The pursuit of competitive advantage often inspired leaders to imitate the strategies of successful companies. Interestingly, sources of competitive advantage at different points in time are considered accurate to factors. Henry Ford to focus on the focus has been touted as the key to success next to General Motors’ product line width. IBM’s vertical integration was considered unassailable source of competitive advantage a generation ago, today every adm … Read more »

The pursuit of competitive advantage often inspired leaders to imitate the strategies of successful companies. Interestingly, sources of competitive advantage at different points in time are considered accurate to factors. Henry Ford to focus on the focus has been touted as the key to success next to General Motors’ product line width. IBM’s vertical integration was considered unassailable source of competitive advantage a generation ago, today everyone admired the outsourcing flexibility inherent in the nonintegrated business models of Cisco Systems and Dell Computer. If history is a guide, give the practices and business models to take advantage of today’s most successful companies, these benefits only by special factors at work under certain conditions at a particular time. Harvard Business School Clayton Christensen, one of the leading thinkers on disruptive technologies, warnings Manager of the imperative of understanding the context that supports a certain competitive advantages. He explains why, for example, pharmaceutical company currently focused on increasing mergers they moved precisely in exactly the wrong direction at the wrong time. He blames their strategists (and investment bankers) for not thinking deeply about cause and effect in terms of competitive advantage. He also notes that the existence of competitive advantage sets in motion creative innovations, as competitors strive to level the playing field, because the advantage to dissipate. This does not mean the search for competitive advantage is futile. Rather, he suggests that successful strategists a deep understanding of the processes of competition and progress and the factors that need to maintain support every advantage. Only then will they be able to see when old advantages are willing to disappear, and how new advantages can be built in its place.
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from
Clayton M. Christensen,
Goran Carstedt
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
7 pages.
Release date: 01 December, 2001. Prod #: SMR062-PDF-ENG
Past and Future of Competitive Advantage HBR case solution