competitive advantage 11

Competitive Advantage

The success of a strategy depends on the firm’s competitive advantage, or whether its position in a competitive market allows it to achieve its goals—which might include higher returns on investments, greater efficiency or superior effectiveness in comparison to competitors. What sets your product or service apart from the competition? Two generic strategies for developing a competitive advantage are cost leadership and differentiation. Cost leadership is a strategy that Wal-Mart follows. This company aims to offer the lowest prices in order to draw in customers. Differentiation is a strategy designed to make your product or service so unique that it stands out from the competition in a desirable way to a target market. Nintendo launched the Wii video game console by differentiating their product with motion sensitive controllers. (This company pursued a cost leadership strategy in conjunction with this differentiation strategy.)

There are a number of ways to achieve competitive advantage, and they all require a focus on the competitors. It is important to keep this in mind when studying this unit. The primary takeaway from this unit should be the concept of sustainable competitive advantage. As soon as your competitors see a strategy of yours working, they will either copy or leapfrog it. Sony immediately attempted to copy Nintendo by developing its own motion-sensitive controllers, and Microsoft has moved to motion recognition via cameras. Sustainable competitive advantage involves not only jumping ahead, but staying there.

Read British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Kevin Wainwright’s QuickMBA’s “Competitive Advantage.” and “Lecture Notes on Porter’s Generic Strategies”.


Review the material from British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Kevin Wainwright’s “Lecture Notes on Porter’s Generic Strategies” and QuickMBA’s “Competitive Advantage.”

Please answer the following questions:

1. Describe the similarities and differences among generic strategies. Provide an example of an organization using a generic strategy.

2. Compare and contrast a broad and narrow focus strategy. Provide an example of an organization using a broad or narrow focus strategy.

3. Consider a niche product you have consumed. What unique attributes made the product or service attractive to you?

You are expected to make at least three posts to the discussion forum during the course of the discussion period.

Please answer in 200 words or more. Use your own words – please do not copy and paste from a web site. Be sure to use in text citation and provide references for your sources. Wikipedia is not a source.


Pick any organization you are familiar with and analyze its competitive advantages. Being specific, how did you determine the type of advantage? Has this advantage changed over time? If so, how? If not, what keeps the environment static?

Prepare a two page (double-spaced) essay. The paper should be 12-point font, Times New Roman, be at least 500 words, and include a final source list.


Consider the following questions for reflection:

Consider a local business in your area. How is competitive advantage best sustained? How can rivals chip away at a competitive advantage?

Please write an essay of complete and well composed paragraphs (250 word minimum for the entire essay) Be sure to use in text citation and provide references for your sources. Wikipedia is not a source.

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