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The sustainable competitive advantage model for corporate real estate

Christopher Heywood (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Russell Kenley (Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Corporate Real Estate

ISSN: 1463-001X

Article publication date: 9 May 2008




This purpose of this paper is to propose a model for the relationship between corporate real estate management (CREM) practices and an organisation's sustainable competitive advantage. Corporate real estate (CRE) plays an important but poorly recognised role in organisational competitiveness.


The model was developed from the strategic management, organisational competitiveness, and CRE literatures. A total of 162 CREM practices from the literature were connected, where possible, with cost, innovation and differentiation sources of sustainable competitive advantage. Clustering similar practices allowed the summarising of competitive effects in those clusters and each of the sources of sustainable competitive advantage. Technical CREM practices were the focus of analysis as they constitute the traditional core of CREM.


Many gaps were identified in the theoretical connections between practices and sources of sustainable competitive advantage. Overall, cost dominated as the mode of competition most affected by the practices. Cost, innovation and differentiation made roughly equivalent positive contributions, but cost was most negatively affected by CREM practices.

Research limitations/implications

The model is conceptual and provides a framework for aligning CREM practices with an organisation's competitive strategies, to build CRE‐based strategic capabilities for competitiveness, and to optimise practices' competitive effects. The holistic model directly links core CRE techniques with business outcomes and establishes a framework for further exploration of this important relationship.


Organisational competitiveness, CRE, and CREM are seldom studied. This paper provides a useful connecting framework for CRE researchers and practitioners to research and advance efforts to realise CRE value for organisations.



Heywood, C. and Kenley, R. (2008), "The sustainable competitive advantage model for corporate real estate", Journal of Corporate Real Estate, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 85-109.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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