Disambiguating Resources


Resources are inputs into a firm’s production process, such as capital equipment, the skills of individual employees, patents, finances, and talented managers. In general, a firm’s resources can be classified into three categories: physical, human, and organizational capital. Resources are either tangible or intangible in nature. With increasing effectiveness, the set of resources available to the firm tends to become larger.

Individual resources alone may not yield a competitive advantage. A sophisticated piece of manufacturing equipment may become a strategically relevant resource only when its use is integrated effectively with other aspects of a firm’s operations (such as marketing and the work of employees). In general, it is through the combination and integration of sets of resources that competitive advantages are formed.

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