Resource-Based Theory 114
Liv Tyler plays Faye Dolan, the love interest of drummer Guy Patterson, in That Thing You Do!
Wikimedia Commons – CC BY 3.0.
Is Resource-Based Theory Old News?
Resource-based theory has evolved in recent years to provide a way to understand how strategic resources and capabilities allow firms to enjoy excellent performance. But more than one wry observer has wondered aloud, “Is
115 Mastering Strategic Management
resource-based theory just old wine in a new bottle?” This is a question worth considering because the role of resources in shaping success and failure has been discussed for many centuries.
Aesop was a Greek storyteller who lived approximately 2,500 years ago. Aesop is known in particular for having created a series of fables—stories that appear on the surface to be simply children’s tales but that offer deep lessons for everyone. One of Aesop’s fables focuses on an ass (donkey) and some grasshoppers. When the ass tries to duplicate the sweet singing of the grasshoppers by copying their diet, he soon dies of starvation. Attempting to replicate the grasshoppers’ unique singing capability proved to be a fatal mistake (Figure 4.3 “Aesop’s Fables”). The fable illustrates a central point of resource-based theory: it is an array of resources and capabilities that fuels enduring success, not any one resource alone.