The Role of Resource Flexibility in Leveraging Strategic Resources Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent advances in resource-based theory suggest that the ways managers use strategic actions to leverage resources has important influences on firms' resulting competitive advantages. However, theory dealing with the nature of leveraging remains underdeveloped. We develop the notion that strategic actions that successfully leverage one resource might not leverage another resource. In particular, our theorizing distinguishes between flexible resources that can be leveraged in new markets and rigid resources that must be leveraged in their current market. Using data from the restaurant industry, we find evidence that top management team experience (a flexible resource) can be profitably leveraged by franchising, but that attempting to leverage specific knowledge (a rigid resource) through either franchising or multi-chaining weakens performance. Our theory and results help explain how different types of resources can be leveraged using different strategic actions. 2010 The Authors. Journal of Management Studies 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Combs, J. G., Ketchen, D., Ireland, R. D., & Webb, J. W.

citation count

  • 68

complete list of authors

  • Combs, James G||Ketchen, David J Jr||Ireland, R Duane||Webb, Justin W

publication date

  • July 2011