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Operations Management and Resource-Based Theories

Introduction

High levels of efficiency become the topic of discussion in many business spheres. Some of these debates evolve into full theories and studies. Operations management is one of the business areas that are primarily concerned with the efficiency and strategic use of the company’s resources. In recent years, multiple studies debated the relevance and usefulness of the resource-based theory in the theoretical field of operations management.

Two of these studies addressed each other directly, presenting various arguments for and against this approach. The first study, “Resource-Based Theory in Operations Management Research,” written by Hitt et al., investigates the potential of the resource-based view in operations management. The authors of the second article, “Operations Management and the Resource-Based View: Another View,” explore the negative sides of this theory and propose a different approach that, in their opinion, is a better alternative to using in operations management.

Finally, the authors of the first study review their opinions and the points from the second article and present a revised critique of the resource-based approach and offer some new information on contemporary research. This paper examines the articles mentioned above, their main research points and conclusions, and offers some personal insight into the state of current developments.

First Article Description

The article “Resource-Based Theory in Operations Management Research” was published in 2016. This study argues that the field of operations management became more invested in theoretical research (Hitt et al., “Resource-Based Theory” 77).

Therefore, more theories are being developed and implemented to further research. Although the authors give examples of multiple theories used in the area, they focus on the resource-based theory, noting that this particular theory has a broad range of applicability. The researchers focus on a number of themes, including “supply chain management, operations strategy, performance management, and product/service innovation” (Hitt et al., “Resource-Based Theory” 77). They argue that these particular themes affect the resource-based theory the most.

The authors explore the history of the approach and its main applications to the field of operations management. The theory itself relies on the notion that resources of a company play a significant role in its ability to compete on the market. The desire of a firm to create advantages comes from strategic management. Many scholars that study resource-based theory suggest that the company’s resources should be not only abundant but also stable, consistent, rare, and unique.

The ability to compete may lie not in the resources’ quantity, but in their quality. Moreover, the authors highlight the importance of intangible resources, saying that their qualities are complex and distinguishable. Therefore, skilled workers, for example, provide a company with a bigger advantage over competitors. Technical knowledge is another intangible resource that can encourage innovation and make the processes of a company more efficient.

The authors say that this theory is popular because of some recent articles that use the points of this theory in their research. Although many of the articles do not focus on one theory and explore various approaches, some of them center on the ideas of resource-based theory and propose a clear picture of how this theory can be integrated into other management concepts.

The article concludes that the resource-based theory is a good way to examine the role of resources in a company’s success and that it is a viable theory, which can be integrated into other spheres of operations management. Hitt et al. claim that using this theory in one’s business can help prioritize some aspects over others and deepen the understanding of other internal structures (“Resource-Based Theory” 86).

Second Article Description

Bromiley and Rau, in their article “Operations Management and the Resource-Based View: Another View,” argue that the points made by Hitt et al. are based on incorrect assumptions about resource-based theory. They explain that the popularity of this approach comes from the theory’s compelling logic. However, this logic overlooks a few significant points that should be taken into account. Bromiley and Rau write that the resource-based view is problematic and should not be used by operations management researchers for a number of reasons.

First of all, the article gathers information about the resource-based research and concludes that very few such studies measure the sustained competitive advantage of the firms. Therefore, these studies do not present any substantiated evidence to prove the validity of their approach. Secondly, the aspect of the sustainability of the competitive advantage is also flawed. This aspect does not capture the details that are connected to operations management and do not bring any progress to this area of research (Bromiley and Rau 98). For example, research centered on the resource-based view often ignores the differences between new and old companies and their accumulated competitive advantage (Bromiley and Rau 96).

The argument for using unique resources has some complications as well. The authors argue that, according to this view, it is impossible for new companies to gain advantage from a set of existing resources because such resources can be imitated or copied (Bromiley and Rau 98).

Moreover, the process of measuring intangible resources is obscure. It is hard to establish which resources can be considered rare or unique. Thus, new companies cannot gain an advantage by looking at other firms’ supplies. The value of resources is also often difficult to pinpoint. Unique resources cannot be used in trade. Therefore, their value is impossible to establish. The resource-based theory views such resources without taking the manufacturing company into account, which does not align with the operations management principles.

To contrast the resource-based theory, the authors present a different approach, called the practice-based view. This view relies on a range of performance practices that influence the company’s efficiency. Such practices as an incentive system, promotion policies, and performance appraisal may be imitable, but they affect the firm’s success nonetheless. The application of these practices can influence operations management as well (Bromiley and Rau 102).

Conclusion and Personal Insights

The two articles explore the theoretical field of operations management and come to different conclusions. Although the authors of the first study review their arguments, they remain assured that the resource-based theory is relevant to the operations management field, adding that the two discussed views are not to be compared but used together (Hitt et al., “A Current View” 107). Truly, both theories can be implemented into operations management research and provide some insight into the company’s success.

The resource-based theory allows the companies to evaluate the rarity of their assets and supplies, while the performance-based theory may encourage operations management specialists to focus on the employees and their influence on a firm’s efficiency. All in all, both views deepen the theoretical knowledge of the operations management field and provide a viable basis for new strategies and future planning.

Works Cited

Bromiley, Philip, and Devaki Rau. “Operations Management and the Resource-Based View: Another View.” Journal of Operations Management, vol. 41, 2016, pp. 95-106.

Hitt, Michael A., et al. “A Current View of Resource-Based Theory in Operations Management: A Response to Bromiley and Rau.” Journal of Operations Management, vol. 41, 2016, pp. 107-109.

—. “Resource-Based Theory in Operations Management Research.” Journal of Operations Management, vol. 41, 2016, pp. 77-94.