Intangible Resources as Key Determinants of Job Network Providers’ Success: A Resource-based Study
In the last 50 years, many explanations of the determinants of a firm’s success have emerged. One main research stream has dominated the literature on strategic management, grounded in the ‘resource-based view’. Its main assumptions hold that resources possessing specific characteristics such as being valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable are the key determinants of a firm’s success, and are generally regarded to be intangible in nature. In an effort to add to the body of research within the ‘resource-based view’, this paper seeks to test the core assumptions of the ‘resource-based view’ within the Job Network industry in Australia. Given that firms access various intangible resources as they try to carry out a market strategy, this present study is interested in investigating whether or not, intangible resources (capabilities) classified as skills contribute more to Job Network providers’ success than intangible resources in the form of assets, as prescribed by the ‘resource-based view’ theory. To carry out the present study, a conceptual model of intangible resources was developed based on Hall’s (1992) classification of intangible resources divided into two categories: assets and capabilities, but extends this earlier work by including some other resources available for Job Network providers in Australia (e.g. relationships abilities and functional routine). A single hypothesis was posited to investigate the assumption that capabilities contribute largely to Job Network providers’ market and financial performance, rather than intangible assets. This model was tested via a survey encompassing Job Network providers in Australia. Of the 200 questionnaires distributed, a final sample of 69 providers was analysed using multiple regression analysis. Providers’ duration in business was used as a control variable. The findings of the present study revealed mixed results. Capabilities were found to be a significant contributor to providers’ market performance and not financial performance, after accounting for the effects of other intangible assets and the control variable. By contrast, organisational assets were found to be a significant contributor to both market and financial performance measures. In addition, intellectual property and reputation assets were not found to be significant in predicting providers’ market and financial performance. Therefore, in contrast to the ‘resource-based-view’ theory, capabilities were not found to be the single most important contributor to Job Network providers’ performance. Thus, the findings of this study may raise some important issues regarding which intangible resources are the most important contributors to providers’ market and financial performance. They also offer a rich avenue for further investigations.
Keywords: Strategic management, Resource-based view, JobNetwork industry, Intangible Resources, Assets, Capabilities.