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Revisiting the concept of competitive advantage Problems and fallacies arising from its conceptualization

Revisiting the concept of competitive advantage Problems and fallacies arising from its... Purpose – Although competitive advantage is the cornerstone concept in strategic management it still remains a poorly defined and operationalized construct. The purpose of this paper is to revisit the concept of competitive advantage, to identify the problems that stem from its current conceptualization from the majority of the literature. Design/methodology/approach – The paper undertakes an extensive literature review, audit of logical inference, syllogistic reasoning and Bayesian expressions in order to examine the problems associated with the current conceptualizations of competitive advantage. Findings – Several drawbacks and fallacies relating to current conceptualizations of competitive advantage were identified that create an urgent need for a more robust definition which could better serve the needs of both empirical research and management practice. Research limitations/implications – The authors by no means claim that the literature review undertaken in this paper on the concept of competitive advantage and on the problems derived from its conceptualization was exhaustive or absolute. Rather, this paper constitutes an attempt to stimulate efforts and provide directions on the further conceptual development of competitive advantage. Practical implications – The findings allow practising managers to not necessarily associate competitive advantage with its sources and with the determinants of superior performance. Originality/value – The findings contribute to the evolution of the strategic management field by identifying, categorizing and mapping potential problems, drawbacks and fallacies, associated with the conceptualization of competitive advantage as currently delineated in the literature, and by suggesting some criteria for the development of a conceptually more robust definition. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Strategy and Management Emerald Publishing

Revisiting the concept of competitive advantage Problems and fallacies arising from its conceptualization

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1755-425X
DOI
10.1108/17554251311296567
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Although competitive advantage is the cornerstone concept in strategic management it still remains a poorly defined and operationalized construct. The purpose of this paper is to revisit the concept of competitive advantage, to identify the problems that stem from its current conceptualization from the majority of the literature. Design/methodology/approach – The paper undertakes an extensive literature review, audit of logical inference, syllogistic reasoning and Bayesian expressions in order to examine the problems associated with the current conceptualizations of competitive advantage. Findings – Several drawbacks and fallacies relating to current conceptualizations of competitive advantage were identified that create an urgent need for a more robust definition which could better serve the needs of both empirical research and management practice. Research limitations/implications – The authors by no means claim that the literature review undertaken in this paper on the concept of competitive advantage and on the problems derived from its conceptualization was exhaustive or absolute. Rather, this paper constitutes an attempt to stimulate efforts and provide directions on the further conceptual development of competitive advantage. Practical implications – The findings allow practising managers to not necessarily associate competitive advantage with its sources and with the determinants of superior performance. Originality/value – The findings contribute to the evolution of the strategic management field by identifying, categorizing and mapping potential problems, drawbacks and fallacies, associated with the conceptualization of competitive advantage as currently delineated in the literature, and by suggesting some criteria for the development of a conceptually more robust definition.

Journal

Journal of Strategy and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 15, 2013

Keywords: Competitive advantage; Strategic management; Superior performance; Conceptualization of competitive advantage; Definitional problem; Tautology problem; Dependent variable problem

References