Strategy and Competitive Advantage

Posted: July 13th, 2021

Strategy and Competitive Advantage

Every company and business must seek strategies that favor their operations and processes to make them superior among other companies in the industry. There is no competitive advantage strategy that has been proven to the most efficient for all companies to adopt. This is because; strategies perform differently and realize different results in different companies. The main question is “Which is the most appropriate strategy to adopt among companies to increase their competitive advantage  (Ghemawat, 2016).” Scholars and researchers have written and researched on different aspects and factors that can be said to be the most efficient strategies. In that case, the discussion reviews two main articles that describe various answers to the above-raised question. To achieve a comparative and comprehensive analysis, the discussion summarizes the main ideas of each article and highlights their similarities and differences.

In the article by Reeves and Deilmer “Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage” we can learn four main points and ideas. They include the presence of competition in the industries and the meaning of the concept adaptability in the context of competitive advantage. In addition, four main capabilities companies can adopt to embrace adaptation, and finally, various challenges experienced by businesses while managing adaptability. According to the authors, the main reasons companies and businesses must enhance strategy formulation is due to the uncertainties and constant changes in the business world  (Deimler, 2011). As explained by the authors, events such as globalization and advancements in technologies have resulted in changes and increased macroeconomic factors that affect the normal functioning and operations of businesses. Hence, the uncertainty has led to companies seeking better and coherent strategies that will advance their operations and maximize their competitive advantage concurrently.

The four main organizational capabilities outlines by the authors that enable companies to foster rapid and effective adaptation include the following. First, companies must have the ability to recognize changes and the defined uncertainties in the market by comprehensively reading them, analyzing the degree of impact, and later on acting on them effectively. For a company to achieve maximum and effective adaptability, a company must have the ability and resources to detect changes in the external environment likely to affect its operations, study them, decode, and react accordingly (Deimler, 2011). Concisely, this means that companies should have mitigation strategies in place to address the issues at hand for easy and effective adaptability exercise. The processes and processes in the company should be adequate and well structured to detect advancements in technology or spillover effects of globalizations and act on them accordingly. For instance, these two events have resulted in the digitalization of the economy. Thus, companies should acquire these changes earlier on and decode various required modifications. They include adopting disruptive technologies and app-based solutions to digitalize the traditional business models (Coccia, 2017). This ability to decode the changes and adopting mitigation strategies is what adaptability entails and involves.

The authors recommend companies to have the ability to experiment changes not only the products but also on their business models, strategies, and processes. According to the authors, many companies decide to develop strategies that only focus on improving products and services. This is not bad, as it eventually maximizes the company’s competitive advantage. However, it is essential that companies quickly adapt their business models, strategies, and processes (Deimler, 2011). For instance, an auto manufacturing company such as Tesla decides to invent a new product, which is electric vehicles. The product is unique and increases the company’s competitive advantage. However, the company does not stop at that; Tesla goes ahead to patent the innovation and adopts lean manufacturing to increase its comparative advantage (Coccia, 2017). Notice that, the company has maximized its competitive advantage thrice in different ways. That is having a unique product at hand (electric car), improved business model (patent rights), and better processes that maximize the quality of the operations (comparative advantage and lean manufacturing). The authors, in this case, tried to show that effective adaptability is seen not only on the products and services but also in the company’s processes, business models, and formulation of strategies.

The authors argue that companies should have the ability to manage complex systems effectively of the many stakeholders present. The authors show the benefits of collaboration and working together with all stakeholders to ensure all stakeholders adapt quickly and are on the same level (Deimler, 2011). The authors believe that successful businesses conduct inbound and outbound logistics and have many economic activities. They include issues such as outsourcing and sharing economy where stakeholders increase, and the ‘community’ expands. Once the community grows the company longer deals with a single system but complex multi-company systems. Finally, companies should mobilize involved parties to ensure adaptability is all around and no party drags the rest behind. The authors highlight the challenges big companies face when adapting to changes and increasing their competitive advantage. These challenges include the inability to correctly identify and address the uncertainties in the market and failure to adopt mitigation strategies for each uncertainty and risk. Moreover, it becomes a challenge to identify and evaluate possible alternatives to address these issues, and the adaptability speed slows due to slow decision-making (Deimler, 2011). The authors try to show that despite adaptability being the new competitive advantage, companies are faced with numerous challenges when adapting and formulating strategies that address the uncertainties adequately.

There are similarities and difference when comparing Reeves and Deilmer’ article “Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage” with Satell’s article “Why the Ability to Collaborate Is the New Competitive Advantage”. The two articles agree on the fact that companies operate in competitive industries and environments. Hence, making it their responsibility to develop and adopt strategies that help them gain an added advantage. The articles outline the many benefits companies achieve when they maximize their competitive advantage (Satell, 2015). It differentiates its products and services, thus increased performance, customer satisfaction, profits, and value. However, they differ in strategies that increase the competitive advantage among businesses.

According to Reeves and Deilmer’ article, they recommend adaptability while Satell suggests a collaboration. The authors (Reeves and Deilmer) show the primary purposes companies adopt different strategies include the following. They include increasing their market leadership, maximizing the competitive advantage, market positioning, and attaining competencies to increase their value and profits. These uncertainties in the business world have led to the authors arguing that adaptability the most effective strategy companies can adopt to improve their competitive advantage (Deimler, 2011). Moreover, the uncertainties and changes in the market have forced companies and businesses to formulate and implement sustainable strategies that would result in sustainable growth and competitive advantage. On the other hand, Satell argues that collaboration in businesses is between humans and machines. Satell shows that advanced technology, as well as globalization, have necessitated the need for humans and machines to cooperate for maximized competitive advantage (Satell, 2015). He explains that modern technology requires a sharing and social economy with collaboration.

The two articles differ in the aspects that define the author’s main ideas. For instance, according to Reeves and Deilmer, adaptability is achievable through four main ideas. They include the ability to recognize changes and the defined uncertainties in the market by comprehensively reading them, analyzing the degree of impact, and later on acting on them effectively. The ability to experiment changes not only the products but also on their business models, strategies, and processes. The ability to manage complex systems effectively of the many stakeholders present and companies (Deimler, 2011). Finally, companies should mobilize involved parties to ensure adaptability is all around and no party drags the rest behind.

On the other hand, Satell builds his idea on collaboration based on concepts such as the need for companies to shift from assertiveness and adopt empathy. Secondly, they should choose to design as a value creator rather than capital spending on plants and corporate equipment. Satell also shows the need for companies to effectively manage the network in the organization driven from the extensive collaboration (Satell, 2015). Finally, Satell shows that collaboration is essential in the new economy as it is a social and sharing economy.

When evaluating these ideas used to describe adaptability and collaboration as essential in maximizing competitive advantage, it is critical to note that the two articles are similar in the ability to manage complex systems in an organization. When adapting to change and collaborating, a company cannot initiate change only among internal stakeholders, as external stakeholders are as influential as the rest. Effectively managing these complex systems will enable a company to adapt and collaborates efficiently, thus a comprehensive and conclusive competitive advantage. Effective management allows companies to formulate inclusive strategies that cover all internal and expanded (external) stakeholders in the company.

The two articles differ in what strategies are best for companies. Reeves and Deilmer advice that sustainable competitive advantage is no longer experienced from being good at doing something; instead, it comes from the ability to learn how to do new things. This advice shows that companies and businesses require understanding and mastering the value of adaptability and implement it effectively (Deimler, 2011). On the other hand, Satell focuses on the resources and assets of a company arguing that competitive advantage is not driven by the resources a company controls but the ability to easily access these resources (Satell, 2015).

In conclusion, the two articles differ in the most effective strategy, which is adaptability and collaboration as the new competitive advantage. However, they embrace and acknowledge the presence of uncertainty and the need for newly devised strategies for maximized competitive advantage. The main lesson learned is that the two articles recommend the evolution of strategies and policies in conformity with the constant changes and technological advancements. For business continuity and longer economic life, companies must evolve, collaborate, and adapt in their strategy formulation as the market environments change.


Coccia, M. (2017). Disruptive Technologies and Competitive Advantage of Firms in Dynamic Markets. SSRN Electronic Journal, 3-15.

Deimler, M. R. (2011). Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage. Harvard Business Review, pp. 3-9.

Ghemawat, P. (2016). Evolving Ideas about Business Strategy. Business History Review, Volume 90, Issue 4 pp: 727-749.

Satell, G. (2015, December 4). Why The Ability To Collaborate Is The New Competitive Advantage. Retrieved from Forbes:

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