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Extending resource-based theory: considering strategic, ordinary and junk resources

Vanessa Warnier (IAE, University of Lille, Lille, France)
Xavier Weppe (IAE, University of Lille, Lille, France)
Xavier Lecocq (IAE, University of Lille, Lille, France and IESEG School of Management, Lille, France)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 2 August 2013




The purpose of this paper is to answer the question: how to extend resource-based theory to take into account the contribution of all kinds of resources (including the less regarded ones) to performance? While recognising the importance of strategic resources in building and sustaining a competitive advantage, the authors contend that a symmetric analysis of more available resources can shed new light on the sources and mechanisms of superior performance. Thus, they aim to contribute to an extended theory of resources.


Based on literature review and theorization process, the authors introduce alongside strategic resources, the concepts of “ordinary resources” and “junk resources”, showing how they may contribute to performance with an appropriate business model. Several illustrative cases are discussed to demonstrate that such resources need to be studied by resource-based theory (RBT).


The authors propose shifting the focus of RBT from the study of strategic resources alone in order to consider other types as well: ordinary and junk resources. Such an approach involves significant implications for strategic management theory and management practices.

Practical implications

The paper describes the conditions under which ordinary and junk resources (more available to most firms than strategic resources) may generate a competitive advantage. The extended resource-based theory can have implications for society as it may influence managers ' and public attitudes towards underestimated resources and lead to new business models.


The approach developed in this article also goes beyond traditional critiques of RBT. Specifically, the authors ' analysis avoids tautological reasoning, distinguishing between: resources; perceptions of their attributes by firms; the services these resources render; the business model implemented to deploy these resources; and the effects in terms of performance. The authors build an extended resource-based theory, allowing the contribution of various kinds of resources to firm performance to be explained.



The authors are grateful to anonymous reviewers and Joao Ferreira (special issue editor) for their insightful comments. A previous version of this paper has benefited from very useful comments from Paolo Boccardelli, Benoît Demil and Gideon Markman.


Warnier, V., Weppe, X. and Lecocq, X. (2013), "Extending resource-based theory: considering strategic, ordinary and junk resources", Management Decision, Vol. 51 No. 7, pp. 1359-1379.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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