Forum #1

Why is the concept of competitive advantage central to the study of strategic management?

The concept of competitive advantage is central to the study of strategic management simply because the success of a business will depend greatly on the solid strategy it selects. A competitive advantage is the vehicle that allows a company to outperform its rivals in the industry. Strategies must be put into application, and closely monitored and revised as needed in order to keep and retain a competitive advantage. Why will consumers continue to shop one place over another? What is about the company, its products or services that consumers perceive to have more value than other companies offering similar products? These are the elements that create the competitive advantages that firms seek to achieve through strategic management. Without a competitive advantage, a firm blends in with other not so special organizations. Apple products are beloved because they are clearly unique. Just about anyone can identify an Iphone or Mac computer from the rest of the cell phones and computers on the market. Apple also has a unique operating system that differentiates them from their rivals. The perceived value that consumers has attributed to Apple is why Apple can charge a higher premium than their rivals. Apple did not just happen to obtain a good percentage of market share, they used strategic management to create a competitive advantage and the results equal success.

“today’s leaders must be proactive, anticipate change, and continually refine and, when necessary, make dramatic changes to their strategies. The strategic management of the organization must become both a process and a way of thinking throughout the organization.” (Dess 7)

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