Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Identifying and Classifying Sources of Competitive Advantage in
The resource-based, dynamic-capability and knowledge-based views of the firm focus on identifying company-internal success factors. However, their empirical research and its managerial implications suffer from a lack of conceptual clarity and understanding of the structural and hierarchical complexity of resources and capabilities. This paper suggests a three-step capability-classification system that takes into account 1) the division between company-specific and industry-significant capabilities, 2) hierarchies of task-specific, functional and cross-functional capabilities, and 3) the structure of individual capabilities. We tested the usability of the theoretical construct by identifying and classifying the capabilities of the leading North American and European wood-industry case companies. Our study introduces conceptual tools for those aiming to do empirical research on capabilities, explores the interaction between a firm’s capabilities and its competitive environment, and exposes the capability portfolio of wood-industry companies.
Key words: Resources, capabilities, core competence, wood industry, competitive