Image for Research Seminar: Small Forces and Large Firms: Foundations of the RBV


Monday, April 8, 2013


Professor Wernerfelt has been a thought leader on various strategic management, economics, marketing, and management science topics for decades. His work on the resource-based view has set the tone for numerous studies and advances across many business fields (see Wernerfelt 1984, Strategic Management Journal). For this invited research presentation, Wernerfelt will focus on issues that he presented at the Copenhagen Business School recently when they awarded him an honorary doctorate. Specifically, his presentation titled “Small Forces and Large Firms: Foundations of the RBV” is a synthesis of several papers he has written since the publication of “A Resource-based View of the Firm” (Wernerfelt, 1984). The starting point is a very small force: The reduction in bargaining costs when several bargains are pooled into one. He shows that one can construct a theory of the firm based on this force and defend the theory by arguing that it makes predictions consistent with several stylized facts. In addition, the theory suggests that firms should decide on their strategy and scope based on excess capacity of productive resources – exactly like the RBV. More on Birger Wernerfelt can be found at


Room N336, Eli Broad College of Business