complementary assets, strategic theory of the firm, industry evolution, strategic organization design
JEL Classification: L23, M21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation