DOES SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE EXIST? AND, IF SO, HOW CAN IT BE ACHIEVED?

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    Abstract

    Strategists and economists have spent years studying firms and organisations that have been successful. The questions that arose back then remain unanswered today. Why are some organisations more successful than others? What is different about these successful firms? How did they achieve this competitive advantage (CA)? And is it sustainable? Many theories have been put forward in an effort to solve this matter, but not one particular theory has been acknowledged as the means of gaining this competitive advantage (Cockburn, Henderson and Stern, 2000). Strategy within the 1980s mainly focused on the management of external factors as the source of competitive advantage (Porter, 1985). In the context of tourism, this is even more apparent. Many authors within the tourism literature have researched competitiveness in relation to the external environment (Yasin, Alavi, Sobral, Lisboa, 2003; Go, Pine and Yu, 1994). However, in the early nineties there was a significant shift in focus when strategists began to recognise that CA came from resources within the firm (Mahoney and Pandian, 1992; Barney, 1991; Grant, 1991). Policy makers have recognised the significant role that the Irish tourism sector plays within the Irish economy as well as its lack of competitiveness, hence they are eager to instil competitiveness in Irish tourism organisations (Dept of Arts, Sports and Tourism, 2010; Tourism Renewal Group, 2009). However, the dynamic nature of the tourism industry has made competition difficult to sustain. The problem with Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA) is that nobody really knows how to achieve it or whether it can even exist (Useem, 2000). There has been significant debate about this issue in strategic literature for quite some time and is still ongoing today (Fiol, 2001; Coyne, 1986). This paper will look comprehensively at whether it is possible for a tourism organisation to attain a competitive advantage. If it is possible, then how can the tourism organisation‟s internal resources be utilised to gain this level of competitiveness. Furthermore, this paper will discuss whether tourist practitioners can transform this advantage into a sustainable competitive advantage.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    Event13th Irish Academy of Management Conference - Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)
    Duration: 01 Jan 2010 → …

    Conference

    Conference13th Irish Academy of Management Conference
    CityCork Institute of Technology (CIT)
    Period01/01/2010 → …

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