Reading: Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage is defined as the strategic advantage one business entity has over its rival entities within its competitive industry.

KEY Points

  • A country is said to have a comparative advantage in the production of a good (say cloth) if it can produce cloth at a lower opportunity cost than another country.
  • Competitive advantage seeks to address some of the criticisms of comparative advantage.
  • Competitive advantage occurs when an organization acquires or develops an attribute or combination of attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors.


Terms

  • Comparative advantage: The concept that a certain good can be produced more efficiently than others due to a number of factors, including productive skills, climate, natural resource availability, and so forth.
  • Opportunity cost: The cost of an opportunity forgone (and the loss of the benefits that could be received from that opportunity); the most valuable forgone alternative.


Examples

  • Opportunity cost - The opportunity cost of cloth production is defined as the amount of wine for example, that must be given up in order to produce one more unit of cloth.


Competitive advantage is defined as the strategic advantage one business entity has over its rival entities within its competitive industry. Achieving competitive advantage strengthens and positions a business better within the business environment.

Competitive advantage seeks to address some of the criticisms of comparative advantage. A country is said to have a comparative advantage in the production of a good (say cloth) if it can produce cloth at a lower opportunity cost than another country. The opportunity cost of cloth production is defined as the amount of wine that must be given up in order to produce one more unit of cloth. Thus, England would have the comparative advantage in cloth production relative to Portugal if it must give up less wine to produce another unit of cloth than the amount of wine that Portugal would have to give up to produce another unit of cloth.

Competitive Advantage
The 640GB drive has a competitive advantage over the 500GB drive in terms of both cost and value.
Michael Porter proposed the theory of competitive advantage in 1985. The competitive advantage theory suggests that states and businesses should pursue policies that create high-quality goods to sell at high prices in the market. Porter emphasizes productivity growth as the focus of national strategies. This theory rests on the notion that cheap labor is ubiquitous, and natural resources are not necessary for a good economy. The other theory, comparative advantage, can lead countries to specialize in exporting primary goods and raw materials that trap countries in low-wage economies due to terms of trade. The competitive advantage theory attempts to correct for this issue by stressing maximizing scale economies in goods and services that garner premium prices.

Competitive advantage occurs when an organization acquires or develops an attribute or combination of attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors. These attributes can include access to natural resources, such as high grade ores or inexpensive power or access to highly trained and skilled personnel human resources. New technologies, such as robotics and information technology, are either to be included as a part of the product or to assist making it. Information technology has become such a prominent part of the modern business world that it can also contribute to competitive advantage by outperforming competitors with regard to Internet presence. From the very beginning (i.e., Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations), the central problem of information transmittal, leading to the rise of middle men in the marketplace, has been a significant impediment in gaining competitive advantage. By using the Internet as the middle man, the purveyor of information to the final consumer, businesses can gain a competitive advantage through creation of an effective website, which in the past required extensive effort finding the right middle man and cultivating the relationship.

GLOSSARY

Business environment

The system within which companies exist.

Consumer

Someone who acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing. The consumer is the one who pays to consume the goods and services produced. As such, consumers play a vital role in the economic system of a nation. In the absence of their effective demand, the producers would lack a key motivation to produce, which is to sell to consumers.

Economy

Collective focus of the study of money, currency and trade, and the efficient use of resources. The system of production and distribution and consumption. The overall measure of a currency system; as the national economy.

Exporting

The act of selling to a foreign country the sale of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories.

Good

An object produced for market.

Industry

The sector of the economy consisting of large-scale enterprises.

Lead

Potential opportunity for a sale or transaction, a potential customer.

Leading

To conduct or direct with authority the management function of determining what must be done in a situation and getting others to do it.

Market

A group of potential customers for one's product. One of the many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange.

Premium

Bonus paid in addition to normal payments. The price above par value at which a security is sold. Something offered at a reduced price as an inducement to buy something else. The amount a policy-holder or his sponsor must pay to a health plan to purchase health coverage.

Price

The price is the amount a customer pays for the product. The quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for goods or services. The cost required to gain possession of something.

Product

Any tangible or intangible good or service that is a result of a process and that is intended for delivery to a customer or end user. Anything, either tangible or intangible, offered by the firm as a solution to the needs and wants of the consumer; something that is profitable or potentially profitable; goods or a service that meets the requirements of the various governing offices or society.

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