In this study we revisit some fundamental questions that are increasingly at the heart of current strategic management discourse regarding the relative impact of industry and firm-specific factors on sustainable competitive advantage. We explore this issue by referring to respective assertions of two major perspectives that dominate the literature over the last two decades: the Porter framework of competitive strategy and the more recent resource-based view of the firm. A composite model is proposed which elaborates upon both perspectives' divergent causal logic with respect to the conditions relevant for firm success. Empirical findings suggest that industry and firm specific effects are both important but explain different dimensions of performance. Where industry forces influence market performance and profitability, firm assets act upon accomplishments in the market arena (i.e., market performance), and via the latter, to profitability. The paper concludes with directions for future research that will seek to integrate both content and process aspects of firm behavior. Copyright (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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