In management, the relational view by Jeffrey H. Dyer and Harbir Singh is a theory for considering networks and dyads of firms as the unit of analysis to explain relational rents, i.e., superior individual firm performance generated within that network/dyad. This view has later been extended by Lavie (2006).
Comparison to other theories
The relational view supplements existing views. While the industry structure view explains superior returns with a firm's membership in an industry with specific structural characteristics, and the resource-based view explains superior returns with firm heterogeneity, the relational view argues that idiosyncratic interfirm linkages are a source of relational rents.
Dyer and Singh define a relational rent as "a supernormal profit jointly generated in an exchange relationship that cannot be generated by either firm in isolation and can only be created through the joint idiosyncratic contributions of the specific alliance partners" (p. 662).
Sources of relational rents
Dyer and Singh propose four sources of relational rents:
- relation-specific assets,
- knowledge-sharing routines,
- complementary resources/capabilities, and
- effective governance.
- Dyer, J.H., Singh, H. (1998): The relational view: Cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 23, pp. 660–679.
- Lavie, D. (2006): The competitive advantage of interconnected firms: An extension of the resource-based view. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 31, pp. 638–658.
- Porter, M.E. (1980): Competitive strategy. New York.
- Rumelt, R.P. (1984): Towards a strategic theory of the firm. In: R.B. Lamb (Ed.): Competitive strategic management. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. pp. 556-571.
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- Barney, J.B. (1991): Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, Vol. 17, pp. 99-120.
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