iBusiness, 2011, 3, 287-294
doi:10.4236/ib.2011.33038 Published Online September 2011 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ib)
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. iB
Internal Resource Audit for Strategists—A
Tom Connor
The Business School, University of Bedfordshire, London, UK.
Email: tjj.connor@virgin.net
Received M ay 27 th, 2011 ; revised July 5th, 2011; accep ted Jul y 20th, 2011.
It is the purpose of this article to suggest a structured approach to internal resource audit, which, whilst of necessity
general-purpose in design, would be capable of adaptation to particular company cases. Consequently this paper does
not aim at theory development, but to make a conceptual contribution to the art and practice of management. It will,
however, offer some criticism of current theory from a management perspective.
Keywords: Strategy, Internal Audit, Resources
1. Introduction
It is a commonplace view within strategic management
circles that an internal resource audit (IRA) is a basic
step in determining a firm’s strategic standing and for
providing a key part of the platform for decision-making
about the firm’s feasible strategic options.
In view of the important role that an IRA plays in
strategic deliberation it is curious to note that there seems
to be no generally recognized procedure or process for
conducting such an audit which is aimed at identifying
the company’s stren gths and weak nesses.
In practice this identification of resources susceptible
of management control, and which hold the potential for
value creation and the establishment of competitive ad-
vantage, has traditionally been an ad hoc process. As
Hax and Majluf [1] pointed out,
It is unfortunate that the current state of knowledge in
management precludes structuring this activity in a more
precise way. We rely on an intuitive treatment because
we lack a sounder and more solidly scientific method (p.
In the quarter of a century since they wrote, it would
not appear that we have become appreciably more me-
thodical or systematic in approaching this important ac-
1.1. Treatment of Internal Resource Audit
Most strategic management textbooks normally devote a
section to analysis of the internal environment. This usu-
ally involves a discussion of company resources and ca-
pabilities with some generic observations about identi-
fied strengths and weaknesses. This may be useful as far
as it goes, but these treatments are usually essentially
descriptive and ex post facto in nature. It is suggested in
this article that there is a need for a model or concept of
an internal audit process which concentrates, not on the
form that resources may take at points in time, but on the
organic nature of the firm and the extent to which this
nature will provide the long-term viability and competi-
tiveness which lies at the heart of successful strategy.
Thus the capacity to produce resources is as important, if
not more so, as the possession of them now or in the past.
This would predicate the conclusion that we should think
not of strategy but rather of a ‘strategic stream’. To this
end it is suggested here that the main objective of an IRA
is to assess the firm according to five key principles.
These principles relate to the internal and structural con-
dition of the firm, and will prompt certain proposed
questions the answers to which will provide a clear as-
sessment of its strategic capability. The questions are:
1) Is the firm in a fit condition for the strategic task
facing it?
2) Is the firm alert to change signals in the broad envi-
3) Has the firm the durability to last the course over
4) Is the firm innovative in its pursuit of its strategic
directions and methods?
5) Has the firm the capacity and disposition to adapt to
Internal Resource Audit for Strategists—A Proposal
changes in environmental forces?
Many writers have addressed versions of these ques-
tions from both cybernetic and organic viewpoints.
Whatever the viewpoint, which must be a matter of
management choice, it is postulated here that they have
to be considered in conjunction rather than sequentially
or separately and, further, that the need is to provide
managers with tractable principles for resource audit and
development which they can deploy in dynamic, task-
ori ented enviro nme nts.
It is suggested that the answers to these questions will
provide an insight into the firm’s quality of resource en-
dowment. The answers would indicate if the firm is re-
sourced for the competitive challenge implicit in its fu-
ture strategic aspirations. The value of such an approach
is that it concentrates on the potential of the firm to pro-
duce strategic success. Chandler [2] famously observed
that “structure follows strategy”. But is this necessarily
true? One can see how a firm might make adjustments to
its structure as strategy develops, but it is unlikely that
any firm would have the appetite, time, or freedom for
root-and-branch structural change whenever it changes
its strategy significantly. If this is so then, it might be
hypothesized that the success ful firm is more likel y to be
one whose structure, culture, systems and management
are capable of adjusting to shifts, both major and minor,
in its strategic path and tasks. In other words, a flexible
post ure b y mana ger s is t he ke y to strat egic succ ess r at her
than seeking the perfect fit of resources and environment.
1.2. The Literature of Resources within Strategic
The deployment of assets and resources lies at the heart
of the strategic management discipline. Yet throughout
the extensive literature in the field there is relatively little
that addresses the issues of internal resource audit or the
generation of resources critical to strategic success.
McKiernan [3] has classified the strategy literature into
four broad approaches:
1) Planning and practice
2) Learning
3) Positio ning
4) Resource-based view (RBV)
The first of these classes (planning and practice) re-
flects the view of strategy created on a rational basis as a
design for the deployment of corporate assets to exploit
identified external opportunities. The emphasis is on
systematic forecasting, information gathering, and plan-
ning procedures. This approach might be said to be
within the tradition of scientific management. Writers
within this tradition would include, amongst others;
Taylor [4], Gilbreth [5], Barnard [6], Fayol [7], Ansoff
[8], Steiner [9] and Andrews [10].
The second class of the literature (learning) argues that
planned strategy is rendered impossible by the complex-
ity and volatility of the business environment. Strategic
success here will be achieved by adjustment to the
changing environment and will be driven by organiza-
tional power systems, managerial values and expecta-
tions, and the contingent behavioural patterns within
firms. Contributors to this stream of thinking would in-
clude such as; Simon [11], Cyert and March [12], Lind-
blom [13], Weick [14], Beer [15], Quinn [16], and Senge
Within the third class of the literature (positioning)
successful strategy emerges from an understanding of
market structure and the opportunity it affords for firms
to create differentiated positions. Derived from the con-
cept of monopolistic competition, the successful firm in
this view is responsive to the structural forces within its
industry which define the limits of its freedom of action.
This literature tradition includes such as; Chamberlin
[18], Kotler [19], Robinson [20], Levitt ([21], Porter [22,
23], Ohmae [24], and Hofer and Schendel [25].
The fourth class of the literature (RBV) is probably the
dominant school in current discourse within the field of
strategic management. Essentially an inside-out view, it
posits strategic success through the development, acqui-
sition and deployment over time of scarce resources and
skills which are unique either in themselve s or in the wa y
they are combined with each other. Derived from classi-
cal microeconomics, this tradition is found in the writing
of such as; Penrose [26], Schmalansee [27], Wernerfelt
and Montgomery [28], Dierickx and Cool [29], Rumelt
[30], Barney and Griffin [31], Amit and Schoemaker [32],
Kay [33], Peteraf [34], Collis [35], Powell [36], and Al-
varez and Barney [37].
A central thrust of the RBV is the contribution of core
competences as strategic assets which will be the con-
tinuing source of new products and services through
whatever future developments may take place in the
market, which by their nature, are unknowable. Thus the
emphasis of the RBV approach to strategic management
decision-making is on the strategic capability of the firm
rather than attempting to constantly ensure a perfect
environmental fit. (Connor: 307) [38].
The RBV tradition in the literature is an explicitly in-
side-out approach and so it is within this body of writing
that we might reasonably expect to see the greatest em-
phasis upon the audit of internal resources. Curiously
however, the RBV literature is all but silent on this mat-
ter. A critical review of this literature suggests that its
discussion of assets and resources (strategic assets)
would appear to be more rhetorical than concrete. Even
where RBV proponents suggest the nature of the strate-
gic assets which explain the success of the firm the sug-
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. iB
Internal Resource Audit for Strategists—A Proposal289
gestion appears invariably to be an ex post facto assertio n
of causality rather than a statement of demonstrated cau-
sality between identified concrete assets defined a priori
and ensuing strategic success. From an analytical view-
point the language used to describe strategic assets in the
RBV literature is vague and imprecise and frequently is
little more than a collection of adjectives and abstractions
as illustrated in Table 1.
In essence assets are defined by attributes rather than
by identification. The RBV has been subjected to critical
observation in the literature principally concerning its
tautological nature and its ex post facto viewpoint in-
cluding, amongst other s, Priem a nd Butler [39,4 0], Co llis
[35], Connor [38], McGuiness and Morgan [41].
To conduct an audit it must be possible to define and
identify what is being audited . The weakness of the RBV
is that its discussion of strategic success is based upon
the concept of strategic assets. But in the literature of the
RBV strategic assets are imprecise, generalized notions
which, if they can be identified, will only be so after the
event. Definitions of strategic assets are not definitions of
substance at all but rather attributions of purported char-
acteristics. The link between the ‘strategic asset’ and the
consequence is a retrospective imputation rather than an
inductively demonstrated linkage. Similarly with such
ideas as complementarities and capabilities. Do these
words actually have specific in situ ex ante definitions?
A company has to be successful before the strategic
assets can be suggested. This begs the question; can
companies which are not successful have any strategic
assets? Are strategic assets only strategic if they deliver
success? If so then this imputation of success is an en-
tirely tautological process. Throughout much of the re-
search literature within the RBV it is suspected that many
of the correlations identified and claimed may simply be
the consequences of seeking relationships between vari-
ables which on closer investigation may well be simply
paraphrases of each other. For these reasons it is argued
that the RBV literature can provide little, if any, guidance
Table 1. Language of the RBV.
Strategic Assets Characteristics within the
RBV Lite rature
Strateg ic asse ts are inter alia
Metaphysical ins igh ts
to practicing managers facing the task of internal re-
source audit. The RBV is entirely retrospective. Good
theory provides the basis for sound and reliable predic-
tion. The RBV cannot do this other than in the most gen-
eralised and imprecise terms. In consequence RBV
propositions would merely appear to beg the question of
what produces strategic success.
2. Premises
Consequently an approach is suggested here which is
based upon properties of an organization which can be
defined a priori. Firstly though, it is important to estab-
lish a number of premises in order to ground the pro-
posed approach and to provide a conceptual boundary for
its application.
1) Any effective IRA should be based upon a clear and
structured view of the business model of the particular
firm. For this purpose it is suggested that a comprehen-
sive value chain analysis [23] would be an appropriate
first step in the process. There is no intention to dwell
further on this point here since the value chain concept
should be well understood and its use has become com-
mon amongst managers.
2) The resources to be audited will be assets and skills.
These are levers for managers to use. Anything which
cannot be used cannot be a resource of that firm. It is the
internal controllable resources which are semi-determi-
nistic in nature, in that although managed changes to
inputs can be undertaken the market-place impact of
them is probabilistic in nature.
3) The audit cannot simply follow a sequential func-
tion-by-function approach. The process should be in-
formed by the insights gained from the value chain
analysis, and resources and assets, although perhaps re-
siding in particular functions, must be understood in
terms of their synergistic, rather than isolated, potential
for value creation.
4) Concepts such as “competences” or ‘capabilities”
are not particularly helpful if they are principally judg-
mental and rhetorical in nature and tend to be simply
inferential descriptions of what may have worked in the
past following ex post facto rationalization of phenomena.
It is important to avoid such casual, and perhaps seduc-
tive, assertions of the causation of success.
5) To be of value the resource audit ought to be for-
ward-looking, since whatever has produced past success
cannot be assumed to do so in the future. Consequently
the identification and evaluation of internal resources
cannot be done in isolation from an insight into strategic
aspirations; it must be driven b y a view of the future, not
an assessment of the past. Thus the internal audit of the
company cannot be done in isolation from the assessment
of the company’s external environmental situation. It
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. iB
Internal Resource Audit for Strategists—A Proposal
follows that the internal resource audit becomes a search
for the organic responsiveness of the firm rather than
solely a search for the presence or absence of specific
resources defined a priori. That would represent a mo-
lecular approach to strategic analysis and in no way con-
siders the matter of the dynamic combination of re-
Proceeding from these premises the following princi-
ples are proposed to frame an effective approach to in-
ternal resource audit.
2.1. Princip le of Fi tness
The idea of fitness relates to the ability of the firm to
maintain and win business in its served markets. Two
contr ib ut i ng fac to rs wo uld be so ug ht her e. T he fir st i s t he
possessio n of the necessary tangible and intangible assets
required to achieve strategic objectives. By necessary it
is meant that these assets will have been defined and
identified by managers as a consequence of a rational
process o f analysis and design . Thus they will be definite
in nature and not simply in the form of assumed strengths
of the organization emerging from a retrospective ap-
praisal of the firm’s performance hitherto.
The second factor of importance in this connection
will be the extent to which the firm can resp ond to intel -
ligence and stimuli without the need to overcome struc-
tural inhihibitors to action. The biological analogy is with
the body’s autonomic systems which function and pro-
vide life support in an “unthinking” way. In essence the
fit firm will respond autonomically to opportunities and
threats. Clearly here organizational design, policies, pro-
cedures, and the general working style of the firm will be
of central importance. Any artificial barriers to rapid as-
similation of information and internal communications
will undermine the fitness of the firm and render it less
competitive than it might otherwise have been. Conse-
quently it is suggested that an appropriate range of fac-
tors for ascertaining and achieving fitness might include
the explicit definition of the key assets and resources
without which strategic objectives cannot be achieved,
derived from the use of tried and tested analytical meth-
ods for the identification of critical success factors. This
would be augmented by an explicit, itemized, and phased
plan for the acquisition of the key strategic assets identi-
fied. The design of the organization with the principal
emphasis on facilitation of learning from experience, and
the formulation and maintenance of internal policies and
procedures specifically designed to ensure that the firm
embraces and exploits new knowledge would be another
important focus of strategic management attention. At
the level of organizational detail the design of informa-
tion and control systems and the removal throughout the
firm of all organizational barriers to communications
would be an integral part of the strategic plan of the firm.
This would co ver st ruc ture, desig n, cus to ms, co nvent ion s,
traditions, hierarchies, and so on, since all of these can
introduce rigidities and inertia into the firm. These fea-
tures are, in fact, part of a rounded strategy.
The intention of attending to this range of issues would
be the achievement of an optimum balance between the
firm’s learning and action mechanisms, with the benefit
that strategic response becomes a reflex action rather
than an exercise in guarded and suspicious introspection,
as may be the case for many businesses which lack the
self-confidence to respond quickly to developments.
2.2. Principle of Alertness
Allied to the fitness of the firm is its alertness. Once
again, this will be a feature of design, whether formal or
informal, and will relate to the processes of intelligence
acquisition and the organic capacity of the firm to learn
both through the processing of externally sourced infor-
mation and through the continuous review of internal
conditions and developments. The essential requirement
is to make maximum effective use of all intelligence and
the following points will be of particular importance in
this connection the infor mation syste m of the firm would
be designed and organized to receive signals from both
internal and external sources, furthermore, the screening
of information should be conducted to minimize the in-
terference of “noise”. Once acquired and screened in-
formation would need to be disseminated within the firm
as quickly and widely as possible. This entails that there
should be no vertical or horizontal barriers to the free
exchange of information within the firm. The firm would
look for every opportunity to learn and should have no
reservations about questioning established ideas or views
or changing direction and it should ensure that it devel-
ops a strong, retentive corporate memory so that its ex-
periences are recorded and appraised for the learning
potential they can offer.
These issues are all capable of a design approach, but
achieving these conditions might be difficult for many
firms since it may involve a considerable effort to over-
come traditional views about organizational life and hi-
erarchical structures. It will require novel ways of look-
ing at the world and a constant willingness to learn and
re-learn, jettisoning when necessary ideas and values
which may have worked well in the past and to which
many people have a degree of attachment. Internal con-
trollable variables are deterministic in nature, but exter-
nal developments are not, they are invariably stochastic.
But good managers will recognize that it is possible to
create controllable internal systems to improve the firm's
external environment assessment and decision-making in
the face of the uncontrollable variables. Failing to do
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Internal Resource Audit for Strategists—A Proposal291
these things would impair the alertness of the firm and in
turn degrade its fitness.
2.3. Principle of Durability
A firm requires durability to survive and prosper in a
changing world. We may think of durability as a measure
of the firm’s stamina for the long haul. This is not a
point-in-time condition but an extended capacity to de-
velop continuously. The principal focus of this consid-
eration will be the firm’s re serves of strength. This would
mean a concentration on the firm’s ability to renew and
develop its key assets and resources, not the least of
which will be a constant flow of management and other
human talent to exploit and direct resources towards the
achievement of the corporate purpose. Consequently that
purpose itself is an aspect of durability as it imbues the
firm with a direction for its efforts and a means of
avoiding distractions and blind alleys. To this end a
numbe r of p o int s ar e impo rt an t to no te. T her e o ught t o b e
a systematic and continuous review of the firm’s key
strategic assets to ensure that they are maintained and
where necessary developed and modified. The financial
resources of the firm should be focused primarily on
these key strategic assets. The continuous monitoring,
development, and acquisition of management talent will
be axiomatic in ensuring the firm’s stamina. The explic-
itly stated purpose of the firm should provide the deci-
sion rules for cases where difficult choices have to be
made between strategic options and competing claims on
strategic asset allocation. In this connection an under-
standing of the purpose of the firm will have to be dis-
seminated throughout the organization to all levels to
ensure that all employees are aware of the nature of their
own contribution to strategic success, in terms of their
own professional language and work. Special care would
need to be taken to ensure that the high-level objectives
of the firm’s corporate and business strategy are trans-
lated into appropriate functional level language to enable
delivery of strategy in the competitive market.
Once again the issues identified here are all suscepti-
ble of a design approach. Attention to these issues will
improve the chances of a firm achieving longevity. The
essential notion is the conditioning of the firm with a
long-term level of competiti veness in vie w. The principal
focus is not just the creation of successful products now
but the capacity to continuously develop and introduce
new products over time. The firm may have very little
idea of what products the market may require in ten years
but it must ensure that it has the potential and survivabil -
ity to be there in ten years providing the products whose
market need will have manifested itself in the intervening
2.4. Principle of Innovation
In considering this question the two factors of primary
interest are the firm’s human capital and its powers of
imagination. Together these two factors will govern the
level of the firm’s creativity. As innovation is a creative
act only human intelligence allied with imagination can
produce it. With a view to a firm’s long-term competi-
tiveness clearly the diligence with which it acquires tal-
ent and the provision of an internal environment which
promotes creativity will be critical determinants. The
following considerations will be of relevance to these
issues. The firm’s human resourcing policies will need to
be strategically focused rather than si mply determined in
isolation at the functional level, thus ensuring recruit-
ment and development activities reflect strategic objec-
tives. As a corollary, the firm’s human resourcing funds
should be focused on strategy-determined staffing needs
and managers should be adept at re-allocating key human
resources in changing conditions to optimize their value
creation. A heavy emphasis would be laid on executive
succession plans and policies for developing and retain-
ing strategically important people. The firm’s reward
systems ought to be designed with creativity and innova-
tive initiatives in mind and a cultural predisposition to
challenging norms of thinking and behaviour should be
designed into the firm’s organization and be reflected in
the firm’s choice of strategic performance measurements.
All of these considerations can be rationally addressed
through purposeful planning and organizational design. It
would be wrong to believe that creativity can simply
emerge from a relatively unstructured organizational
setting. The search here is for purposeful freedom and
initiative, and not simply a form of organizational liber-
tarianism, where anything goes. It should be noted that
much of what has been observed here about innovation
will be closely related to the observations above about
the alertness of the firm and the need to embed the in-
formation systems to gather intelli gence and the removal
of organizational barriers to communication.
2.5. Principle of Adaptability
The last principle to add ress relates to the capacity of the
firm to adapt itself to changes in the environmental
forces which impact upon it. The analogy here is clearly
with the biological need to adapt to survive. Once again,
appropriate information processing will be a clear im-
perative in this connection, b ut it must be combined with
a propensity within the firm to accept and embrace
changed conditions as a matter of course. The firm's in-
formation collection, processing, interpretation, and dis-
semination systems should be designed with strategic
objectives in mind; the systems would serve the strategy
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. iB
Internal Resource Audit for Strategists—A Proposal
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. iB
and not vice versa and consequently would be changed
when business objectives change. Performance control
feedback systems would be based upon clear and cali-
brated strategic success factor measurements; both quan-
titative and qualitative. T he adaptab le firm would need to
be willing to c hange its or ganization str ucture as its stra-
tegic objectives change and all structural and procedural
rigidities within the firm’s organization should be re-
moved. The firm should ensure that it possesses the nec-
essary professional change management skills and proc-
esses for overcoming fear, conservatism, turf-wars, and
other forms of resistance to change which would other-
wise promote strategic inertia
To meet the requirement to cover all these issues the
firm will clearly focus on the continuous design and
re-design of its strategic information systems and the
need to engineer mutability into its organizational struc-
ture and behaviour. The essential objective is to produce
an organization which has an organic relationship with
its environment and where internal processes are de-
signed to be adaptive as a matter of course rather than as
a matter of exception. Failure to do this effectively may
result in a firm which is defensive-minded and sees the
environment in adversarial terms rather than as a source
of opportunities for growth and renewal.
3. Discussion
It is not suggested that these five principles be seen as a
series of sequential considerations. Good managers will
be considering all five in parallel and contemporaneously.
The five questions will probably not in practice be sepa-
rable and the measures required in response to each will
blend with the others. Thus the implementation of the
actions required to ensure each of the five conditions will
be complex and reflexive and require considerable
thought and planning. This process itself will become a
high-level organizational competence underlying and
vitalizing the firm’s long-term competitiveness. In con-
sidering the overall contribution of the five determinants
above, we might re-state the five questions and summa-
rize as Table 2.
It is proposed here that the answers to these five ques-
tions will provide the basis for judging the likelihood of
the firm’s long-term competitiveness. Fundamentally the
proposition is that if these five questions can be answered
affirmatively the firm will have done all it could from a
rational managerial perspective to ensure it is in a com-
petitive state. Of course, whether the firm is successful or
not is ultimately for the market to decide.
One key implication of the approach to internal re-
source audit as proposed in the ‘five question’ method
above is that it may well emerge that the capacity of the
fir m for purp ose ful strat egic a ctio n may be not so much a
function of what resources are in place, but, rather, of
what barriers and constraints are absent from the firm’s
organizational arrangements. It may prove to be the case
that barriers to communication, silo structures, funda-
mental policies and procedures, embedded values, and so
on, will prove to be intangible liabilities which can viti-
ate any benefit the firm might have expected to derive
from its strategic assets. If the purpose of an IRA is to
identify the state of the firm’s internal strategic condition
and standing, the n the identi fication of t he liabilities ma y
be of as much, if not more, importance than identifying
the assets, since assets cannot be exploited if they are
negated by other internal factors. T o allow this to happen
when the internal liabilities are identifiable would be a
failure of str ategic management. Furthermore, we can say
that the purpose of an internal audit will be the identifi-
cation of internal resources and liabilities together with
an evaluation of their impact and significance. It is im-
por tant for a firm tha t this p rocess is conti nuous and rou-
tine, providing a basis for prospective planning towards
strategic objectives. It is not uncommon that the identifi-
cation of competences and capabilities frequently comes
after success has occurred and ex post facto rationaliza-
tion assigns that success on a judgmental basis to those
identified competences and capabilities, even if a true
analysis might produce a different explanation for the
success the firm has experienced. It is, therefore, impor-
tant to avoid such casual assertions of causality and a
systematic and systemic internal resource audit proce-
dure will be an important factor in this regard. Thus we
are seeking in the IRA evidence that the firm is endowed
with the capability to develop competitive advantage
through time rather than simply identifying particular
Table 2. The five key qu estions.
Fit Is th e firm in a fit condit ion to u n dertake the strategic tasks facin g it and f o cused on the lon g -term success factors within its strategy?
Alert Has th e fi rm en su red it is att un ed t o its op er at in g en viron m en t, both ext ern al a nd int ern al, and ha s it d evelop ed the n eces sa ry antennae
and information processing and learning systems?
Durable Can the firm last the pa ce over the long-term with evid ence of sta mina and the cap acity for self-renewal?
Innova tive Is the firm designed and resourced to enable it t o change its strat egic directions and methods of achieving st rategic objectives?
Adaptab l e Has the fir m structured and res o urced its elf to be creatively respons ive to environmen tal changes?
Internal Resource Audit for Strategists—A Proposal293
assets or intangible resources at a point in time. The IRA
is thus a contribution to assessing long-term organic vi-
ability rather than a mechanistic listing of currently pos-
sessed resources in the fashion of compiling a strategic
asset register. Whereas the RBV and the strategic man-
agement literature in general would appear to focus on
strategic success a s some for m of competiti ve “winning”
(or a measurable terminal outcome of some description)
the underlying view of strategic success in this article is
open-ended and recognizes that it will be different for
each firm. Rather than seeking a common definition of
strategic success the proposal here seeks a tractable ap-
proach to developing the organizational conditions and
potential for optimizing the chances of success, however
the managers of a particular firm may have defined that.
Thus the approach here has been essentially manage-
ment-focused rather than focused on general-theory and
may be seen as an attempt to view the issues from the
strategy-as-practice position. The framework of man-
agement tasks represented by the issues and challenges
within each of the five questions posed depicts a system-
atic approach to “doing the right things”, derived from
first principles of sound management practice. The sub-
stance of the managerial task will be the constant condi-
tioning of the firm in the face of a dynamic world. Con-
sequently, given the suggested inadequacy of the RBV
literature a more fruitful basis of conceiving of success-
ful organization for competitive advantage might be the
perspective of the market-process approach to manage-
ment [42,43] with its emphasis upon the acquisition and
use of information and the structuring of the firm to fa-
cilitate this and to ensure that the organizational ar-
rangements of the firm, or hierarchy, [43] optimize the
sensitivity of the firm to market co nditions and d ynamics.
In other words the market and its dynamics is internal-
ized and reflected in the organization’s structure, behav-
iour and systems.
4. Conclusions
It has not been the purpose of this article to suggest any
brand new managerial concepts or theory. What is sug-
gested, however, is that it would be helpful if a range of
well-established good practices of management tech-
nique, organizational design, and information systems
management could be bundled by managers into a co-
herent and purposeful series of distinct, proceduralized,
and accountable management responsibility areas. If this
can be achieved then the result might be a firm whose,
fitness, alertness, durability, innovativeness and adapta-
bility are a set of interlinking, overlapping and harmoni-
ous properties facilitating the optimum exploitation of
the potential for internal synergy and in consequence the
achievement of a degree of strategic success in its mar-
kets. Product and market selection are ultimately acts of
faith on the part of managers, but management, resource
acquisition and deployment, and organization are matters
of tried and tested knowledge and best-practice. Essen-
tially the purpose of managers must be to produce a sen-
tient organism which can negotiate the future and what-
ever it throws at it. This can only be done by creating an
organization which is resilient and responsive and that
consequently can achieve self-sustaining viability in an
uncertain and unplannable environment. If this can be
achieved with the method proposed herein that would
represent a move towards providing the sounder, non-
intuitive, basis of internal resource audit which Hax and
Majluf were hoping for over a quarter of a century ago.
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