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Understanding the evolution of flexible supply chain in the business-to-business sector: a resource-based theory perspective

Tiwari, Manisha; Bryde, David J.; Stavropoulou, Foteini; Malhotra, Gunjan


David J. Bryde

Foteini Stavropoulou

Gunjan Malhotra


Resource-based theory (RBT) is one of the theoretical lenses that have been used extensively to understand a firm’s competitive advantage by utilizing strategic resources and capabilities. When applied to Business-to-Business (B2B) supply chains, RBT emphasizes the importance of having a flexible and adaptable supply chain that can leverage a company’s internal strengths to meet customer needs effectively. By focusing on the resources specific to a particular company, a flexible B2B supply chain can be designed to meet customer demand efficiently and cost-effectively in a rapidly changing marketplace. Despite RBT's popularity as a theoretical lens, it has also faced criticism. To comprehensively understand these critiques and discover alternative views, we conducted a thorough analysis of relevant literature in the field of supply chain management. Although some of the criticisms were valid, we determined that the core message of RBT remains intact. However, we also acknowledge that a biased neoclassical economic rationality has constrained the RBT community. To overcome these limitations, the authors recommend further research into flexible B2B supply chains to uncover new opportunities for improvement.


Tiwari, M., Bryde, D. J., Stavropoulou, F., & Malhotra, G. (in press). Understanding the evolution of flexible supply chain in the business-to-business sector: a resource-based theory perspective. International studies of management & organization,

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Feb 23, 2024
Online Publication Date Mar 15, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 10, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 11, 2024
Journal International Studies of Management and Organization
Print ISSN 0020-8825
Electronic ISSN 1558-0911
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords B2B supply chain; Contingency theory; Institutional theory; Operations management; Resource based theory (RBT); Stakeholder theory; Supply chain management
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Copyright Statement
© 2024 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript
in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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