"Sources of competitive advantage rarely yield added value that can be sustained over time."
The following essay is going to attempt to assess the above proposition and try to find if it is possible to add value continually over a period of time. I will first discuss what competitive advantage is and what it means to a firm. Then I will explain the sources of competitive advantage and how the distinctive capabilities of a firm allow it to sustain added value. The discussion is based on a number of viewpoints from different authors who will be clearly indicated and acknowledged. I begin with explaining what competitive advantage is.
So, what is Competitive Advantage? In a number of industries, the average performance of the industry is usually no better than the average performance of industries' as a whole. However particular firms or groups of firms manage to do considerably better than average. In this case, the high performing firm or sub-group has something special and difficult to imitate to offer which allows it to outperform it's rivals. Porter (1985) refers to such special assets as the firm's competitive advantage. "A firm's competitive advantage are those characteristics that allow it to do well even in the face of mediocre industry wide performance and free entry into the industry as a whole."
The firm has certain capabilities which allow it to be different from the other firms in the industry. It has certain distinctive capabilities which cannot be reproduced by competitors. However, it is not enough for that characteristic to be distinctive. It is also necessary for it to be sustainable over a period of time. As Oster (1994) points out, " The key success factors in an industry are those assets that allow a firm to outperform it's rivals for a sustained period of time."
Competitive advantages are always relative. For example, Sainsbury's has a very slight competitive advantage over Tesco. These firms serve similar
Bibliography: for essay an related case study. Firm Resources & Sustained Competitive Advantage, 1991 J. Barney Foundations Of Corporate Success, 1995 J. Kay Modern Competitive Analysis, 1994 S.M. Oster Competitive Advantage, 1985 Micheal Porter Other sources: Exploring Corporate Strategy, 1989 G. Johnson & K. Scholes IBM website on the Internet, http:/www.ibm.com Newspaper articles and CD ROM Combined Word Count: 2500 words