Strategic resources: Traits, configurations and paths to sustainable competitive advantage

Janice A. Black, Kimberly B. Boal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

527 Scopus citations


The resource‐based view (RBV) of the firm holds that certain assets with certain characteristics will lead to sustainable competitive advantage. All the traits are required to be present to result in sustainable competitive advantage. Such a trait approach overlooks the dynamics of the creation of firm resources especially the strategically important factors as identified by the resource based view theory. We propose that the resources are made up of factor networks which have specific interfactor and inter‐resource relationships that result in the characteristic traits being evidenced. These strategic resource factor relationships include network type, available substitutes and cogency relationships (compensatory, enhancing and suppressing.) Specific configurations that lead to high or very high support of sustainable competitive advantage are proposed. Twenty‐two specific paths to sustainable competitive advantage for a factor, contingent on resource factor traits and relationship configurations, are proposed. The implications, upon confirmation of these configurations, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-148
Number of pages18
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number2 S
StatePublished - 1994


  • Resource‐based view of the firm
  • networks
  • strategic configurations
  • strategic resources
  • systems


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