Internal Analysis

Topic Workbook – Internal Analysis – Distinctive
Competencies, Profitability and Competitive Advantage
Contents Page
Contents Page ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Chapter Overview …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Learning Outcomes…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Chapter Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
Context Section………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Essential Reading ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6
The sources of competitive advantage ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
The concept of value chain………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11
How competitive advantage is built and maintained …………………………………………………………………………. 13
Global supply chain management, competitive advantage and technology …………………………………………. 16
Reference List…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 22
Further Study Guidance…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 24
Index……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
Chapter Overview
It is important to understanding the importance of external analysis in the formulation of strategies. Macro
environment factors as well as industrial forces can shape (at least in part), the industry structure and the
companies’ profitability with them. However, successful strategies also depend on the organisation having
the strategic capability to perform at the level required.
Blockbuster is a good example. Blockbuster did not react to the technology trend (PESTEL) of video
streaming and video-on-demand services offered by technology companies (Apple and Amazon) and cable
companies. It struggled to compete against both technologies, especially when it was late to the game.
Source: Cucco (2018)
We will focus on analysing the internal strategic capabilities of an organization from the ‘fit’ and ‘stretch’
perspectives in mind. The fit view is related to how organisations develop resources and capabilities that
better position the company in relation to external environmental forces, for instance, in term of how it
meets clearly identified market needs. The stretch view emphasises the use of special (core) competences to
develop competitive advantages and therefore the search for business opportunities on the basis of these.
Frameworks and approaches for understanding the firm’s strategic internal capabilities are presented with
the objective of providing learners with a methodological approach to identifying key strengths and
weakness impacting the performance of organisations.
This topic is divided into four sub-topics:
• The sources of competitive advantage
• The concept of the value chain
• How competitive advantage is built and maintained

Global supply chain management, competitive advantage and technology
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
Assess the sources of competitive advantage that a global firm might possess
Analyse and explore how competitive advantage is built and maintained
Critically evaluate the concept of the value chain and be able to apply it in assessment terms for
global enterprise
Evaluate approaches to global supply chain management and how technology can enable competitive
advantage.

Chapter Summary
We will discuss the following questions:
How are organisations able to identify those resources and capabilities key for the development of
competitive advantage?
How do organisations build and maintain core capabilities?
What is the Value Chain? How is it used to analyse core capabilities?
What is the role of the supply chain in creating competitive advantages? What are the risks
associated to it?
In order to understand strategic capability, it is necessary to consider organisations at different levels. At the
corporate level there is the need for organisations to balance the overall mix of resources and activities. At
the functional level, the assessment is done in relation to the quantity and quality of key resources such as
buildings, machinery and people (Johnson 2017). The central issue in many organisations is the assessment
of core capabilities/competences which are the result of undertaking different activities such as marketing,
production, design, and managing the linkage between them.
The following section will focus on the firm’s internal resources and capabilities analysis. Frameworks such
as Value Chain, VRIO, Resource-based view are presented. The link between a firm and its supply chain is
also presented which highlights ways in which the overall participants in the supply chain can create
competitive advantage. The outcomes of the application of these frameworks will help to identify the firm’s
weaknesses and strengths.

Context Section
The following section will provide the foundation for the internal analysis of competitive advantage. This is
complemented by the external analysis in which firms explore the industry environment and their
competitive position in it. The impact of the industry structure and the firm position have on its profitability
is analysed. Based on this, the strategy development is focused on how the firm fits the external
environment so that it can take advantage of opportunities and address its weakness.
Here we will look at the ways firms fit and stretch their resources and capabilities to compete successfully.
One example of stretching and leveraging on its capabilities is Amazon. Amazon is recognised by its top
delivery and customer experience capabilities. Amazon knows how to use them to expand its business:
Amazon Air. Amazon uses its logistic capabilities to create Amazon Air, a cargo airline operating
exclusively to transport Amazon packages. The expansion into cargo business is positioning Amazon
Air to move ahead with its plans for next-day standard delivery in North America, and it is nearing
critical mass to carry third-party parcel traffic (Putzge 2021).
Amazon Go and Amazon Go Grocery. Amazon Go is a chain of convenience stores in the United
States and the United Kingdom that offers checkout-free shopping experience. This is made possible
by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep
learning. Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects (via an iPhone or Android phone App)
when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.
Customer can just leave the store when the shopping is done. Later, Amazon will send a receipt and
charge the Amazon account. No lines, no checkout (Amazon.com n.d.).
Like Amazon, many other companies are using their core resources and capabilities to protect and growth
their business. The following sections will help you to explore how this is done.
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY
Essential Reading
To assist with your learning journey, it is important that you read the following to give you knowledge of this
topic:
De Wit, B. (2020) Strategy: an international perspective. 7th ed. Andover: Cengage Learning.

Chapter 4: Business level strategy:
The paradox of markets and resources
Reading: 4.2 Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage

Reading: 4.3 Dynamic capabilities: An exploration of how firms renew their resource
base

Chapter 8: Strategic change:
Reading: 8.2 Building learning organisations

 

Chapter 10: The industry context
Reading: 10.2 Blue ocean strategy

The sources of competitive advantage
Competitive advantage can be defined as those factors that allow a company to produce goods or services
better or more cheaply than its rivals. These factors allow the productive entity to generate more sales or
superior margins compared to its market rivals. (Twin 2021)
When this ability is not simultaneously being developed by any current or potential competitors and when
these other firms are unable to duplicate the benefits in the long-term, then the firm has a sustained
competitive advantage.
The source of sustained competitive advantage depends on the business model that the firm has developed
in relation to its business environment. A business model is the configuration of resources (input), activities
(throughput) and product/service offerings (output) intended to create value for customers – it is basically
the way a firm conducts its business (De Wit, 2020).
De Wit (2020) Figure 4.1
Activity system is dealt later with the introduction of the value chain concept. Now we are going to explore
the role of resources in creating the foundation for competitive advantage and strategy.
The Resource-based strategy
The Resource-based view of strategy proposes that a firm’s unique collection of resources and capabilities is
the primary influence on the selection and use of a strategy or strategies to exploit opportunities in the
external environment and the primary determinant of profitability. The fundamental assumption of the
Resource-based view is that the firm’s unique resources, capabilities, and core competencies have more
influence on selecting and using strategies than does the firm’s external environment.

Resource-based view of strategy
The Resource-based view to strategy is concerned with three key elements (Grant 1998):
Selecting a strategy that exploits the firm’s core resources and capabilities.
Ensuring that the firm’s resources are fully employed and profit potential is exploited to the limit.
Building the firm’s resource base.
During the process of auditing the resources of a firm, three categories of resources are identified:

Resources Description
Tangible resources Financial resources
Physical assets
Intangible resources Technology
Reputation/brand
Culture
Human resources Skills
Know-how
Decision making, etc.

Resources and capabilities are related to each other. Resources are the assets a company has. Capabilities
(or competencies) are the way these assets are used or deployed to perform the firm’s activities. Resources
are what a firm has, capability is what it can do (Johnson et at. 2017).
Relation between resources and capabilities (Johnson et al. 2017)
However, all resources and capabilities are not equal. In order to create competitive advantage, resources
and capabilities have to show a level of uniqueness and distinctiveness that add value to customers and
competitors find difficult to develop. For instance, a well-established brand is an intangible resource difficult
to imitate (e.g., Nike, McDonalds), while product design or understanding costumer behavior are distinctive
capabilities difficult to develop (e.g., Apple and Zara).

The VRIO test
So far it has been argued that distinctive resources and capabilities are needed to create competitive
advantage. But,
how do we assess if a resource or capability is core in the development of a sustained competitive
advantage?
The VRIO model provides four criteria by which resources and capabilities can be assessed in terms of their
ability to lay the basis for competitive advantages (Johnson et al. 2017).

Criteria Description
V – Value Resources and capabilities used to create a product or service that:
has value to customer
takes advantage of opportunities and/or neutralises threats
R – Rare Resources and capabilities possessed by one or few organisations (e.g.,
patents, prime locations)
I – Inimitability Inimitable resources and capabilities are those that competitors find difficult
and costly to imitate, obtain or substitute because:
they are complex and involve interlinkages between activities, skills,
knowledge.
it is difficult to discern the causes and effects underpinning a firm’s
advantage
they involve complex social interactions and interpersonal relations
within an organisation (i.e., culture and history).
O – Organisation The organisation is suitably arranged to support these capabilities including
appropriate processes and systems.

Source: www.managementmania.com/en/vrio-analysis – accessed 02-04-2021
An example of the applicability of the VRIO model is Starbucks. Based on this analysis, of the twenty
identified resources and capabilities, only five can be considered core capabilities sustaining Starbucks
competitive advantage.

Source: www.managementmania.com/en/vrio-analysis – accessed 02-04-2021
The concept of value chain
We have mentioned in the first section of this workbook that competitive advantages come from the way
organisations configure their business model. In particular, a successful company must have the capability to
perform the necessary value-adding activities in order to actually develop and supply the superior product
offering in an effective and efficient manner. These value-adding activities, such as R&D, HR, production,
logistics, marketing and sales, are jointly referred to as a firm’s value chain.
If organisations are to achieve competitive advantage by delivering value to customers, managers need to
understand which activities their organisation undertakes that are especially important in creating that value
and which are not. This can then be used to model the value generation of an organisation. Michael Porter’s
Value Chain model distinguishes between two type of activities:
Porter’s Value Chain (Eby 2018)
Primary activities. Activities directly concerned with the creation or delivery of a product or service.
Supporting activities. Each of the groups of primary activities is linked to support activities which
help to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of the primary activities
Different types of companies have different value chain configurations. For a typical manufacturing
company, the following table summarises the activities of the value chain (Johnson et al. 2017).

Primary activities Description
Inbound logistics Receiving, storing and distributing inputs to the product or service including materials
handling, stock control, transport, etc.
Operations Machining, packaging, assembly, testing, etc.
Outbound logistics Collect, store and distribute the product or service to customers (e.g., warehousing,
materials handling, distribution, etc.
Marketing and sales Sales administration, advertising and selling.
Service Installation, repair, training and spares.
Support activities Description
Procurement Acquisition of the various resource inputs to the primary activities.
Technology development Technologies directly related to a product (e.g., R&D, product design) or to a process
(e.g., process development) or to a particular resource (e.g., raw materials
improvements).

 

Human resource
management
Recruiting, managing, training, developing and rewarding people within the
organisation.
Infrastructure Planning, finance, quality control, information management and the structure of an
organization.

How competitive advantage is built and maintained
The Resource-based view of strategy points to resources and capabilities as the basis for competitive
advantage. Then, one way to build competitive advantage is to look at ways to create or strengthen the core
resources and capabilities of an organisation. Therefore, the firm’s strategy should provide means to protect
current core capabilities, create new ones and, at the same time, strengthen those weak capabilities critical
for the development of competitive advantages.
Gap analysis
The conventional approach to resource building is through identifying resource gaps. Gap analysis provides a
systematic approach to identify and evaluate organisational resources and capabilities. One technique is to
use a matrix where the importance of a resource or capability is plotted against the firm’s strength on that
particular capability relative to competitors (Grant 1998).
The matrix allows the company to identify resources that are superfluous, irrelevant, strong, and weak. The
matrix below shows Honda’s capabilities mapped using this approach. The strategy should be to re-direct
efforts away from the superfluous and irrelevant capabilities toward the strong and weak ones.
Source: Koumi (2013)
Use of Porter’s Value Chain
The value chain can also be used to analyse core resources and capabilities and therefore competitive
advantage. Porter’s Generic Strategies describe how companies use competitive advantages to position their
organisations as cost leaders and/or differentiation. Primary activities within the Value Chain are those
activities that actually allow companies to do that. By looking at ways to reduce the cost or to increase the
value of primary activities, companies can strengthen their key resources and capabilities.
The following steps show the process to analyses those factors driving a firm’s cost:
Identify the set of value-added activities (Primary activities)
Assess the relative importance of activity costs internally including cost drivers
Assess the relative importance of activities externally against competitors
Identify opportunities for cost reduction on those critical activities (e.g., remove tasks, improve
efficiency by automate and re-engineer processes)
Review Support activities to find opportunities for cost reduction.
A similar approach can be used for differentiation:
Identify the set of value-added activities (Primary activities)
Assess the relative importance of activity value to customers
Assess the relative importance of activities externally against competitors
Identify opportunities for value improvement on those critical activities (e.g., innovation, re-design)
Protecting and sustaining competitive advantage
Sustainability in competitive advantage is achieved when advantage resists erosion by competitors (Porter,
1985). However, how long a competitive advantage lasts for depends on how effective the process of
imitation of a strategy by rivals is. For a competitive advantage to be sustained over time requires the
existence of barriers to imitation, also known as isolation mechanisms (Rumelt, 1984). There are four
conditions for a firm to successfully imitate a strategy. Each one of them have forms of isolating mechanism
or barriers against imitation (Grant 1998):

Condition for Imitation Barrier or isolation
mechanism
Barrier description
Able to identify rival’s
competitive advantage
Obscuring competitive
advantage
Avoid the disclosure of key company
information
There must be an
incentive to invest in
imitation
Deterrence and preemption
actions
Persuade rivals that imitation will be
unprofitable:
Proliferation of product varieties
opportunities reduce opportunities
for establishing a market niche
Large investment in production
capacity ahead of the growth of
market demand
Patent proliferation limits rivals’
technical opportunities

 

Able to diagnose the
features of its rival’s
strategy that support
the competitive
advantage
“Causal Ambiguity” and
“Uncertain Imitability”
The more complex and
multidimensional the competitive
advantage is, the more difficult it is to
imitate
The more ambiguity there is in the
diagnostic of a competitive
advantage, the more uncertain the
imitation is.
Able to acquire the
resources and
capabilities
underpinning the
competitor’s advantage
Transaction cost to transfer
capability
Resources and capabilities can be acquired by
buying or building them.
For buying, the transaction cost of acquisition
is high for highly differentiated resources.
Where capabilities are based on
organisational routines and knowledge, the
coordination and learning required to
replicate them efficiently can take
considerable time.

Nowadays, technology and social disruptions has made the creation of imitation barriers a very difficult task.
The barriers to imitation mentioned in the above table work in mature competitive sectors, what the Blue
Ocean strategy calls Red Oceans. However, following the line of thought of Blue Oceans strategy formation,
companies can make competition irrelevant by changing the rules of the game and create Blue Oceans for
themselves.
We see constantly how well-established companies in mature industries are disrupted by new business
models changing social norms and emerging technologies. BlackBerry, Kodak and Blockbuster, at one point,
all had competitive advantages. Thomas Cook Travel Group, a 178-year-old company, did too. These
companies are no longer with us (Hyken, 2021). Blockbuster, once very successful and with big competitive
advantages, ignored the ever-changing landscape in which it operated. Innovation, competition and easier
ways of getting movies (from a little competitor known as Netflix) put them out of business. Now Netflix, still
a leader, faces tough competition from Amazon’s Prime Video, Hulu, AppleTV and more. How long Netflix
can continue?
The lesson is that competitive advantage does not last for as long as it used to. Companies need to create
competitive advantages today, then not be complacent and start looking for the next ones … and the next
ones after that.

Global supply chain management, competitive advantage and technology
Competing through the Supply Chain
One of the characteristics of most industries is that all value activities are undertaken by several firms. There
is a degree of specialisation of the role each firm has on the process of creation of a product or service, from
product design through its delivery to the final customer. This wider value system implies that it is not
sufficient to look at an internal organisation for value creating activities (Porter, 1985).
Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link – and it’s the same with a supply chain. Today supply chains
are more complex value systems, made of numerous multi-dimensional connections with profound interdependencies.
Value system (Johnson 2017, p. 107)
Value, and therefore competitive advantages, can occur in any part of the supply chain as efficient
management of the supply chain leads to cost savings while synergies between the components of the
supply chain leads to greater profitability for the firms. For many businesses – particularly those in high tech,
consumer electronics, pharmaceutical and fresh produce, time to market and effective distribution channels
are critical success factors, and therefore supply chain management competencies and capabilities are what
drive competitive advantage.
Endorsed by the Association for Supply Chain Management, the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR)
model is a framework widely used to describe and analyse the business activities associated with all phases
of satisfying a customer’s demand. The SCOR model helps organisations to assess how advanced or mature
their supply chain process are and how well it aligns with business goals and strategies. The SCOR model
provides five strategic metrics against which supply chains are evaluated. These metrics provide the basis to
understand the source of the supply chain competitiveness.

Source: APICS (2017)
Supply chain management is an integral part of most businesses and is essential to company success and
customer satisfaction. The following table summarises the supply chain areas where these five factors
(reliability, responsiveness, agility, cost and assets) provide the basis for companies to compete in today fastmoving business environment (CSCMP n. d.).

Differentiation strategy: Boost Customer Service
Right products delivered Correct product assortment and quantity are delivered
Products available at the right
location
Customer satisfaction diminishes if an auto repair shop does not have
the necessary parts in stock and can’t fix your car for an extra day or
two
Right delivery time Customer satisfaction diminishes if pizza delivery is two hours late or
Christmas presents are delivered on December 26
Right after sale support Customer satisfaction diminishes when a home boiler stops operating in
the winter and repairs can’t be made for days
Cost leadership Reduce Operating Costs
Decrease purchasing cost Retailers depend on supply chains to quickly deliver expensive products
to avoid holding costly inventories in stores any longer than necessary.
For example, electronics stores require fast delivery of 60” flat-panel
plasma HDTVs to avoid high inventory costs.
Decrease production cost Manufacturers depend on supply chains to reliably deliver materials to
assembly plants to avoid material shortages that would shut down
production. For example, an unexpected parts shipment delay that
causes an auto assembly plant shutdown can cost $20,000 per minute
and millions of dollars per day in lost wages.
Decrease total supply chain cost Efficient supply chains enable a firm to be more competitive in the
marketplace. For example, Dell’s revolutionary computer supply chain
approach involved making each computer based on a specific customer
order, then shipping the computer directly to the customer, avoiding
large computer inventories sitting in warehouses and retail stores which
could become technologically obsolete as computer technology changes
rapidly.

How technology is creating competitive advantages in the supply chain
In the same way that organisations are experiencing technology disruptions, supply chains are also affected
by technology. Facing globalisation, increased product complexity, and heightened customer demands,
companies are taking on advanced technologies to transform their supply chains from a pure operations hub
into the epicenter of business innovation.
There are many technologies being implemented in the supply chain. The following paragraphs highlight five
of the supply chain technologies that deliver competitive advantage (Stackpole 2020):
IoT (Internet of Things): Using sensors and ever-improving internet connectivity, forward-thinking
companies are collecting data at every checkpoint, from the status of raw materials flow to the
condition and location of finished goods. By tracking location, weather conditions, environmental
status, traffic patterns, and more, suppliers can leverage AI and advanced analytics to determine, for
example, if a shipment of refrigerated goods is at risk for equipment failure. Armed with such
knowledge, suppliers can automatically reroute delivery to a closer distribution center or proactively
dispatch a repair crew to prevent spoilage. The ability to monitor assets throughout the logistics
journey also helps eliminate misplaced inventory and lost shipments, further reducing risk and
revenue loss.
Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics help drive automation and
deliver insights that promote efficiencies — making on-the-fly route changes to accelerate product
delivery, for example, or swapping out materials to take advantage of better pricing or availability.
Consider the logistics nightmare of coming up with a transportation plan for thousands of product
SKUs needing to ship out to hundreds of warehouses and distribution centers scattered across the
globe. Using machine learning to optimize the SKU data, companies can come up with a master
shipping plan that’s truly optimized.
3D printing allows firms to localise production of goods closer to customers, allowing for faster
turnaround, reduced transportation costs, and greater personalisation. Additive manufacturing is
also opening doors to easy production of spare parts, enabling companies to slash inventory, cut
costs, and create supplementary revenue streams. The ability for on-demand production of parts,
and in some cases, full product, has great appeal to lots of players in the supply chain, from OEMs to
dealers. Moreover, with advances in materials, less expensive hardware, and new AI-driven software
design tools, companies can produce fully functional parts, not just prototypes, that are lighter with
less material waste than was possible with traditional technologies.
Because blockchain creates an immutable record of transactions, the technology is well situated to
track the provenance of goods and establish trust in shared supplier information, especially when
the parties have competing agendas and don’t particularly engender trust. As a result, blockchain’s
biggest potential is for facilitating track-and-trace applications that help companies document the
chain of custody of goods. Doing so can prevent leakage, help identify counterfeit items and fraud,
pinpoint at-risk suppliers, demonstrate that regulatory requirements are being met, and create
transparency around sourcing.
Robots have long played a role in the supply chain, used to move goods and materials throughout a
warehouse, during transport, and as part of the fulfillment process. But as AI technologies push

robots to higher levels of sophistication, machines will be assigned many manual tasks now owned
by humans, from picking and packing orders to automating heavy loading tasks.
Supply chain risks
The reward of an efficient supply chain does not come without risks. Risks can be categorised as financial
risks, operational risks, environmental risks and ethical risks.
Financial risks: financial and operational risks are well documented and form part of the risk register of
corporate organisations. Financial risks include penalty payments for late delivery, cost impact from missing
deadlines, working capital issues from supply chain disruption, escalating world-wide patterns of new tariff
imposition, trade disputes, changes in consumer patterns leading to revenue risk, impact on financial
markets/interest rates.
Operational risk: operational risk can be associated to demand forecasting errors, fluctuations in supply,
longer lead times, disruptions in dataflow, lack of responsiveness in channel partners, raw material
shortages, cyber-attacks.
Environmental risks: environmental risks are expected to increase in the next five years. The Global Supply
Chain Report 2020 (CDP, 2021) shows that suppliers expect financial impacts of US$1.26 trillion from
environmental risks in the next 5 years due to climate change, deforestation and water insecurity. Many
environmental risks highlighted by suppliers will result in cost increases – if passed on, corporate buyers
could face a cost hike of US$120 billion.
Environmental risk exposure per sector (CDP 2021)
Ethical risks: In 2013, the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh, which claimed 1130 lives
and injured thousands more, sent shock waves through the manufacturing industry and beyond. Rana Plaza
marked a historic failure of the textile and garment supply chain industry’s ability to secure the safety of
workers. The garment and footwear industries are not the only ones facing such challenges. Supply and

distribution chains working across countries are increasingly complex, which makes it difficult to control
what impact – good or bad – they are having on people and the planet (OECD n.d.).
Organisations around the world are making efforts to improve their supply chains by addressing ethical risks
that expand across a wide range of countries. According to the research carried out by the Supply Chain
Management Review magazine and APICS, workplace discrimination, labor conditions and fighting
corruption are at the top of the agenda in corporate organisations (APICS 2018).
APICS The Ethical Supply Chain report. Source SCMR (2018)
As the degrees of separation between the consumer, the manufacturer and the supplier continue to
disappear, growing consumer and investor interest in responsible production and sustainability is on the
rise. Consumers are demanding that companies be more transparent about the way they do business and
how they contribute to creating a sustainable future (OECD n.d.)

The final step: identify threats and opportunities
Undertaking internal analysis can raise awareness of areas within the organisation that represent risks to
ongoing profitability so that actions to improve can be taken. It also highlights key areas which firms can
leverage to create or exploit business opportunities for the future.
The last step in the internal analysis is to translate the internal resources and capabilities analysis results to
the organisation-specific Strengths and Weakness. The outcomes from the Value Chain, VRIO and Resourcebased view frameworks allows managers to identifying the SW of the SWOT tool:
Strengths are things (e.g., people, resources, systems, and procedures) that an organization excels at
and in a way that distinguishes it from its competitors.
Weaknesses stop an organisation from performing at its optimum level. They are areas where the
business needs to improve to remain competitive (e.g., a weak brand, higher-than-average staff
turnover, high levels of debt, an inadequate supply chain, or lack of capital).

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SCMR – Supply Chain Management Review (2018). The Ethical Supply Chain report. Accessed 06-04-2021.
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Further Study Guidance
You need to do your own research to apply the concepts presented above to the assessment task for this
topic.
In addition, see below further readings, case studies and articles which will help you to have a deeper
knowledge of this topic.
List of Additional Resources (also detailed in the Additional Reading and
Videos):
Subtopic 1: Sources of competitive advantage for global firms
Chatzoglou P, Chatzoudes D, Sarigiannidis L, Theriou G (2018); The role of firm-specific factors in the
strategy-performance relationship: Revisiting the resource-based view of the firm and the VRIO framework;
Management Research Review, 2018, Vol. 41, Issue 1, pp. 46-73
El Shafeey T, Trott P; (2014) Resource-based competition: three schools of thought and thirteen criticisms;
European Business Review, 2014, Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. 122-148.
Yang, L, Liting L (2015) Evaluating and developing resource-based operations strategy for competitive
advantage: an exploratory study of Finnish high-tech manufacturing industries;
International Journal of Production Research, 00207543, Feb2015, Vol. 53, Issue 4
Subtopic 2: The Value Chain
Betzler, D, Leuschen, L (2020); Digitised value chains in the creative industries: Is there a convergence of
Swiss film and game production? Creative Industries Journal. Jul2020, p1-19
Parente- Laverde A M (2020) Value Chain and Economic Development: the Case of the Colombian Coffee
Industry; Organizations & Markets in Emerging Economies. 2020, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p173-188
Thangavelu S M (2019) Global Supply Chain in Singapore’s Services Sector Retail Value Chain and
Productivity Improvements; Journal of Southeast Asian Economies. Aug2019, Vol. 36 Issue 2, p244-255
Subtopic 3: Building and Maintaining Competitive Advantage
Kaleka A, Morgan N A (2017) Which Competitive Advantage(s)? Competitive Advantage-Market Performance
Relationships in International Markets; Journal of International Marketing. Oct2017, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p25-49.

Kozielski R, Sarna N (2020) The Role of Technology in Building a Competitive Advantage – Programmatic
Buying and Its Impact on the Competitiveness of an Organization; Folia Oeconomica Stetinensia. 2020, Vol.
20 Issue 2, p216-229.
Qiu L, Jie X, Wang Y, Zhao M (2020) Green product innovation, green dynamic capability, and competitive
advantage: Evidence from Chinese manufacturing enterprises; Corporate Social Responsibility &
Environmental Management. Jan2020, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p146-165.
Yaprakli T S, Absalan A, Unalan M (2020) The Relationship Between Country Branding Components and
Competitive Advantage; Journal of Management & Economics. 2020, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p169-181.
Subtopic 4: Global Supply Management, Technology & Competitive Advantage
Ling L (2013) Technology designed to combat fakes in the global supply chain; Business Horizons March-April
2013 56(2):167-177.
Nandi M L, Nandi S, Moya H, Kaynak H (2020), Blockchain technology-enabled supply chain systems and
supply chain performance: a resource-based view; Supply Chain Management: An International Journal,
2020, Vol. 25, Issue 6, pp. 841-862.
Omar A, Davis-Sramek B, Myers M B, Mentzer J T (2012) A Global Analysis of Orientation, Coordination, and
Flexibility in Supply Chains. Journal of Business Logistics. Jun2012, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p128-144.
Case Studies
These are case studies which will give you a broad understanding of how some of the concepts presented in
this topic are applied in the real world.
McMorrow R, Shepherd C (2021) Xiaomi unveils plan to make electric cars; Financial Times –
https://www.ft.com/content/375faff8-6fd0-4d0c-b2b7-b1c13763786f – accessed 10/4/21
Powell J (2020) Tesla’s coronavirus ‘competitive advantage’; Financial Times –
https://www.ft.com/content/7457a168-b595-4c60-8114-abaaf3f6a2b4 – accessed 10/4/21
Tighe C (2020) How a UK robotics group turned the crisis to its advantage; Financial Times –
https://www.ft.com/content/027b8284-7ccf-450f-b2e9-46017aa03760 – accessed 10/4/21
Waters R (2020) Apple chips away at a new strategy for computing; Financial Times –
https://www.ft.com/content/2efc9861-3d07-4e33-8ca7-db1654373fcd – accessed 10/4/21
Videos
Gupta A (2019) Developing a Competitive Strategy https://www.linkedin.com/learning/developing-acompetitive-strategy/how-do-you-stack-up-against-your-competitors?u=56741521 – accessed 10/4/21
(1 hour, 4 min)

Index
A
Amazon, 5
B
Blue Oceans, 13
Blockbuster, 2
Business model, 7
C
Capabilities, 8
E
Environmental risk, 16
Ethical risk, 16
F
Financial risk, 15
G
Gap analysis, 11
M
Milestones p10,21
Model of Change p19
N
Netflix, 2
O
Operational risk, 16
P
Primary activities, 11
Protecting competitive advantage, 13
R
Resource type, 8
Resource-based view, 7
Risk in the supply chain, 15
S
Starbucks, 10
SCOR model, 14
Supply chain, 14
Support activities, 11
SWOT, 18
V
Value chain, 11, 12
Value system, 14
VRIO model, 9