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Big data and competitive advantage at Nielsen

Michael E. Prescott (Independent Researcher, Gainesville, Florida, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how an international company, Nielsen Holdings, reacted to changes in their highly competitive industry brought about by advances in technology. This case presents the strategic management decisions that enabled Nielsen to regain its competitive advantage. This case further describes the functioning of the resource-based view (RBV) of strategy, dynamic capabilities framework, and digital data genesis (DDG), in a turbulent business environment.


The case study is based primarily upon secondary data to include annual reports, press releases, company web site, as well as articles.


The case study provides an example of the functioning of a once durable competitive advantage that was eroded due to advances in technology, and the steps the company took to regain that advantage. The paper illustrates the functioning of a capability and a dynamic capability in DDG.

Practical implications

This case can be used for the teaching of decision making, business strategy, the RBV of strategy, dynamics capabilities, and DDG.


This paper provides an example of the functioning of the capability and dynamic capability of DDG.



E. Prescott, M. (2014), "Big data and competitive advantage at Nielsen", Management Decision, Vol. 52 No. 3, pp. 573-601.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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