Rahim K. Jassim (*) Abstract In today’s fast-paced economy competition is an issue of services and products. Much attention has been directed to a better service and the best product and how this can be achieved through utilising the human resources. This research paper identifies the competitive advantage concepts and models, competitive strategies and the main human resource practices that have a significant impact on the employee’s performance. Understanding sources of competitive advantage has become a major area of research in the field of strategic management. Therefore this research paper also develops an analytical framework for strategic management in order to initiate/formulate and implements the strategic plans successfully. Three questions regarding identifying, defending and achieving competitive advantage through the employees have been raised and answered. Finally a summary of practical criteria of best practice for competitive advantage is presented and a general discussion and recommendations have been drawn. Keywords: Competitive advantage, HRM, Strategic Management, Selection, Performance, Reward. Introduction The firm is regarded as a cohesive organism, which learns to adopt or find better ways of doing things essentially in response to its environment (Child 1997: 67). The question then is what really the firm should do to maintain or to optimise its situation in its environment? Should it focus on its financial situation, it’s technology, or it’s human resources?. To answer this question we should at first see what other researchers have concluded. Barney 1991 suggests that, in order for a resource to qualify as a source of sustained competitive advantage, the resource must add value to the firm, it must be rare, it must be inimitable and it must be non-substitutable. Wright, et al 1994 have shown that human resources meet Barney’s criteria for being a source of sustainable competitive advantage.... [continues]
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