Towards evidence-based management of external resources: developing design propositions and future research avenues through research synthesis
Journal article, 2017

The general question of how best to access and leverage resources that reside outside the boundaries of the focal firm has become increasingly important for companies during the last decennia, and scholars across management disciplines have responded with increasing research efforts. However, managers still seldom base their decisions on scientific evidence. Research on managing external resources is carried out in disciplinary silos and it is extremely difficult for managers to make sense of the vast amount of scientific studies. The success story of medicine as the first domain to widely adopt evidence-based practices has been an exemplar for other disciplines such as management to address the prevailing research-practice gap. Through a systematic review and synthesis of 601 articles in six academic journals representing three management disciplines we develop design propositions for supporting evidence-based management of external resources in firms. Our analysis reveals external resource management (ERM) research to be concentrated on six distinct, yet interrelated, themes. We adopt the CIMO-logic (Context, Intervention, Mechanism, Outcomes) for developing the set of design propositions within each of the research themes. A key scientific contribution is our identification of future research opportunities and directions to advance science in the field of ERM.

supply chains

research synthesis



Evidence-based management


Kari Tanskanen

Aalto University

Ahola Tuomas

Tampere University of Technology

Anna Aminoff

Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)

Bragge Johanna

Aalto University

Riikka Kaipia

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics

Katri Kauppi

Aalto University

Research Policy

0048-7333 (ISSN)

Vol. 46 6 1087-1105

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology


Driving Forces

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Subject Categories

Economics and Business



More information

Latest update