Papers published on the resource-based theory (RBT) have made clear its widespread application, heterogeneity, and usefulness as a strategic approach. This paper empirically analyzes the assumptions underlying the theory from an inductive perspective. The paper differs from previous works by identifying the main trends within the theory and by noting their diffusion among the leading management-oriented journals. Three main trends are shown to coexist within RBT: the resource-based view, the knowledge-based view, and the relational view. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.