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JOM Special Issue on the Resource-Based Theory of the Firm

Posted on 23 November 2008


“Resource-Based Theory:
Twenty Years of Accomplishments and Future Challenges”

Guest Editors: Jay Barney, Dave Ketchen and Mike Wright

In 1991, the Journal of Management published a special theory forum on the resource-based view of the firm which contained what have become some of the most cited papers in strategic management. In his article in the special forum, Barney argued that sustained competitive advantage derives from the resources and capabilities a firm controls that are valuable, rare, imperfectly imitable, and not substitutable. These resources and capabilities can be viewed as bundles of tangible and intangible assets, including a firm’s management skills, its organizational processes and routines, and the information and knowledge it controls. Conner’s seminal article considered whether the resource-based view constituted a new theory of the firm. The other articles in the forum made important contributions to the resource-based view’s development as well.

In the intervening years, the diffusion of resource-based theory (RBT) in strategic management and related disciplines has been both dramatic and controversial, and has involved considerable theoretical development and empirical testing. As we approach 2011 – the 20th anniversary of the 1991 issue – it is timely to organize a new special issue that attempts to assess the past contributions of RBT as well as presenting forward-looking extensions. The editors of this special issue are Jay Barney (The Ohio State University), Dave Ketchen (Auburn University), and Mike Wright (University of Nottingham).

To assess the impact of RBT since 1991, we are adopting a dual approach. First, a small set of scholars who have made landmark contributions to RBT have been invited to provide commentary-length presentations of their thoughts on RBT’s past, present, and future. These scholars include Birger Wernerfelt, Jay Barney, Margaret Peteraf, Russ Coff, Rich Makadok, Nicolai Foss, and Stu Hart.

Second, we are soliciting proposals from the academic community to provide article-length discussions of RBT’s accomplishments, its challenges, and directions for future theory development and empirical testing. The proposal process is adapted from that used by the Journal of Management to assemble its annual review issue. Proposals should contain no more than seven pages of text and should be double-spaced. References, tables, and appendices do not count against the aforementioned page limit, but they should be used only as needed.

Proposals will be vetted by the special issue editors. Authors of accepted proposals will be asked to provide full papers. Papers will undergo double-blind, developmental review, and the final acceptance of approved papers will be contingent on incorporating reviewers’ feedback to the satisfaction of the editors.

The timeline for the special issue is as follows:
• March 1 - April 1, 2009: Proposals should be submitted at Proposals will be accepted between March 1 and April 1 only. Proposals submitted before March 1 or after April 1 will be returned to the authors.
• September 1, 2009: Decisions on proposals provided to authors
• March 1, 2010: First draft of full papers due
• June 1, 2010: Feedback to authors on first draft
• October 1, 2010: Final papers submitted
• July, 2011: Special issue appears in Journal of Management