Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 1–21 | Cite as

Resource-based theory in marketing

  • Irina V. KozlenkovaEmail author
  • Stephen A. Samaha
  • Robert W. Palmatier
Conceptual/Theoretical Paper


The use of resource-based theory (RBT) in marketing research has increased by more than 500% in the past decade, which suggests its importance as a framework for explaining and predicting competitive advantages and performance outcomes. This article provides a comprehensive review of RBT, including a contemporary definitional foundation for relevant terms and assumptions and a synthesis of empirical findings from marketing literature. This multidimensional analysis of RBT also evaluates extant marketing research according to four perspectives: the marketing domains that use RBT, the characteristics and uses of market-based resources that differentiate it from other research contexts, the extension of RBT to the “marketing exchange” as a unit of analysis, and the connection of RBT to related theories. This analysis also reveals some common pitfalls associated with prior research, offers tentative guidelines on how to improve the use of RBT in marketing, and suggests research directions to advance the theorization and empirical testing of RBT in the future.


Resource-based theory (RBT) Resource-based view (RBV) Dynamic capability theory VRIO Marketing resources Marketing assets 


  1. Aaker, D., & Joachimsthaler, E. (2000). The brand relationship spectrum: The key to the brand architecture challenge. California Management Review, 42(4), 8–23.Google Scholar
  2. Alderson, W. (1957). Marketing behavior and executive action. Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin.Google Scholar
  3. Amaral, J., & Parker, G. (2008). Prevent disasters in design outsourcing. Harvard Business Review, 86(9), 30–34.Google Scholar
  4. Apelbaum, E., Gerstner, E., & Naik, P. (2003). The effects of expert quality evaluations versus brand name on price premiums. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 12(3), 154–165.Google Scholar
  5. Armstrong, G., & Shimizu, K. (2007). A review of approaches to empirical research on the resource-based view of the firm. Journal of Management, 33(6), 959–986.Google Scholar
  6. Arnold, T., Fang, E., & Palmatier, R. (2011). The effects of customer acquisition and retention orientations on a firm’s radical and incremental innovation performance. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(2), 234–251.Google Scholar
  7. Atuahene-Gima, K. (2005). Resolving the capability-rigidity paradox in new product innovation. Journal of Marketing, 69(4), 61–83.Google Scholar
  8. Auh, S., & Menguc, B. (2009). Broadening the scope of the resource-based view in marketing: The contingency role of institutional factors. Industrial Marketing Management, 38(7), 757–768.Google Scholar
  9. Badenhausen, K. (2012). Apple tops list of the world’s most powerful brands. Forbes, 10(22). Retrieved November 5, 2010 from
  10. Bagozzi, R. (1975). Marketing as exchange. Journal of Marketing, 39(4), 32–39.Google Scholar
  11. Barney, J. (1986). Strategic factor markets: Expectations, luck, and business strategy. Management Science, 32, 1512–1514.Google Scholar
  12. Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.Google Scholar
  13. Barney, J. (1995). Looking inside for competitive advantage. Academy of Management Executive, 9(4), 49–61.Google Scholar
  14. Barney, J. (2001). Is the resource-based “view” a useful perspective for strategic management research? Yes. Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 41–56.Google Scholar
  15. Barney, J., & Arikan, A. (2001). The resource-based view: Origins and implications. In M. Hitt, R. Freeman, & J. Harrison (Eds.), Handbook of strategic management (pp. 124–185). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Barney, J., & Clark, D. (2007). Resource-based theory: Creating and sustaining competitive advantage. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Barney, J., & Hesterly, W. (2012). Strategic management and competitive advantage: Concepts and cases (4th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson.Google Scholar
  18. Barney, J., Ketchen, D., & Wright, M. (2011). The future of resource-based theory: Revitalization or decline? Journal of Management, 37(5), 1299–1315.Google Scholar
  19. Basu, A., Lal, R., Srinivasan, V., & Staelin, R. (1985). Salesforce compensation plans: An agency theoretic perspective. Marketing Science, 4(4), 267–291.Google Scholar
  20. Boulding, W., & Christen, M. (2003). Sustainable pioneering advantage? Profit implications of market entry order. Marketing Science, 22(3), 371–392.Google Scholar
  21. Cannon, J., & Perreault, W., Jr. (1999). Buyer-seller relationships in business markets. Journal of Marketing Research, 36(4), 439–460.Google Scholar
  22. Capraro, A., & Srivastava, R. (1997). Has the influence of financial performance on reputation measures been overstated? Corporate Reputation Review, 1(1), 86–93.Google Scholar
  23. Capron, L., & Hulland, J. (1999). Redeployment of brands, sales forces, and general marketing management expertise following horizontal acquisitions: A resource-based view. Journal of Marketing, 63(2), 41–54.Google Scholar
  24. Castanias, R., & Helfat, C. (1991). Managerial resources and rents. Journal of Management, 17(1), 155–171.Google Scholar
  25. Central Intelligence Agency. (2012). The World Factbook: USA. Retrieved November 18, 2012 from
  26. Collis, D. J., & Montgomery, C. A. (2008). Competing on resources. Harvard Business Review, 86(7/8), 140–150.Google Scholar
  27. Crook, T., Ketchen, D., Combs, J., & Todd, S. (2008). Strategic resources and performance: A meta-analysis. Strategic Management Journal, 29(11), 1141–1154.Google Scholar
  28. Cui, G., & Lui, H. (2005). Order of entry and performance of multinational corporations in an emerging market: A contingent resource perspective. Journal of International Marketing, 13(4), 28–56.Google Scholar
  29. Das, T., & Teng, B. (2000). A resource-based theory of strategic alliances. Journal of Management, 26(1), 31–61.Google Scholar
  30. Day, G. (1994). The capabilities of market-driven organizations. Journal of Marketing, 58(4), 37–52.Google Scholar
  31. Day, G. (2011). Closing the marketing capabilities gap. Journal of Marketing, 75(4), 183–195.Google Scholar
  32. Dutta, S., Narasimhan, O., & Rajiv, S. (1999). Success in high-technology markets: Is marketing capability critical? Marketing Science, 18(4), 547–568.Google Scholar
  33. Dyer, J., & Singh, H. (1998). The relational view: Cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23(4), 660–679.Google Scholar
  34. Eisenhardt, K. (1989). Agency theory: An assessment and review. Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 57–74.Google Scholar
  35. Eisenhardt, K., & Martin, J. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: What are they? Strategic Management Journal, 21(10/11), 1105–1121.Google Scholar
  36. Evanschitzky, H. (2007). Market orientation of service networks: Direct and indirect effects on sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 15(4), 349–368.Google Scholar
  37. Fang, E., Palmatier, R., & Grewal, R. (2011). Effects of customer and innovation asset configuration strategies on firm performance. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(3), 587–602.Google Scholar
  38. Gao, G., Yigang, P., Tse, D., & Yim, C. (2006). Market share performance of foreign and domestic brands in China. Journal of International Marketing, 14(2), 32–51.Google Scholar
  39. Golder, P. (2000). Historical method in marketing research with new evidence on long-term market share stability. Journal of Marketing Research, 37(2), 156–172.Google Scholar
  40. Grönroos, C. (1999). Relationship marketing challenges for the organization. Journal of Business Research, 46(3), 327–335.Google Scholar
  41. Gupta, S., Lehmann, D., & Stuart, J. (2004). Valuing customers. Journal of Marketing Research, 41(2), 7–18.Google Scholar
  42. Harmancioglu, N., Droge, C., & Calantone, R. (2009). Strategic fit to resources versus NPD execution proficiencies: What are their roles in determining success? Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 37(3), 266–282.Google Scholar
  43. Heide, J. (1994). Interorganizational governance in marketing channels. Journal of Marketing, 58(1), 71–85.Google Scholar
  44. Heide, J., & Wathne, K. (2006). Friends, businesspeople, and relationship roles: A conceptual framework and a research agenda. Journal of Marketing, 70(3), 90–103.Google Scholar
  45. Helfat, C. E., & Peteraf, M. A. (2003). The dynamic resource–based view: Capability lifecycles. Strategic Management Journal, 24(10), 997–1010.Google Scholar
  46. Homburg, C., & Bucerius, M. (2005). A marketing perspective on mergers and acquisitions: How marketing integration affects postmerger performance. Journal of Marketing, 69(1), 95–113.Google Scholar
  47. Hooley, G., Greenley, G., Fahy, J., & Cadogan, J. (2005). Market-focused resources, competitive positioning and firm performance. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(5/6), 503–520.Google Scholar
  48. Hughes, M., Martin, S., Morgan, R., & Robson, M. (2010). Realizing product-market advantage in high-technology international new ventures: The mediating role of ambidextrous innovation. Journal of International Marketing, 18(4), 1–21.Google Scholar
  49. Hult, G. T. M., & Ketchen, D. J. (2001). Does market orientation matter?: A test of the relationship between positional advantage and performance. Strategic Management Journal, 22(9), 899–906.Google Scholar
  50. Hult, G. T. M., Ketchen, D. J., & Slater, S. F. (2005). Market orientation and performance: An integration of disparate approaches. Strategic Management Journal, 26(12), 1173–1181.Google Scholar
  51. Hult, G. T. M., Ketchen, D. J., & Arrfelt, M. (2007). Strategic supply chain management: Improving performance through a culture of competitiveness and knowledge development. Strategic Management Journal, 28(10), 1035–1052.Google Scholar
  52. Hunt, S. (1997). Resource-advantage theory: An evolutionary theory of competitive firm behavior? Journal of Economic Issues, 31(1), 59–77.Google Scholar
  53. Hunt, S. (2002). Foundations of marketing theory: Toward a general theory of marketing. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  54. Hunt, S. (2007). Synthesising resource-based, evolutionary and neoclassical thought. In N. Foss & P. Robertson (Eds.), Resources, Technology, and Strategy (pp. 53-79). London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Hunt, S., & Davis, D. (2008). Grounding supply chain management in resource-advantage theory. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 44(1), 10–21.Google Scholar
  56. Hunt, S., & Morgan, R. (1995). The comparative advantage theory of competition. Journal of Marketing, 59(4), 1–15.Google Scholar
  57. Hupman, R., & Zaichkowsky, J. (1995). Brand imitation and the consumer: An ethical perspective. European Advances in Consumer Research, 2, 418–424.Google Scholar
  58. Jap, S. (1999). Pie-expansion efforts: Collaboration processes in buyer-supplier relationships. Journal of Marketing Research, 36(4), 461–475.Google Scholar
  59. Jap, S. (2001). Perspectives on joint competitive advantages in buyer–supplier relationships. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 18(1), 19–35.Google Scholar
  60. Jap, S., & Ganesan, S. (2000). Control mechanisms and the relationship life cycle: Implications for safeguarding specific investments and developing commitment. Journal of Marketing Research, 37(May), 227–245.Google Scholar
  61. Jean, R., Sinkovics, R., & Kim, D. (2010). Drivers and performance outcomes of relationship learning for suppliers in cross-border customer–supplier relationships: The role of communication culture. Journal of International Marketing, 18(1), 63–85.Google Scholar
  62. Kaleka, A. (2011). When exporting manufacturers compete on the basis of service: Resources and marketing capabilities driving service advantage and performance. Journal of International Marketing, 19(1), 40–58.Google Scholar
  63. King, S., & Burgess, T. (2008). Understanding success and failure in customer relationship management. Industrial Marketing Management, 37(4), 421–431.Google Scholar
  64. Kotler, P. (1972). A generic concept of marketing. Journal of Marketing, 36(2), 46–54.Google Scholar
  65. Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2011). Marketing management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  66. Lages, L. F., Silva, G., & Styles, C. (2009). Relationship capabilities, quality, and innovation as determinants of export performance. Journal of International Marketing, 17(4), 47–70.Google Scholar
  67. Landler, M., & Barbaro, M. (2006). International business; No, not always. New York Times, 8(2), A1–A3.Google Scholar
  68. Lee, R., & Grewal, R. (2004). Strategic responses to new technologies and their impact on firm performance. Journal of Marketing, 68(4), 157–171.Google Scholar
  69. Li, T., & Calantone, R. (1998). The impact of market knowledge competence on new product advantage: Conceptualization and empirical examination. Journal of Marketing, 62(4), 13–29.Google Scholar
  70. Lippman, S., & Rumelt, R. (1982). Uncertain imitability: An analysis of interfirm differences in efficiency under competition. Bell Journal of Economics, 13(2), 418–438.Google Scholar
  71. Lockett, A., & Thompson, S. (2001). The resource-based view and economics. Journal of Management, 27, 723–754.Google Scholar
  72. Luo, X., Griffith, D., Liu, S., & Shi, Y. (2004). The effects of customer relationships and social capital on firm performance: A Chinese business illustration. Journal of International Marketing, 12(4), 25–45.Google Scholar
  73. Lusch, R., & Harvey, M. (1994). Opinion: the case for and off-balance sheet controller. Sloan Management Review, 35(Winter), 101–105.Google Scholar
  74. Mahoney, J., & Pandian, R. (1992). The resource-based view within the conversation of strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 13(5), 363–380.Google Scholar
  75. Makadok, R. (1999). Interfirm differences in scale economies and the evolution of market shares. Strategic Management Journal, 20(10), 935–952.Google Scholar
  76. Makadok, R. (2001). Toward a synthesis of the resource–based and dynamic–capability views of rent creation. Strategic Management Journal, 22(5), 387–401.Google Scholar
  77. Menguc, B., & Auh, S. (2006). Creating a firm-level dynamic capability through capitalizing on market orientation and innovativeness. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(1), 63–73.Google Scholar
  78. Merrilees, B., Rundle-Thiele, S., & Lye, A. (2011). Marketing capabilities: Antecedents and implications for B2B SME performance. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(3), 368–375.Google Scholar
  79. Moorman, C., & Slotegraaf, R. (1999). The contingency value of complementary capabilities in product development. Journal of Marketing Research, 36(2), 239–257.Google Scholar
  80. Morgan, N., Slotegraaf, R., & Vorhies, D. (2009). Linking marketing capabilities with profit growth. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 26(4), 284–293.Google Scholar
  81. Orr, L., Bush, V., & Vorhies, D. (2011). Leveraging firm-level marketing capabilities with marketing employee development. Journal of Business Research, 64(10), 1074–1081.Google Scholar
  82. Ouyang, H. (2009). Fundamental issues in capabilities research. European Journal of Management, 9(4), 209–227.Google Scholar
  83. Palmatier, R. (2008). Interfirm relational drivers of customer value. Journal of Marketing, 72(4), 76–89.Google Scholar
  84. Palmatier, R., Dant, R., Grewal, D., & Evans, K. (2006). Factors influencing the effectiveness of relationship marketing: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marketing, 70(4), 136–153.Google Scholar
  85. Palmatier, R., Dant, R., & Grewal, D. (2007). A comparative longitudinal analysis of theoretical perspectives of interorganizational relationship performance. Journal of Marketing, 71(4), 172–194.Google Scholar
  86. Palmatier, R., Houston, M., Dant, R., & Grewal, D., (2013). Relationship velocity: Toward a theory of relationship dynamics. Journal of Marketing, 77(1), 13–30.Google Scholar
  87. Payne, A., & Frow, P. (2005). A strategic framework for customer relationship management. Journal of Marketing, 69(4), 167–176.Google Scholar
  88. Penrose, E. (1959). The theory of the growth of the firm. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  89. Peteraf, M. (1993). The cornerstones of competitive advantage: A resource-based view. Strategic Management Journal, 14(3), 179–191.Google Scholar
  90. Peteraf, M., & Barney, J. (2003). Unraveling the resource-based tangle. Managerial and Decision Economics, 24(4), 309–323.Google Scholar
  91. Pfeffer, J., & Salancik, G. (1978). The external control of organizations: A resource dependence perspective. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  92. Porter, M. (1979). How competitive forces shape strategy. Harvard Business Review, 57(2), 137–145.Google Scholar
  93. Priem, R., & Butler, J. (2001a). Is the resource-based “view” a useful perspective for strategic management research? Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 22–40.Google Scholar
  94. Priem, R., & Butler, J. (2001b). Tautology in the resource-based view and the implications of externally determined resource value: Further comments. Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 57–66.Google Scholar
  95. Ramaswami, S., Srivastava, R., & Bhargava, M. (2009). Market-based capabilities and financial performance of firms: Insights into marketing’s contribution to firm value. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 37(2), 97–116.Google Scholar
  96. Reinartz, W., & Kumar, V. (2003). The impact of customer relationship characteristics on profitable lifetime duration. Journal of Marketing, 67(1), 77–99.Google Scholar
  97. Richey, G., Tokman, M., & Dalela, V. (2010). Examining collaborative supply chain service technologies: A study of intensity, relationships, and resources. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 38(1), 71–89.Google Scholar
  98. Ring, P. S., & Van de Ven, A. H. (1994). Developmental processes of cooperative interorganizational relationships. Academy of Management Review, 19(1), 90–118.Google Scholar
  99. Ruiz-Ortega, M., & García-Villaverde, P. (2008). Capabilities and competitive tactics influences on performance: Implications of the moment of entry. Journal of Business Research, 61(4), 332–345.Google Scholar
  100. Rust, R., Lemon, K., & Zeithaml, V. (2004). Return on marketing: Using customer equity to focus marketing strategy. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 109–127.Google Scholar
  101. Samaha, S., Palmatier, R., & Dant, R. (2011). Poisoning relationships: Perceived unfairness in channels of distribution. Journal of Marketing, 75(3), 99–117.Google Scholar
  102. Schmalensee, R. (1985). Do markets differ much? American Economic Review, 75, 341–351.Google Scholar
  103. Slotegraaf, R., & Dickson, P. (2004). The paradox of a marketing planning capability. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32(4), 371–385.Google Scholar
  104. Slotegraaf, R., Moorman, C., & Inman, J. (2003). The role of firm resources in returns to market deployment. Journal of Marketing Research, 40(3), 295–309.Google Scholar
  105. Song, M., Di Benedetto, C., & Mason, R. (2007). Capabilities and financial performance: The moderating effect of strategic type. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35(1), 18–34.Google Scholar
  106. Srinivasan, R., Lilien, G., & Rangaswamy, A. (2002). Technological opportunism and radical technology adoption: An application to e-business. Journal of Marketing, 66(3), 47–60.Google Scholar
  107. Srivastava, M., & Gnyawali, D. (2011). When do relational resources matter? Leveraging portfolio technological resources for breakthrough innovation. Academy of Management Journal, 54(4), 797–810.Google Scholar
  108. Srivastava, R., Shervani, T., & Fahey, L. (1998). Market-based assets and shareholder value: A framework for analysis. Journal of Marketing, 62(1), 2–18.Google Scholar
  109. Srivastava, R., Fahey, L., & Christensen, H. (2001). The resource-based view and marketing: The role of market-based assets in gaining competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 27(6), 777–802.Google Scholar
  110. Teece, D. (1982). Towards an economic theory of the multi-product firm. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 3, 39–63.Google Scholar
  111. Teece, D. (2007). Explicating dynamic capabilities: The nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance. Strategic Management Journal, 28(13), 1319–1350.Google Scholar
  112. Teece, D., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 18(7), 509–533.Google Scholar
  113. van Riel, A., de Mortanges, P., & Streukens, S. (2005). Marketing antecedents of industrial brand equity: An empirical investigation in specialty chemicals. Industrial Marketing Management, 34(8), 841–847.Google Scholar
  114. Verhoef, P., Franses, P., & Hoekstra, J. (2001). The impact of satisfaction and payment equity on cross-buying: Dynamic model for a multi-service provider. Journal of Retailing, 77(3), 359–379.Google Scholar
  115. Vorhies, D., & Morgan, N. (2005). Benchmarking marketing capabilities for sustainable competitive advantage. Journal of Marketing, 69(1), 80–94.Google Scholar
  116. Wernerfelt, B. (1984). A resource-based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 5(2), 171–180.Google Scholar
  117. Williamson, O. E. (1975). Markets and hierarchies. Analysis and antitrust implications. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  118. Williamson, O. E. (1985). The economic institutions of capitalism. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  119. Williamson, O. E. (1991). Strategizing, economizing, and economic organization. Strategic Management Journal, 12(S2), 75–94.Google Scholar
  120. Zou, S., Fang, E., & Zhao, S. (2003). The effect of export marketing capabilities on export performance: An investigation of Chinese exporters. Journal of International Marketing, 11(4), 32–55.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irina V. Kozlenkova
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen A. Samaha
    • 2
  • Robert W. Palmatier
    • 3
  1. 1.Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.College of Business and EconomicsCalifornia State University–NorthridgeNorthridgeUSA
  3. 3.Foster School of Business, University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations