Creative Performance in Facebook Applications: Relation-specificity and Competitive Advantage

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A fundamental question in the strategy literature is how sustainable competitive advantage can be generated within one firm yet difficult to copy by another. We offer one solution by way of relation-specific performance developed in creative projects – where individuals involved have significant latitude on the intended objectives as well as their collaborators. As this latitude requires higher-level cognition, there is heightened relation-specificity in their performance –measured by how widely the final products are adopted. This relation-specificity means that performance improvement due to repeated collaborations can be difficult to attain outside of the individuals involved. This simultaneously addresses several critiques of the resource-based view of firms. We rely on a novel set of data on user-written Facebook applications to demonstrate the relation-specificity of creative performance.


Voluntary collaborations, teams, learning, creativity, performance, competitive advantage


Communication Technology and New Media | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Technology and Innovation

Research Areas

Strategy and Organisation


Strategic Management Society Annual International Conference, Miami, November 6-9, 2011

City or Country

Miami, FL, USA

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