Co-alignment in the Resource-Performance Relationship: Strategy as a Mediator
(with Linda F. Edelman and Tatiana Manolova)
Small firms face unique challenges in crafting strategies that best utilize their resource bases. Research shows strategies that combine with resources lead to performance. The entrepreneurship literature finds the contingent effects, or moderating roles, of strategy and external factors, but the relationship between firm strategy and internal factors, such as resources, is less well studied. Based on the contention that the quality of a firm's strategy cannot be judged independently of the resources upon which it is based, we examine the relationship between firm resources, strategies, and performance in a cross-section of 192 small firms. Using a structural equation analysis, we examine the mediating role of firm strategies as they lead to firm performance in small firms operating in traditional industries. Our findings demonstrate that neither resources nor strategies alone explain firm performance, but instead, small firms fit their strategies to their resource profiles. Human and organizational resources in combination with a strategy of quality/customer service enhance firm performance.