I have just come back from an academic mini-conference looking at the resource-based view of strategy [RBV]. Though this has been around for about 20 years, and increasingly dominates business-school research and teaching on strategy, it does not seem to touch the real world too much. Central to the idea is that only resources that are ‘valuable, rare, hard to imitate and embedded in organizational routines’ can contribute to competitive advantage [the VRIO criteria – don’t blame me, I didn’t make this up!]. My question is – does anyone out there in the real world actually use this concept? If so, I’d love to hear how you do it. When, for example, did anyone in a large strategy consulting firm go to a client and tell them “You know what you really need? – a VRIO analysis on your strategic resources” .. or perhaps I’m wrong and this kind of work goes on all the time?
Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with the idea that resources are important. This is central to my own strategy dynamics approach, but these VRIO things seem way too abstract to be usable. The good news is that our little conference did seem to find some ways to operationalize the RBV and make it useful.Share