Competitive Advantage: Logical and Philosophical Considerations

Powell, Thomas C (2001) Competitive Advantage: Logical and Philosophical Considerations. Strategic Management Journal, 22 (9). pp. 875-888.

Abstract

Strategic management theories invoke the concept of competitive advantage to explain firm performance, and empirical research investigates competitive advantage and describes how it operates. But as a performance hypothesis, competitive advantage has received surprisingly little formal justification, particularly in light of its centrality in strategy research and practice. As it happens, the core hypothesis - that competitive advantage produces sustained superior performance - finds little support in formal deductive or inductive inference, and the leading theories of competitive advantage incorporate refutation barriers that preclude meaningful empirical tests. The logical and philosophical foundations of the competitive advantage hypothesis are explored, locating its philosophical foundations in the epistemologies of Bayesian induction, abductive inference and an instrumentalist, pragmatic philosophy of science.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Competitive advantage; Philosophy; Logic; Epistemology; Resource-based view
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2012 16:16
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2017 11:05
Funders: N/A
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/1938

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