Strategy & International Business

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3H Strategy & International Business 2001-2002

Session 8 – Positioning & RBAs compared


The past two Sessions have outlined a series of models and frameworks that provide insights into the external environment and the strategic capabilities possessed by organisations. Many of these models and frameworks have developed as a consequence of a twenty-year debate over the way in which organisations seek to develop sustainable competitive advantage.

In broad terms, two distinct approaches have emerged from the debate about this central issue within strategy content: the positioning approach and the resource-based approach (or more accurately, approaches). Much of the debate has concentrated upon two key questions:
• Is competitive advantage achieved by concentrating on either low cost or differentiation or should a strategy seek to exploit both low cost and differentiation?
• Does an organisation develop strategy to respond to or shape the environment in which it exists – is strategy outside-in or inside-out?

As the primary purpose of the tools of strategic analysis is to help organisations to develop and implement successful strategies, then an understanding of the underlying context in which these models and frameworks can be applied is an important requirement. By exploring the development of these competing approaches to competitive advantage and the debate between them, this Session sets out to provide this contextual understanding.

Your Objectives

By the end of this session you should be able to:

• Outline how the tools and frameworks of strategic analysis are utilised by the positioning and resource-based approaches to create sustainable competitive advantage.

• Understand the debate between those advocating positioning or resource-based approaches to the search for sustainable competitive advantage.…...

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