Competitive Advantage And Distinctive Resources Essay

This study analyses how administrations can be strategically guided towards success. The study uses the strategic models; the cultural web, the VRIO model, the value concatenation and the ‘the three degrees of civilization ‘ to place how administrations achieve competitory advantage. Virgin Atlantic and Ryanairs schemes are so capable to scrutiny under these models to place, in world, how this is achieved.

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Table of Contentss

Competitive Advantage and typical resources;

The intent of scheme is competitory advantage. Competitive advantage emerges when an administration enforces a scheme that creates value that is non being achieved by its rivals ( Henry, 2008 ). The advantage becomes sustainable when rivals can non mirror the value creative activity of the scheme. A typical resource of an administration can be defined as a resource that can non be imitated by other administrations ( Henry 2008 ).

Strategic Planning; Vision, Values & A; Mission

A distinguishable feature of a successful administration is lucidity over what is to be achieved. A clear intent can enthuse employees, directors and senior directors due to the similar values they may portion ( Scott & A; Jaff, 1993 ). A vision is the coveted province the administration aspires to carry through, values are the nucleus rules of an administration and the mission gives ground to why an administration exists ( Kaplan et al, 2008 ). They need to be clear and concise and easy understood by all degrees of the house.

Carpenter and Porras ( 1996 ) emphasised why lucidity of vision and mission hold importance they suggested employees who have a better apprehension of the mission and vision are able to hold a greater consciousness of the administrations scheme and how it is implemented. Second an account is given to staff of how scheme helps accomplish the vision and mission of the administration. Finally they offer counsel to scheme development as they guide the scheme which guides the administration.

Valuess create the foundations of an administration; what the company promotes within their on the job civilization can greatly act upon determinations on every degree therefore a company ‘s scheme for the hereafter will be formed around these nucleus constructs and beliefs. They allow the formation of the administration ‘s intent; the cardinal ground for being.

Case Example: Ryanair & A; Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair are successful air hose companies who achieve competitory advantage in different ways.

Ryanair is a concentrated low cost air hose who offers a no frills service to clients. The scheme of Ryanair is to be a cost leader. The intent of Ryanair is hence to supply a inexpensive, no frills flight service that is profitable.

Vision, Value and mission of Ryanair


To offer low menus that generate increased rider traffic while keeping a uninterrupted focal point on cost-containment and operating efficiencies.


Cost efficient = low menus & As; low costs.


To firmly set up itself as Europe ‘s taking low-fares scheduled rider air hose through continued betterments and expanded offerings of its low-fares service.

Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: // ( 2013 ).

Ryanair measures its success through net income. Ryanair recorded a leap in net incomes towards the terminal of 2012 which indicates that Ryanair is accomplishing its intent ( http: // ).

Virgin Atlantic is a leisure air hose who is able to diversify into unusual leisure paths and serve different demographic locations to Ryanair. The overall intent of Virgin Atlantic is hence to turn a profitable air hose that focusses on concern and leisure markets and the quality of service offered whilst authorising staff.

Vision, Value and Mission of Virgin Atlantic


The success of our three twelvemonth scheme requires us to construct on these foundations by concentrating on the concern and leisure markets and driving efficiency and effectivity.


Caring, honest, value, merriment, invention.


To turn a profitable air hose where people love to wing and people love to work.

Beginning: Virgin Atlantic ( 2013 )

Virgin Atlantic measures it success through feedback from both staff and clients through effectual feedback systems including 360 degree feedback. The feedback received is frequently positive and shows Virgin Atlantic is accomplishing its intent of supplying an air hose where people love to wing and staff love to work ( Virgin Atlantic, 2013 ).

The above illustrations show how vision, values and mission statement underlie the intent of an administration and how uniting the three together form the foundation of scheme.


The first administration to be looked at is Ryanair and how it achieves its cost leader position by looking at its civilization in footings of the three degrees of civilization model and by using the value concatenation to analyze how they integrate the flow of activities to accomplish competitory advantage

Culture and its connexion to scheme

Schein ( 1988 ) defined organizational civilization as a form of basic premises a given group has created by larning to manage jobs of internal integrating and external version. Culture is created through the actions of upper degree direction in relation to what they take precedency to, what they focus on and what behaviours they punish or reward. Hall ( 1993 ) suggested civilization can be viewed as an intangible resource that can be classified as an plus or competence lending to an administrations sustainable competitory advantage as civilization can impede a scheme or do a scheme excel.

Scheins ( 1988 ) : three degrees of civilization

Hatch ( 1993 ) described the theoretical account as a conceptual model for step ining with and analyzing internal organizational civilization. Schein ( 1988 ) described civilization as three degrees categorised into:


Espoused Valuess

Basic Underliing Premises.

They show how profoundly values and beliefs are embedded into an administration. The theoretical account shows the grade to which civilization is seeable to an administration and brings about an apprehension of the manner concern procedure are carried out and what can be done to help alteration in an administration. It is used to name cultural features of an administration which can so be used to develop or keep Strategy and the strategic advantage that ensues. The tabular array below summarises each degree of civilization;

Three Levels of Culture


The most discernible degree of civilization and can include concern procedure, aesthetics of the administration or organizational constructions for illustration. All are seeable indexs of civilization but are hard to construe.

Espoused Valuess

They underlie behaviour and can, to some extent, find behavior. They are non straight discernible and can include schemes, ends & A; aims or doctrines for illustration.

Basic Underlying premises

These premises are unconscious and frequently root from values until they are taken for granted and reassign to the unconscious.

Beginning: Williams ( 2012 ).

Ryanair 3 degrees of civilization;

The civilization of Ryanair is cost efficiency which is reflected in their values, vision and mission where they create their chief competitory advantage of being a low cost, frill free air hose.

Using the model a diagnosing can be made of the civilization of Ryanair and how this creates competitory advantage;

Ryanair; Three degrees of Culture


No complementary services are offered at Ryanair; this reflects cost efficient civilization as alternatively they sell secondary services on flight.

Head office staff supply ain pens and are non allowed to bear down their phones at work in the office, reflective of low cost civilization.

Employees pay for their ain preparation and uniforms.

Ryanair usage subordinates to do menus cheaper, they are obtained from utilizing local airdromes so the nest eggs can be passed onto clients.

Espoused Valuess

The policies enforced by Ryanair ‘s senior direction, e.g. the policy of holding to purchase ain uniform/ stationary equipment, reflects cost efficient nature.

Basic Underlying premises

Embedded guidelines in Ryanair; staff & A; employees present a cost efficient service to riders and they know that they are acquiring a frills free flight where the outlook of other air hoses is to have complimentary services.

Beginning: Ryanair ( 2013 ).

The three degrees of civilization show how the scheme of cost leading is built into the civilization of Ryanair civilization so it becomes an unconscious procedure from staff and an outlook of clients.

The Value concatenation.

The value concatenation was foremost characterised by Porter ( 1985 ) and is a concatenation of activities that group together the chief value adding activities of an administration and can be used as a strategic planning tool. Porter ( 2007 ) described an administration as a digest of separately distinguishable, interrelated, economic activities which include both primary and secondary activities. The value concatenation serves as a usher for placing the cardinal activities within an administration which make up the value concatenation that have the possible to make a sustainable competitory advantage. The competitory advantage emerges from the ability of the administration to execute identified activities in the value concatenation in a superior manner to rivals.

Beginning: Williams ( 2013 ).

The value concatenation is divided into primary activities and secondary activities which need to associate together strategically across the administration so resources can be optimised and coordinated in a manner to prolong competitory advantage. Primary activities are activities classified as merchandises or selling related activities. Support activities assist the primary activities and include substructure, human resource direction, procurance and technological development.

Value Chain of Ryanair

The Value concatenation of Ryanair is a presentation of how they integrate both primary and support activities together to make competitory advantage;

Table of support Activities which add value to Ryanair;

Support Activity



Ryanair ‘s Head Offices are minimum

Human resource Management

Management control, limited preparation, Low figure of staff

Technology development

Internet engagement system, Low tech selling, Internet gross revenues, Integration of systems


Outsourcing, low costs & A; confederations

The support activities defined demo how they can suit the primary activities in a manner that is cost effectual. For illustration, Ryanair ‘s point of sale is internet based, cutting out the in-between individual so flight engagements go straight to Ryanair themselves.

Table of Primary Activities which add value;

Primary Activity


Inbound logistics

Quality preparation, Low cost providers, Airport understandings


No added frills ( low cost. )

Outbound logistics

Fast turnaround times of aircraft, dependable service

Marketing & A; Gross saless

Low cost publicities, Free promotion, Internet gross revenues, controversial


Limited resources and really basic

Throughout the value concatenation, each activity is based around cost efficiency. Money is saved through;

Supplying a basic service to clients

Using the cyberspace as a point of sale which incurs lower costs as less human capital is needed

Instilling a cost efficient head set in staff through pull offing staff in a cost efficient mode by take downing operating expenses on preparation, unvarying and fancy offices

Guaranting there engineering and logistics are built around clip efficiency guaranting maximal use of trade and guaranting services they offer are dependable.

Beginning; Ryanair ( 2013 ).

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic has a repute of quality, whether it is choice in footings of service, intervention of staff or the design of the existent aircraft. The cultural web will be used to place how civilization contributes to competitory advantage of Virgin Atlantic and how its resources are typical to those of its rivals.

Cultural Web & A; Strategy

Corporate civilization and repute are important, intangible resources of an administration that can make sustainable competitory advantage. The cultural web is a diagnostic tool that looks at the internal environment of an administration alining scheme with civilization Johnson ( 2000 ). Seel ( 2000 ) describes the cultural web as six interconnected elements centred round the paradigm ( the administrations core belief ) which constitutes as the work environment. The paradigm is structured on corporate experiences and informs what people in the administration bash and has influence over how alteration should be responded to. Narratives, symbols, power constructions, organizational constructions, control system and ritual & A; modus operandis are the six elements that make up the web and are the focal point of strategic alteration. Each of the elements must be examined in order to derive apprehension of an administrations civilization ( Johnson, 1992 ). Organizational civilization needs to animate invention intending that although civilization demands to be embedded in an administration it needs to besides be flexible in order to accomplish sustainable competitory advantage.

Cultural web of Virgin Atlantic

The paradigm of Virgin Atlantic is reflected in their mission statement; to turn a profitable air hose where people love to work and people love to wing. The nucleus belief of Virgin is presenting choice experience.

Narratives; Most narratives involve Richard Branson ( the laminitis of the virgin trade name ) and frequently associate to his personality or direction manner and portray him as an anti-corporate, advanced hero.

Rituals; Virgin Atlantics central offices are broad, have a relaxed atmosphere and when staff reach developing mileposts they and their households are invited to an event which is frequently attended by Branson himself.

Power Structures; Most determinations and visions are controlled by a driven, close knit group of senior executives

Organizational constructions; Small, focussed squads that work to keep a little company outlook inside a large company.

Control; Financial and public presentation consequences are displayed for everyone to see encouraging and authorising staff to take duty for their public presentation.

Symbols; Branding is smart and slick and conveys the good repute that the trade name Virgin has.

Beginning: Virgin Atlantic ( 2013 )

The cultural web shows how the six elements interact with each other making the nucleus belief of quality and invention.

The VRIO model

Barney ( 1997 ) described strategic resources as; valuable, rare, inimitable and organisable. The VRIO model is a tool an administration can utilize to analyze its internal environment and positions administrations as packages of resources. If these resources are right used so an administration can derive competitory advantage over rivals depending on the four features identified by Barney ( 1997 ) and determines whether the advantage is impermanent or sustainable.

O’riordian ( 2006 ) described four inquiries that need to be asked when placing an administrations resources and capablenesss;

How valuable is the resource?

How rare is the resource?

Can the resource be imitated?

Is the resource organised in an efficient mode?

If the reply is ‘yes ‘ to the above inquiries so the resource offers a competitory advantage over rivals.

When analyzing an administrations resources one of the undermentioned replies occur ( Barney 1997 );

If an administrations resource is non valuable so the house can anticipate to be at competitory disadvantage

If the resource is valuable but non rare competitory para is reached

If the resource is valuable but non rare a competitory advantage is reached but it may merely be impermanent.

If a houses resources are rare, valuable but non dearly-won to copy so impermanent competitory advantage consequences.

If the resources of an administration are valuable rare and dearly-won so a sustained competitory advantage will ensue if the resources are organised decently.

VRIO model of Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic has a figure of resources that help prolong its competitory advantage over rivals. Its trade name and repute are indisputably its strongest resource whereas its client service, geographic location ( in footings of flight finishs ) and human resources are a competitory advantage now, but have the hazard of being imitated in the hereafter.

VRIO Framework of Virgin Atlantic






Competitive Deductions

Virgin Brand





Sustained competitory advantage






Sustained competitory advantage






Impermanent Competitive Advantage

Customer Service





Impermanent Competitive Advantage

Geographic location





Impermanent Competitive Advantage






Impermanent Competitive Advantage

Human resources





Impermanent Competitive Advantage

Beginning: Virgin ( 2013 )

The VRIO model for Virgin Atlantic shows that competitory advantage is gained from at that place resources that are valuable, rare, inimitable and organised. The trade name name Virgin and the ability the name has to raise capital due to Virgins repute are the resources that guarantee sustainable competitory advantage is achieved. Technology, the location of where flights are available to and from and the organizational construction of Virgin are all resources that can make competitory advantage but have the possibility of being imitated by rivals which means the advantage may merely be impermanent.


By researching the schemes of both Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair it is clear that different strategic paths can be taken to accomplish competitory advantage. Both administrations use their resources efficaciously to accomplish their intent. Competitive advantage is about making and prolonging superior public presentation ( Porter, 1998 ). Looking to the future Airline companies will be hold to confront lifting fuel costs and an increasing demographic of consumers who have less disposable income. This could suggest challenges to both administrations. Ryanair focal point on cost efficiency, nevertheless, if fuel monetary values were to lift well they would hold to see ways in which they can go on to present at that place no frills flight service at competitively low monetary value. With respects to Virgin Atlantic they would hold to provide to the consumer with less disposable income by sing how they could better the efficiency of its procedures and activities to appeal to this audience. There is no right manner of organizing a scheme as non one applies to every administration. The most effectual schemes are those that meet the demands of the administration at manus.


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