Discuss the concept of competitive advantage. Include specific examples of companies and their respective competitive advantages to support your answer.
Competitive advantage is what sets an organization apart, that is, its distinctive edge. That distinctive edge comes from the organization’s core competencies, which might be in the form of organizational capabilities—the organization does something that others cannot do or does it better than others can do it. For example, Dell has developed a competitive advantage based upon its ability to create a direct-selling channel that’s highly responsive to customers. Southwest Airlines has a competitive advantage because it is skilled in giving passengers what they want—quick, convenient, and fun service. Or those core competencies that lead to competitive advantage also can come from organizational assets or resources—the organization has something that its competitors do not have. For instance, Wal-Mart’s state-of-the-art information systems allows it to monitor and control inventories and supplier relations more efficiently than its competitors, which Wal-Mart has turned into a price advantage.
Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)