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The factors of sustained competitive advantage Report (Assessment)

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Updated: May 4th, 2019

As it would be observed, the idea of getting informed about sources and elements of sustained competitive advantage has transformed into a key area of study and research in modern strategic management. In this article, Barney has examined the relationship between firm resources and sustained competitive advantage in business.

Here, the writer has described a number of common indicators that can be used to show the ability of firm resources to guarantee sustained advantage. These indicators would include imitability, substitutability, rareness, and value. Other significant aspects and approaches that are applied to the objective of facilitating sustained competitive advantage are also discussed in the article.

For the purpose of this article, the writer has tried to explain the need and the importance of making use of the many factors surrounding the idea of sustained competitive advantage, as it is utilised by modern businesses in their constant struggle to stay ahead in the competitive business world.

First of all, the article has emphasized on the use of the single framework of SWOT analysis in gaining competitive advantages in business. The provided summary of the framework gives a clear guideline on how modern businesses can obtain competitive advantages through the implementation of the SWOT analysis approach. Through this strategic approach, businesses are able to see the many benefits associated with the idea of SWOT analysis in the assessment of business value and potential.

As it has been indicated in the article, this is whereby firms could apply the strengths on their side to gain full advantage of the identified potential opportunities, while at the same time trying to neutralize the threats from external bodies and getting rid of any form of weakness observed from within. Apple Company, which has succeeded in setting the pace with technology through innovation, is a good example of how firms can utilise the concept of SWOT analysis to stay ahead of competitors.

According to Barney (1991), firm resources would entail things such as capabilities, assets, information, attributes, organizational processes, and knowledge of a firm, among other key aspects that are controlled by a business and which main aim is to help the business implement strategic approaches that finally see its effectiveness and efficiency in the market improve.

As it will be observed, various authors and scholars have proposed numerous firm attributes that can help firms come up with strategies aimed at creating value in business. The main firm resources or attributes discussed in this article are divided into three main categories which include the human capital resources, resources attached to physical capital, and the resources linked to organisational capital.

Human capital resources would consist of a number of aspects that can be linked to the general human personnel operating in the firm. Some of these aspects include things such as the experience of employees, training activities, workers intelligence, judgment, interpersonal relationships in the workplace, and the insight of individual employees and supervisors or other members of the firm’s management team.

The physical capital resources will include things such as the physical technology of firms, work or office equipment, and firms’ access to raw materials, among other relevant factors. The final category is made up of the organizational capital resources, which consist of a firm’s key operational and structural elements.

Some of the major segments in this category are things such as the formal reporting structure of firms, the key controlling systems, and the informal relationships that exist between different departments within the firm. Various firms would tend to have different approaches to sustainable competitive advantage, depending on their firm structures which may be different.

It would be necessary for us to understand the meaning of the terms competitive advantage and sustained competitive advantage as they have been used in this article, In order to be able to understand the purpose of this discussion.

Barney observes the competitive advantage of a firm to be the approach through which firms come up with a strategy aimed at creating value in business, which is totally different from those applied by their current competitors in the market.

Facebook.com is a good example of a company having a strong competitive advantage, considering the fact that it enjoys the highest number of users across the world, compared to its many competitors in the transformative social media industry.

Sustained competitive advantage refers to a much secure competitive advantage that a firm has maintained over its rivals for an extended period of time (Oliver, 1997). In other words, this is the long-term advantage of a firm which has already proved to be unsurpassable by the competitors.

Microsoft Corporation has embraced the ability of flexibility, to become the biggest software company of all times and this is arguably its biggest source of sustained competitive advantage in the market. As it is evident in this article, a firm’s competitive advantage is likely to be determined and facilitated by its resources, among other crucial aspects.


Bayne, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120.

Oliver, C. (1997). Sustainable competitive advantage: Combining institutional and resource-based views. Strategic Management Journal, 18(9), 697-713.

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