Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty Member of Management and Accounting, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Faculty of Management and Accounting, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



The previous studies on the field of competitive advantages of businesses were reviewed. Competitive advantage refers to a set of factors or capabilities that enable the company to demonstrate better performance comparing to the competitors. Totally 59 articles in eight different fields, including strategic management, strategic management of marketing, marketing management, information technology, knowledge management, resources-based theory, entrepreneurship, and human resource management, were reviewed. The results showed that among several available methods, a majority of businesses employ Porter’s triple strategies, namely differentiation, centralization, and cost leadership, to gain competitive advantages. Among the triple strategies, the strategy of differentiation has drawn the highest attention and simultaneous utilization of the three strategies is a rare case.


Awazu, Y. (2004). Informal network players, Knowledge integration, and competitive advantage, Journal of knowledge management, 8(3): 62-70.
Awuah, B. &Gebrekidan, D. (2008). Networked (interactive) position: a new view of developing and sustaining competitive advantage, Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, 18(4): 333-350.
Bobillo, A., Iturriaga, F., & Gaite, T., (2010). Firm performance and international diversification: The internal andexternal competitive advantages, International Business Review, 19: 607–618.
Castro, G.; Lopez, J.; Saez, P. & Salazar, A. (2006). Organizational capital as competitive advantage of the firm, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 7(3): 324-337.
Chuang, S. (2004). A resource-based perspective on knowledge management capability and competitive advantage: an empirical investigation, Expert Systems with Applications, 27: 459–465.
Davis, L.; Dehning, B., &Stratopoulos, T. (2003). Does the market recognize IT-enabled competitive advantage?, Information & Management, 40: 705–716.
Erikson, T. (2002). Entrepreneurial capital: the emerging venture’s most important asset and competitive advantage, Journal of Business Venturing, 17: 275–290.
Fahy, J. (2002). A resource-based analysis of sustainable competitive advantage in a global environment, International Business Review, 11: 57–78.
Feng, T.; Sun, L., & Zhang, Y. (2010). The effects of customer and supplier involvement on competitive advantage: An empirical study in China, Industrial Marketing Management, 39: 1384–1394.
Fudson, Z., & Radnor, Z. (2003). The effect of regulatory practices in achieving competitive advantage, Work Study, 51(7): 346-356.
Ghingold, M., & Johnson, B. (1998).Intrafirm technical knowledge and competitive advantage: a framework for superior market driven performance, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 13(1): 70-81.
Hazen, B. & Byrd, T. (2012). Toward creating competitive advantage with logistics information technology, International Journal of Physical, Distribution & Logistics Management, 42(1): 8-35.
Hill, C. W. L & Jones, G. R (1998). Strategic Management Theory, Houghton Mifflin Com, 2st ed, USA: 105-127.
Hinton, C. & Tao, Y. (2006). Exploring sources of competitive advantage E-business applications within the Chinese real estate industry, Journal of Technology Management in China, 1(1): 92-106.
Hunt, S. & Arnett, D. (2004). Market Segmentation Strategy, Competitive Advantage, and Public Policy: Grounding Segmentation Strategy in Resource-Advantage Theory, Australasian Marketing Journal, 12(1): 7-25.
Jüttner, U. &Wehrli, P. (1994). Competitive Advantage Merging Marketing and the Competence-based Perspective, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 9(4): 42-53.
Kaleka, A. (2002). Resources and capabilities driving competitive advantage in export markets: guidelines for i.ndustrial exporters, Industrial Marketing Management, 31: 273– 283.
Kearns, G. & Lederer, A. (2000). The effect of strategic alignment on the use of IS-based resources for competitive advantage, Journal of Strategic Systems, 9: 265-293.
Kearns, G. & Lederer, A. (2004). The impact of industry contextual factors on IT focus and the use of IT for competitive advantage, Information & Management, 41: 899–919
Khandekar, A. & Sharma, A. (2005). Managing human resource capabilities for sustainable competitive advantage An empirical analysis from Indian global organizations, Education + Training, 47(8/9): 628-639.
Kim, K.; Jeon, B.; Jung, H.; Lu, V. & Jones, J. (2012).Effective employment brand equity through sustainable competitive advantage, marketing strategy, and corporate image, Journal of Business Research, 65: 1612–1617.
Koh, S.; Simpson, M. &Padmore, J. (2007). Could e-business create a competitive advantage in UK SMEs?, Benchmarking: An International Journal, 14(3): 320-351.
Krause, C. (1995). Japanese microelectronics: Creating competitive advantage by vertical interaction, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 28: 49-61.
Lew, Y. &Sinkovics, R. (2013). Crossing Borders and Industry Sectors: Behavioral Governance in Strategic Alliances and Product Innovation for Competitive Advantage, Long Range Planning, 46: 13-38.
Li, J. & Zhou, K. (2010). How foreign fi rms achieve competitive advantage in the Chinese emerging economy: Managerial ties and market orientation, Journal of Business Research, 6: 856–862.
Liao, S. &Chien Hu, T. (2007). Knowledge transfer and competitive advantage on environmental uncertainty: An empirical study of the Taiwan semiconductor industry, Technovation, 27: 402–411.
Lim, J.; Stratopoulos, T. &Wirjanto, T. (2012). Role of IT executives in the firm's ability to achieve competitive advantage through IT capability, International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, 13: 21–40.
Lin, M. & Chen, C .(2008). Integration and knowledge sharing: transforming to long-term competitive advantage, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 16(1/2): 83-108.
Long, C. & Koch, M. (1995). Using Core Capabilities to Create Competitive Advantage, Available at:
Ma, H. (2004). Toward global competitive advantage, Management Decision, 42(7): 907-924.
Massa, S. & Testa, S. (2009). A knowledge management approach to organizational competitive advantage: Evidence from the food sector, European Management Journal, 27: 129– 141.
Mazzarol, T. & Soutar, G. (1999). Sustainable competitive advantage for educational institutions: a suggested model, The International Journal of Educational Management, 13(6): 287-300.
Moreno, E.; Lorente, J. & Rio, J. (2012). Environmental human resource management and competitive advantage, Management Research: The Journal of the Ibero-american Academy of Management, 10(2): 125-142.
Morgan, R. & Hunt, S. (1999). Relationship-Based Competitive Advantage: The Role of Relationship Marketing in Marketing Strategy, Journal of Business Research, 46: 281–290.
Oh, J. & Rhee, S. (2010). Influences of supplier capabilities and collaboration in new car development on competitive advantage of carmakers, Management Decision, 48(5): 756-774.
Olson, E.;. Cooper, R. & Slater, S. (1998).Design  Strategy  and Competitive  Advantage, Business Horizons, 55-61.
Piercy, N.; Kaleka, A. & Katsikeas, C. (1998). Sources of Competitive Advantage  in  High  performing  Exporting  Companies, Journal of World Business, 33: 378-393.
Porter,  Michael  (1987).  From  Competitive  Advantage  to  Corporate  Strategy.  Harvard Business Review May-June (3): 43–59.
Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive Strategy, Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, Simon & Schuster Inc, 1-422.
Porter, M. E. (1997)." How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy", Harvard Business Review, 57(2): 137-145.
Preble, J.; Reichel, A. & Hoffman, R. (2000). Strategic alliances for competitive advantage: evidence from Israel’s hospitality and tourism industry, Hospitality Management, 19: 327–341.
Reed, R.; Lemak, D. & Mero, N. (2000). Total quality management and sustainable competitive advantage, Journal of Quality Management, 5: 5– 26.
Rijamampianina, R.; Abratt, R. & February, Y. (2003). A Framework for concentric diversification through sustainable competitive advantage, Journal of Management Decision, 41(2): 362-371.
Rugraff, E. (2012). The new competitive advantage of automobile manufacturers, Journal of Strategy and Management, 5(4): 407-419.
Salavou, H &Halikias, J. (2009). Strategy types of exporting firms: a view on the basis of competitive advantage, European Business Review, 21(2): 144 – 158.
Sheng, M. &  Chang, S. (2013). Knowledge barriers, knowledge transfer, and innovation competitive advantage in healthcare settings, Management Decision, 51(3): 461-478.
Silvi, R. &Cuganesan, S. (2006). Investigating the management of knowledge for competitive advantage A strategic cost management perspective, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 7(3): 309-323.
Slater, S. (1996). The Challenge of Sustaining Competitive Advantage, Industrial Marketing Management,  25: 79-86.
Swink, M. & Song, M. (2007).Effects of marketing-manufacturing integration on new product development time and competitive advantage, Journal of Operations Management, 25: 203–217.
Tan, H. (2009). Firm–employee relationship strength — Competitive advantage through people revisited: A commentary essay, Journal of Business Research, 62: 1108–1109.
Toppinen, A.; Toivonen, R. &Tatti, N. (2007). Sources of competitive advantage in woodworking firms of Northwest Russia, International Journal of Emerging Markets, 2(4): 383-394.
Turner, P. (1991). Using Information to Enhance Competitive Advantage the Marketing Options, European Journal of Marketing, 25(6): 55-64.
Walters, D.; Halliday, M. & Glaser, S. (2002).Added value, enterprice value and competitive advantage, Journal of management Decision, 40(9): 823-833.
Weerawardena, J. & O’Cass, A. (2004). Exploring the characteristics of the market-driven firms and antecedents to sustained competitive advantage, Industrial Marketing Management, 33: 419– 428.
Whitehill, M. (1997). Knowledge-based Strategy to Deliver Sustained  Competitive Advantage, Long Range Planning, 30(4): 621-627.
Whiteley, R. &Hessan, D. (1996). Customer-centred growth: five strategies for building competitive advantage, Managing Service Quality, 6(5): 47–52.
Yamin, S.; Gunasekaran, A. &Mavondo, F. (1999). Relationship between generic strategies, competitive advantage and organizational performance: an empirical analysis, Technovation, 19: 507–518.
Zhang, M. & Lado, A. (2001). Information systems and competitive advantage: a competency- based view, Technovation, 21: 147–156.
Zhou, K.; Brown, J. & Dev, C. (2009). Market orientation, competitive advantage, and performance: A demand-based perspective, Journal of Business Research, 62: 1063–1070.