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Unsuccessful Application: Example Four


  • The writer uses too many outdated resources (from 1991 to 2002).
  • The paper does not have any structural elements. No introduction or conclusion. It is difficult to follow the writer’s logic and argument.
  • There is no research question or aim. It is unclear what the writer tried to accomplish with this essay.
  • There is a lack of focus in the paper.
  • The work is not sufficiently critical and too descriptive.
  • The allowed word count (500 words) was exceeded by 36 words.
  • Some references are included in the reference list, but are missing from the text body.
  • Too lengthy and complex sentences.
  • The writer did not follow the formatting of the Harvard referencing style (italics for journal titles).


Essay: Factors Affecting the Organisational Ability to Create Competitive Advantage

Hitt et al. (1998, p. 22) carry out the research aimed at evaluation of the resource-based view perspective. The researchers pay attention to such resources of companies as skills and capabilities. The development of technologies can be identified as an important and necessary factor for achieving competitive advantage for such companies as Apple, Sony, Adobe, Google, companies that are totally dependent on technology development (Barney, 1991, p. 99).


In contrast to Porter’s (1998, p. 33) theory, Hitt et al. (1998, p. 22) state that competitive advantage can be gained from producing goods of high quality and selling them at low prices. The finding by Hitt et al. (1998, p. 22) is explained by the fact that competitors can be hardly examined and analysed and companies have to operate with insufficient information about the future development of the market. In this case, the importance of pricing plays an important role as there are possibilities that competitors may provide consumers with similar products but at lower prices. Policies of pricing are one of the factors that are significantly important for companies aimed at creating short-term competitive advantage (Hitt et al., 1998, p. 22). The main gap of Hitt’s et al. (1998, p. 33) is insufficient attention to the difference between large, medium and small companies and the scholars do not consider how creation of competitive advantage in the context of labour resources depends on the term of competitive advantage.


The gap of Hitt’s (1998, p. 22) can be bridged by discussing the research carried out by Bharadwaj et al. (1993, p. 83). Bharadwaj et al. (1993, p. 83) examine development of competitive advantage basing on the examples of service industry. The researchers find out that the development of short-term competitive advantage is mostly aimed at gaining quick profit that can be used for investments in other projects. Bharadwaj et al. (1993, p. 83) claim that aiming at long-term competitive advantage, firms should introduce strategic planning. Moreover, the scholars define such important elements of creating competitive advantage as risk management and organisational control. Both of identified factors are inherent for long-term and short-term competitive advantage (Ma, 1999, p. 259). The scholars state that competitive advantage and strategic planning have close interaction with risks as the core role in the development of any company is played by it abilities to introduce changes in technologies, escalation or producing goods with new competitive characteristics.


An insurance firm namely USAA introducing IT technologies to image documents decrease the necessity of employees from five to one. In turn, the ability of the company to find necessary information in a shorter period of time increases customer satisfaction with services and the number of regular customer. Another example of successful creation of competitive advantage is McKesson. McKesson is a large pharmaceutical distributor and health care information technology company. The company manages to gain its competitive advantage by providing customers with additional services and enhancing its capabilities. The success of the company is not only in its abilities to stay ahead of competitors, but also in the fact that it is indispensable for many customers. The main limitation of the research by Bharadwaj et al. (1993, p. 83) can be identified as ten years of its age.



Barney, J. (1991) “Firm resources and the theory of competitive advantage”, Journal of Management, 17 (1), pp. 99-120.

Bharadwaj, S., Varadarajan, P. and Fahy, J. (1993) “Sustainable competitive advantage in service industries: a conceptual model and research propositions”, Journal of Marketing, 57 (4), pp. 83-99.

Cockburn, I., Henderson, R. and Stern, S. (2000) “Untangling the Origins of Competitive Advantage”, Strategic Management Journal, 1 (1), pp. 1-46.

Hitt, M., Keats, B. and DeMaiie, S. (1998) “Navigating in the new competitive landscape: building strategic flexibility and competitive advantage in the 21st century”, Academy of Management Executive, 12 (4), pp. 22-42.

Ma, H. (1999) “Creation and pre-emption for competitive advantage”, Management Decision, 37 (3), pp. 259-267.

Ma, H. (2002) “Competitive advantage: what’s luck got to do with it?”, Management Decision, 40 (6), pp. 525-536.

Passemard, D. and Kleiner, B. (2000) “Competitive advantage in global industries”, Management Research News, 23 (7), pp.111-117.

Porter, M. (1998) Competitive advantage: creating and sustaining superior performance, New York: Simon and Schuster.