Institution-Based Resource: Concept and Cases
In this paper, we draw insights from resource-based theory, institutional theory, and Bourdieu’s concepts of cultural consecration and symbolic capital to propose a concept of Institution-Based Resource (IBR) as a novel source of sustainable competitive advantage. We define an IBR as a valuable and symbolic resource that is consecrated and institutionalized by legitimate consecrating institutions, granted to or attained by individuals and/or firms based on each institution’s merit system, and then used by individuals and firms as a means to achieve their objectives. We also specify three premises of the IBR, detail its benefits to individuals and firms, and explain how the value of IBR can be preserved over time. We regard the IBR as a strategic resource according to the resource-based tradition and argue that an IBR can be converted into different forms of capital, making it a unique source of competitive advantage for individuals and firms. We use a variety of primary and secondary data collection methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, and examinations of documentaries, printed materials, and archival records in order to illustrate our concept of the institution-based resource through three case studies: 1) The Role of Couturier and Creator as IBR in the Luxury Fashion Industry, 2) Art Museums’ Consecration of Fashion Designers as Artists, and 3) The Royal Warrant as an IBR. The findings from our research support and highlight the importance of our IBR concept to firms’ strategy and competitive advantage as well as open up many areas for future research.
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