Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy
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Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy

Edited by Giovanni Battista Dagnino

The Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy presents a comprehensive state-of-the-art picture of current strategic management issues and demarcates the major investigation strands that are likely to shape the field into the future.
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Chapter 9: Strategy-as-Practice: Untangling the Emergence of Competitive Positions

Patrick Regnér


Patrick Regnér INTRODUCTION Even though great achievements have been made in explaining the basis of competitive advantage it is rather surprising that we still do not know more about the fundamental mechanisms involved in the emergence of competitive advantage and new competitive positions in terms of new resource and capability and/or industry positions. Whether competitive advantage is explained in terms of imperfectly imitable resources (Barney, 1986 and 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984) or by competitive forces (Porter, 1980 and 1981) our understanding of how these competitive positions emerge still remains limited. While general processes have been described (e.g. Teece et al., 1997) they often represent aggregate firm-level outcomes. These are however preceded by micro-foundations including individual beliefs and activities as well as macro-conditions involving institutionalized meanings and practices. The aim of this chapter is to analyze and clarify the characteristics of these antecedents to new competitive positions. Although research in strategic management has addressed individual beliefs (Huff, 1982; Porac and Thomas, 1990) and managerial activities (Mintzberg, 1973) on the one hand and institutionalized meanings and practices (Oliver, 1991 and 1997) on the other, the full implication of them for the emergence of new competitive positions has not been examined. Since the former micro-foundations are embedded in the latter macroconditions it is critical to analyze these two levels of analysis collectively. Moreover, given that beliefs and meanings are embodied in activities and practices respectively (Weick, 1995; Giddens, 1984; Mohr, 2005) they too need to be analyzed jointly. This suggests a two-level understanding...

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