Research Seminars

Sustained Competitive Advantage -- Traits of Persistent

Speaker: Alfred MARCUS
Carlson School of Management - Minnesota

13 December 2005 - From 16h30 to 18h00

How common is sustained competitive advantage and disadvantage? What are the traits that distinguish between firms that achieve sutained competitive advantage and sustained competitive disadvantage? I report on research I have done on 9 pairs of companies half of which were consistent winners between 1992-2002 and half of which were consistent losers. I argue that what distinguished the winners from the losers is that they achieved a balance among traits -- they were in a sweet spot and showed agility, discipline, and focus. In contrast the losing firms were in a sour spot and showed rigidity, ineptness, and diffuseness. I provide detail about how the companies exhibited these contrasting sets of characteristics and speculate on what the findings may mean for a theory of competitive advantage. I also discuss the connnection between this research and work I have on corporate social responsibility.

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