Organisational slack resources, the definitions and consequences for business flexibility and performance : an empirical investigation

  • P.S. Adkins

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Slack resources are recognised to be those spare capabilities and assets of the organisation that are variable reclaimable for re-deployment. They represent under utilised and hidden spare energies within a company that may be recaptured and employed for a variety of tasks. However their positive contribution to organisational success has been a contentious claim that has provoked the intuitive argument that slack resources are inefficiency and are to be eradicated. The counter argument has been that very efficient organisations are inflexible and therefore incapable of being responsive to an increasingly dynamic environment. Therefore this work compares and contrasts three distinctive industries in a holistic manner and maps the impact of environmental flux on the firm, its subsequent disruptive ripples through the organisation and its absorption by slack resources. Through this process it is demonstrated that slack resources do positively contribute to organisational performance and subsequently the ability of slack to promote sustained competitive advantage is also identified. The major findings of this work are listed. 1. This work has developed and perfected a new research model that aids the investigation of the internal behaviours and consequences of Slack Resources. 2. Supported by argument a new variable of Soft Slack was developed. Its validity was demonstrated in its ability to capture the contribution of intangible assets, such as education, experience, spare management time and further training, to the extant levels of Organisational Hard Slack resources. 3. The validity of Soft Slack was further supported when its contribution to organisational Flexibility was also established. 4. The original argument that Slack Resources enhance organisational Performance has been further developed. It is now evidenced that Slack Resources facilitate Organisational Flexibility and by this process enhances Organisational Performance.
Date of Award2005
Original languageEnglish


  • Organisational slack resources
  • business flexibility and performance

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