Revisiting the concept of competitive advantage

Christos Sigalas (Department of Management & Business Administration, University of Piraeus, Athens, Greece)
Victoria Pekka Economou (Department of Management & Business Administration, University of Piraeus, Athens, Greece)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Publication date: 15 February 2013



Although competitive advantage is the cornerstone concept in strategic management it still remains a poorly defined and operationalized construct. The purpose of this paper is to revisit the concept of competitive advantage, to identify the problems that stem from its current conceptualization from the majority of the literature.


The paper undertakes an extensive literature review, audit of logical inference, syllogistic reasoning and Bayesian expressions in order to examine the problems associated with the current conceptualizations of competitive advantage.


Several drawbacks and fallacies relating to current conceptualizations of competitive advantage were identified that create an urgent need for a more robust definition which could better serve the needs of both empirical research and management practice.

Research limitations/implications

The authors by no means claim that the literature review undertaken in this paper on the concept of competitive advantage and on the problems derived from its conceptualization was exhaustive or absolute. Rather, this paper constitutes an attempt to stimulate efforts and provide directions on the further conceptual development of competitive advantage.

Practical implications

The findings allow practising managers to not necessarily associate competitive advantage with its sources and with the determinants of superior performance.


The findings contribute to the evolution of the strategic management field by identifying, categorizing and mapping potential problems, drawbacks and fallacies, associated with the conceptualization of competitive advantage as currently delineated in the literature, and by suggesting some criteria for the development of a conceptually more robust definition.



Sigalas, C. and Pekka Economou, V. (2013), "Revisiting the concept of competitive advantage", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 61-80.

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