Resources in academic discourse: An empirical investigation of management journals

Marko Seppänen, Saku Mäkinen


Commonly shared conceptualizations of resources are scant in academic management research which strikes as somewhat peculiar since resources and their allocation thereof have long been recognised to be at the heart of the competitive advantage and performance of a firm. The research literature considering resources as basis for competitive advantages has further faced contemporary criticism for the vagueness of the fundamental definition of the resource concept. Therefore, this paper empirically studies the representation of resource concept in academic management research literature. The paper reports results on the state of conceptualisations of organisations’ resources found in two distinct sources of research literature, namely ScienceDirect’s database and ISI’s top management journals, resulting in two data sets of a total of 457 articles. The findings illustrate the two-dimensional conceptual farrago in the conceptualisations; on the definitions of the resource concept itself and on the internal structure and the level of analysis when the concept is considered. In addition, the paper sheds light on the temporal evolution of the discourse explicitly considering resources. Finally, the paper considers several remedies for these deficiencies in order both to aid future theory development in management studies and to help increase the practical impact of the research in assisting managerial decision-making.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience