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International Journal of Academic Research

Management (IJARM)
Vol. 3, No. 2, 2014, Page: 135-145, ISSN: 2296-1747
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Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage;


A Study of Nigerias Manufacturing Sector

Authors
yahaysani20@yahoo.com
Khartoum, Sudan

Yahaya Sani
Business College, Sudan of Science and Technology University

Abdel- Hafiez Ali Hassaballah


Business College, Business
Science and Technology

Administration,

Sudan

University

of

hafiezali@yahoo.com
Khartoum, Sudan

Muhammad Hassan Hafiz


Business College, Business Administration, Sudan University of Science
and Technology

Khartoum, Sudan

Abstract
Nigeria has allowed itself to be used for all sorts of imported goods from foreign industries and Asian Tigers
in the name of globalization. Consequently, this has greatly affected the capacity utilization of various firms
of the Nigerias manufacturing sector. it is a thing of concern that even the oil which Nigeria produces, part
of it is refined abroad and imported back to the country to meet-up local consumption, the situation
becomes more aggravated due to Nigerians preference for foreign good. The purpose of this study is to
investigate on how Nigerias manufacturing firms could gain and sustain competitive advantage deciding
resource base views value, rareness and inimitability as independent variable according to the study as
Elements of competitive advantage and innovation as dependent variable also known to be sustainable
competitive advantage according to this study. Data were collected through personal questionnaire
from166 manufacturing firms in Nigeria who are Members of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria within
North West and North Central zones with 70% response rate. The results from the study indicated that
there is positive and significant relationship between elements of competitive advantage namely resource
value, resource rareness and resource inimitability with sustainable competitive advantage; innovation.
According to the result manufacturers in Nigeria fully agreed that implementing strategy that leads to value,
rare and inimitable resource yield firms competitive advantage and continues innovation sustained the
advantage. This study adds Knowledge to the theory and practice of sustainable competitive advantage
particularly in Nigerias manufacturing firms. Its theoretical and empirical significance adds more insight on
the previous empirical studies in the field that is to say it gives guidelines to manufacturers in Nigeria on the
application of strategic management. It gives guidelines to manufacturers in Nigeria on the impact of
strategic management approaches on sustainable competitive advantage. For government and firms, the
study provides avenue of enhancing sustainable competitive advantage in Nigeria and Africa as a whole
since the phenomena is general.

Key Words
Resource Base View, competitive advantage, sustainable competitive advantage and Innovation.

in

International Journal of Academic Research in Management


Volume 3, Issue 2, 2014, ISSN: 2296-1747

I. INTRODUCTION
Nigeria has allowed itself to be used for all sorts of imported goods from foreign industries and
Asian Tigers in the name of globalization. Consequently, this has greatly affected the capacity
utilization of various firms of the Nigerias manufacturing sector. Similar view were explained
by Dembele (1998); Sagagi (2004); Aluko, Akinola and Fatakun (2004).
Another serious problem is that if not all greater Nigerians income (national income) is from
the sale of crude oil and its allied which is oscillating from one ill to another, this is posing
difficulty in applying strategic management principles by manufacturers as manufacturing firms
are facing neglect from the regulators. However, it is a thing of concern that even the oil which
Nigeria produces, part of it is refined abroad and imported back to the country to meet-up local
consumption, because the countrys refineries have over the years been operating below capacity
utilization (Daily Trust, 2010). The situation becomes more aggravated due to Nigerians
preference for foreign good (Aluko et al. 2004; Ajayi, 1990).
There are few researches on strategic management in emerge markets i.e. developing economy.
(Hussam and Hussien (2007), as such Manufacturers in Nigeria do not apply properly strategic
management concepts for future development hence this study intends to turn around the minds
of regulators and manufacturers in Nigeria to focus on competitive advantage and push to -words
sustaining it.

II. LITERATURE REVIEW


The pursuit of competitive advantage is indeed an idea that is at the heart of much of the
strategic management literature (Berden, and Proctor (2000); Fahy (2000); Barney (2000a,
2000b, 2007); Lin (2003); Fahy, Ferrelley and Gister (2004); Cousing (2005); Newbert, (2008)
among others. Barney, (1991a) contributes to the discussion by exploring the link between a
firms resources and sustainable competitive advantage. The study concludes that not all firms
resources hold the potential of sustainable competitive advantage instead, they must possess four
attributes: rareness, value, inability to be imitated, and inability to be substituted. Prahalad and
Hamel (1990) the study concludes that firms should combine their resources and skills into core
competencies, loosely defined as that which a firm does distinctively well in relation to
competitors. They also positioned that competitive advantage are realized only when the firm
combines assortments of resources in such a way that they achieve a unique competency or
capability that is valued in the market place. Day and Wensley (1988) focus on two categorical
sources, involved in creating a competitive advantage i.e. superior skills and superior resources.
Other authors have elaborated on the specific skills and resources that can contribute to
sustainable competitive advantage
A companys strategy indicates the choices its managers have made about how to attract and
place customers (value), how to respond to changing conditions and compete successfully and
grow the business (rareness), how to manage each functional piece of the business and develop
needed capability and achieve performance target (inimitability).(Thompson, Strickland, and
Gamble 2005). Managers ability to separate powerful strategy from an ordinary or weak one is
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Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage; A Study of Nigerias Manufacturing Sector


Yahaya Sani, Abdel- Hafiez Ali Hassaballah and Muhammad Hassan Hafiz

their ability to forge series of moves, both in the market place and internally, that makes the
company distinctive as a reason for buyers to prefer its product and or services and produce a
sustainable competitive advantage over rivals. Without competitive advantage a company risk of
being beaten by stronger rivals hence to set strategy that put them apart from rivals in the mane
of achieving sustainable competitive advantage and performance.
A company strategy is viewed as work in progress since most of the times companys strategy
emerges in bits and pieces, the result of changing circumstances, deliberations on management
designs and on going management actions to fine tune their pieces of strategy and to adjust to
certain strategy elements in response to unfolding conditions. Nonetheless, on occasion, fine turning the existing strategy is not enough and major strategy shifts are called for, such as
when a strategy is clearly failing, when a market condition or buyers preferences changes
significantly and new opportunity arises when competitors do something unexpected or when
important technological breakthrough occurs.
Regardless of whether a companys strategy changes gradually or shift, the important point is
that a companys present strategy is temporary (temporary competitive advantage) and on trial,
pending new ideas for improvement from management due to changing environmental
conditions and any other changes in the companys situation that managers believe warrant
strategic adjustment(innovation).

III. FRAMEWORK AND HYPOTHESIS


Based on the literature reviewed the integrative framework of this study is on resources base
view of the firm to determined power of resource value, rareness and resource inimitability on
firms competitive advantage and continuous innovation as a route for sustaining the advantage.
The study examines the elements of competitive advantage in line with resources base view as
the independent variable with three constructs i.e. value, rareness and inimitability as bases for
firms competitive advantage and innovation as an avenue for sustaining the advantage as the
dependent variable. See figure 1
Elements of Competitive Advantage

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Value
Rareness
Inimitability

Innovation

FIGURE 1: CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK


SOURCE: CREATED BY THE STUDY
In this study three main hypothesis were formulated to test the relationship between the

elements of competitive advantage and sustainable competitive advantage i.e. the relationship
between resource value and innovation, between resource rareness and innovation and finally
resource inimitability with innovation.

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International Journal of Academic Research in Management


Volume 3, Issue 2, 2014, ISSN: 2296-1747

According to Porter (1980) that firms must keep on innovating as its revenue stream is
constantly exposed to new competitors, substitute product and so forth. Hoffman (2000) in his
study, solicited that the fundamental basis of long-run success of a firm is the achievement and
maintaining of a sustainable competitive advantage. The study further concludes that knowing
the intense nature of competition today, firms must be more innovative and environment
conscious in their strategic planning than just lowering price. Fahy (2000) concludes that the
essential elements of resource base view are sustainable completive advantage and performance.
Jeroen et al. (2010), affirmed that no sustainable competitive advantage can last forever, but
remains a powerful strategic concept in a short run. They go ahead to say that firms are not
passive; a competitive advantage can be sustained only at the dynamic level through
advantageous dynamic capabilities or innovation.
Fiol (2001) argues that both the
skill/resources and the way organization use them, must constantly change, leading to the
creation of continuously changing temporary advantage, that is to say every sustainable
competitive advantage must eventually be competed away over time.
Burney et al. (2001), conclude that in a dynamic environment firms cannot derive
sustainable competitive advantage from a static set of resources. Resource base views logic
applies at must to dynamic capabilities as to the firms other resources, enable the firm to adopt
faster than its competitors. Firm must keep on innovating as its revenue stream is constantly
exposed to new competitors, substitute product and so forth (Porter, 1980). Resource base view
has emerged to help companies compete more effectively in the ever changing and globalizing
environment, it view competence, capabilities and skill or strategic assets as a sources of
sustainable competitive advantage for the firm (Mabey et al. 1998).
Hoffmann (2000), confirms that the fundamental basis of long-run success of a firm is the
achievement and maintaining of a sustainable competitive advantage. The study concludes that
knowing the intense nature of competitors today, firms must be more innovative and
environment conscious in their strategic planning than just lowering price. Based on the above
discussion the following hypotheses are generated:
H1 There is positive relationship between resources value and innovation
H2 There is positive relationship between resource rareness and innovation
H3 There is positive relationship between resources inimitability with innovation

IV. RESEARCH DESIGN


The study considers a survey method being a popular and common strategy in business
research, because it allows for the collection of large amount of data from sizable population in a
highly economical way. Therefore, this research considers questionnaire tool for data collections.
Sunders et al. (2007), are of the opinion that research project for academic courses are time
constrained, therefore in this study due to time management a cross-sectional strategy is
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Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage; A Study of Nigerias Manufacturing Sector


Yahaya Sani, Abdel- Hafiez Ali Hassaballah and Muhammad Hassan Hafiz

employed, a study in which a group of individuals are composed into one large sample and
studied only at a single point in time.
This research selects a cross-sectional approach which is a dominant method in marketing
research and the questionnaire survey approach which sounds most appropriate means of
collecting data from the manufacturing firms in Nigeria.

V. VI. DATA ANALYSIS


A total of 166 questionnaires were distributed to and personally administered on the
respondents. A total of 116 questionnaires were collected, the overall response rate was 70% and
to ensure the goodness of measurement exploratory factor analysis (principal component
analysis) was conducted on elements of competitive advantage and innovation. In addition
reliability test (Cronbachs Alpha) was done to measure the internal consistency of the items used
on the questionnaire. These two methods were very important to assess the goodness of the
measures (Sekaran, 2003). Correlation test was conducted to measure the relationship among
the variable and regression analysis was also run in the study in order to test the relevance of
the hypotheses.
Table 1 presents the result of factor analysis on Inimitability measured by 4 questions,
Rareness 2 questions and Value also 2 questions. This result had been achieved after deleting
various items for insufficient correlation (MSA <0.50). The (KMO) was .74 and Bartlett test of
sphericity was significant, both indicate significant correlation for factor analysis. From table 1,
the result of the analysis, shows three loading factors ranging from .82 -. .71, Factor one 4
questions, factor two 2 questions and factor three 2 question also. The factors cumulatively
captured 70% of the total variance in the data. All items had loading above 0.05 with Eigen
value 3.3 for factor one, factors two 1.2 and factor three 1.05. The factors are subject to varimax
rotation and the original names of the 3 factors remain. The reliability value (Cronbachs alpha)
for Inimitability were (.83), Rareness (.61) and value (.70). All assumptions were satisfactorily
fulfilled. All the remaining items had more than recommended value of at least 0.50 in MSA with
KMO value of .74 (above the recommended minimum level of 0.60), and Bartletts test of
sphericity is significant (p<.01) Eigenvalue above 1. . This indicated that elements of
competitive advantage according to manufacturers in Nigeria were 3 i.e. inimitability, rareness
and value.
TABLE 1: FACTOR AND RELIABILITY ANALYSIS ON ELEMENT OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Variable and Question items

F1

Factor Loading
F2

F3

Inimitability
Our resources are difficult to describe in terms of how we
create them by competitors
It is difficult for customers to imitate us given unique social
characteristic of our firm.
My firm has historical record of difficulty of imitation by
others.
We provide each customer with personalized service.
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.82

.011

.074

.81

.223

.186

.72

.086

.141

.71

.303

.271

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International Journal of Academic Research in Management


Volume 3, Issue 2, 2014, ISSN: 2296-1747

Variable and Question items

F1

Factor Loading
F2

Rareness
My company has abundant of such resources
.114
My firms resources are difficult to imitate
.127
Value
My firm offers superior customer satisfaction
.149
My firm has the ability to adopt and learn as circumstances
.125
changes.
% of variance explain
31
Eigen value
3.32
Reliability
.82
Variables loaded significantly on factor with Coefficient of at least 0.5, * Items
loading

F3

.80
.73

.001
.204

.121

.81

.073

.71

20.1
19.2
1.20
1.05
.71
.70
deleted due to high cross

TABLE 2: INTER CORRELATION OF VARIABLES


Variables
Mean
Inimitability 3.55
Rareness
3.70
Value
4.15
Innovation
3.78
***p<0.01 and **p<0.05

S/Deviation
.891
.900
.561
.827

Inimitability
1.00
.400***
.377***
.519***

Rareness
.400***
1.00
.282**
.252**

Value
.377***
.282**
1.00
.412***

Innovation
.519***
.252**
.412***
1.00

Table 3 above shows the result of the inter correlations among the variables. The tables
indicated that the mean value for both variables is above average indicating that they are
positively and sufficiently correlated with each other. The table shows that inimitability is
positively and significantly correlated with rareness (r=.400*** P-value <0.01) and inimitability
is positively and significantly correlated with value (r=.337*** p-value <0.01), the test indicated
further inimitability is sufficiently correlates with innovation (r=.519*** p-value <0.01). From
the correlation test Rareness is positively and significantly correlates with value (r=.282** pvalue <0.05) also rareness is positively and significantly correlates with innovation (r=.252**pvalue <0.05). From the same test the correlation table shows that value is positively and
significantly correlates with innovation (r=.412***p-value <0.01). Therefore both independents
and the dependents variable of this study are sufficiently correlated.

VI. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Testing the relationship between Elements of Competitive advantage (Value, Rareness and
Inimitability) as independent variable and Innovation as dependent variable, hierarchical
regression equation as shown in table 2 tested the influence of elements of competitive advantage
in enhancing sustainable competitive advantage (innovation). The table shows that elements of
competitive advantage cumulatively contributed 30% of the variance in innovation. It further
shows positive and significant relationship between the variables. Thus H.1 (value and
innovation) and H3 (Inimitability
and Innovation) were accepted, while H2 (Rareness and
Innovation) was rejected

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Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage; A Study of Nigerias Manufacturing Sector


Yahaya Sani, Abdel- Hafiez Ali Hassaballah and Muhammad Hassan Hafiz

E. TABLE 3 MULTIPLE REGRESSIONS: INFLUENCE OF ELEMENTS OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN SUSTAINABLE


COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE (INNOVATION) (BETA COEFFICIENT)
Variables
Value
Rareness
Inimitability
R2
Adjusted R2
R
F change
Significant level **p<0.01

Innovation
.264**
.005
.388**
.291
.278
.291
15.780**

Therefore the regression coefficient from the above table indicated that the independent
variable inimitability is the most important in explaining the variance in innovation with (=.39)
followed by Value (=.26).
Regarding the relationship between element of competitive advantage (value rareness and
inimitability) which is the independent variable and sustainable competitive advantage
(innovation) the dependent variable, the results indicated that there is positive and significant
relationship between the variables. Element of competitive advantage value has positive and
significant relationship with sustainable competitive advantage (innovation). The finding follows
the same track with previous research findings. (e g Barney, 1986,1991; Peteraf, 1993; Fahy,
2000; Clulow et al 2007) they explore the link between resource and sustainable competitive
advantage, that not all firms resources hold the potential of sustaining competitive advantage,
instead they must be rare, valuable and difficult to imitate.
Similarly, Morgan and Hunt (1996); Bharadwaj, Rajan and Fahy (1993) posited that specific
combination of skills and resources that are unique and specialized are of greater importance to
innovation as source of sustainable completive advantage. Also studies such as those from
Hoffmann (2000); Fahy (2004); Eva and Alena (2010); have shown positive relationship with
findings of this study. Manufacturers in Nigeria recognized the fruits of creating valuable
resources as a road to sustainable competitive advantage through continued innovation.
Looking at the relationship between element of competitive advantage Rareness and
sustainable competitive advantage Innovation, the result from the study indicates negative
relationship, this could not be divorced from the attitude of manufacturers in Nigeria who share
their resource secret with other firms, as they form informal unions among themselves where
they meet and discuss issues of their common concerns and solve problems.
The research findings went ahead to disclosed the relationship between element of competitive
advantage inimitability and sustainable completive advantage innovation, the result indicated
positive relationship between the variables. The finding is not a surprise as similar positive
findings were identified from previous studies (e.g. Eva, and Alena, 2010; Jeroen et al. 2010;
Barney, 1986, 1991; Peteraf, 1993; Rumelt, 1984) they positioned that new knowledge about
strategic management is connected with education and innovation as a source of sustainable
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International Journal of Academic Research in Management


Volume 3, Issue 2, 2014, ISSN: 2296-1747

competitive advantage. Burney (1991) further elaborates that potentials to generate sustainable
competitive advantage, a firm resource must have some attributes i.e. it must be valuable, in the
sense that it exploit opportunities and neutralized threat in a firm environment, it must be rare
among a firms current and potential competitors and it must be imperfectly imitable. Also
studies such as that of Fahy (2000); Lin (2003); Conner (1991) all showed positive relationship
between inimitability and sustainable competitive advantage (innovation). This positive result
shows that manufacturers in Nigeria recognized that resources inimitability as a way that could
lead to sustainable competitive advantage. This further shows that manufacturers in Nigeria
were much concerned about resources imitations.

VII. THEORETICAL AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS


This result is consistent with Resource Base View which states that a firm is said to have
competitive advantage when it is implementing a value creating strategy not implemented
simultaneously by any current or potential player. This study of manufacturing firms in Nigeria
contributes and supports the theory and various studies carried out by several scholars in the
area of resource base view, above all its contributions to the Nigerias firms and theory as well as
to emerging economies.
The findings also provided evidence of relationship between elements of competitive advantage
(Value, Rareness and Inimitability) and sustainable competitive advantage (Innovation). This
was found in Barney (1991); Newbert (2008) among other that are advocated of resource base
view, that firm must identified and implement resource- based strategy (Value, Rareness and
Inimitability) to sustain competitive advantage in producing product with more benefits inform of
unique features (innovation). This study also support the view of sustainable competitive
advantages as its finding contributes to the area of sustainable competitive advantage
The findings encouraged managers that, competitive advantage should be enhanced to proceed
to the next level i.e. sustainable competitive advantage considering the environmental dynamism
in such issues like technological changes among others. The findings from this study indicated
that Manufacturers in Nigeria adopt proper implementation and control of value creating, rare
and inimitable strategy which leads to sustainable competitive advantage in form of innovation,
therefore they should continue with similar effort non-stop in the name of turning around the
Nigerias manufacturing sector and the attainment of its vision 20: 20: 20.
Furthermore, the findings of this study indicated that regulators in Nigeria paid much
attention to one sector of the economy that is crude oil production giving less priority to
manufacturing sector, therefore it is very important based on the findings of this, for firms or
economy to achieve sustainable competitive advantage which requires proper application of
strategic management techniques, in essence giving due concern to the manufacturing sector,

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Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage; A Study of Nigerias Manufacturing Sector


Yahaya Sani, Abdel- Hafiez Ali Hassaballah and Muhammad Hassan Hafiz

VIII. LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH


There are number of issues that could be addressed in future researches aimed at developing a
kind of comprehensive understanding of the impact of strategic management elements in
enhancing sustainable competitive advantage in Nigerias manufacturing firms. This stands a
clear limitation for the study due to its inability to include service industry too. Hence future
researches should consider
other areas such as service firms among others with similar
framework.
The study is supposed to cover the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, but due to the time
constraints and financial implications, the study sampled two zones i.e. North West and North
Central. Therefore, similar study could be conducted in other zones particularly South West
where there are concentrations of companies equally. Further study can use the strategic
orientation (cost, focus and differentiation) using the same framework as the mediator between
independent variable and the dependent variable to compare with the findings from this study,
also future study to include all the elements of completive advantage giving much concern to
resource rareness, since this study could not isolate positive relationship with the dependent
variable and compare the findings.

IX. CONCLUSION
The main aim of this study was to examine firms resources power (Value, Rareness and
Inimitability) creating competitive advantage and means of upgrading it to sustainable
competitive advantage through Innovation in the Nigerias manufacturing firms. Manufacturers
in Nigeria appreciated resource value and resource inimitable as a means of creating firms
competitive advantage as well as means of sustaining the advantage through innovations.
Furthermore, the study on enhancing sustainable competitive advantage in the Nigerias
manufacturing sector discovered that resources based view theory has impacted on firms
competitive advantage as well as sustaining the advantage further. This has been seen from
various past researches and the findings from this study also supported the theory. The study
encourages managers and government in the utilization of the concept of strategic management
in the name of sustaining competitive advantage, and also solicits future studies to be conducted
to include all the element of competitive advantage and much attention be paid to resource
rareness. The findings provided empirical support for the theoretical framework, demonstrating
the fact that the study had sufficiently addressed the research questions. The study also
highlighted the implication, limitations and suggestions for future research.

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Volume 3, Issue 2, 2014, ISSN: 2296-1747

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Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage; A Study of Nigerias Manufacturing Sector


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