Gaining and sustaining a competitive advantage
Chapter 11 takes some of the concepts raised in previous chapters and analyses them in the context of gaining and sustaining competitive advantage in e-business. The chapter starts with an overview of what firms must do to compete effectively in the e-business and/or
e-commerce environment. The issue of gaining and sustaining competitive advantage begins with first-mover advantages. This is followed by a discussion of how organisations can use generic strategies to gain and sustain competitive advantage. This section adds detail to how differentiation, cost leadership and focus can form the basis of determining the competitive position of firms in an industry and gives
examples of how competitive advantage can be leveraged by organisations in the e-business environment. There then follows a discussion of modern management approaches to understanding generic strategies. In particular, the section outlines the key factors that determine an integrated generic strategy where low cost and differentiation work in tandem. Although there are numerous factors that can determine compe-
titive advantage, this chapter highlights some of the most prominent ones. These include expanding product lines to achieve growth quickly, the lock-in of customers and the mix of traditional business activities and e-business (bricks and clicks). The particularly advantageous position of ‘winner-takes-all’ in an e-business context also forms part of the discussion. The chapter concludes with analysis of some of the problems relating to sustaining competitive advantage in e-business.