Journal article

Implications for strategic IS research of the resource-based theory of the firm: A reflection

Peter B Seddon

The Journal of Strategic Information Systems | ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV | Published : 2014


This paper reviews key concepts from the resource-based theory (RBT) of the firm, including evidence of "empirical support" for RBT. However, the paper then turns the conventional logic of empirical testing of RBT on its head, and argues that all that empirical testing does is to show researchers' success in identifying valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable (VRIN) resources. Examining the IS literature from this perspective, the paper identifies a number of resources that really do seem to have been sources of competitive advantage. It concludes with recommendations on how RBT should be used in future strategic IS research.