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Rhetorical history as a source of competitive advantage

The Globalization of Strategy Research

ISBN: 978-1-84950-898-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-899-5

Publication date: 9 July 2010


This paper develops a framework for understanding history as a source of competitive advantage. Prior research suggests that some firms enjoy preferential access to resources as a result of their past. Historians, by contrast, understand past events as more than an objective account of reality. History also has an interpretive function. History is a social and rhetorical construction that can be shaped and manipulated to motivate, persuade, and frame action, both within and outside an organization. Viewed as a malleable construct, the capacity to manage history can, itself, be a rare and inimitable resource.


Suddaby, R., Foster, W.M. and Quinn Trank, C. (2010), "Rhetorical history as a source of competitive advantage", Joel A.C., B. and Lampel, J. (Ed.) The Globalization of Strategy Research (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 147-173.



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