Can BT's Strategy Deliver Sustainable Competitive Advantage?
Hillier, Stephen (2006) Can BT's Strategy Deliver Sustainable Competitive Advantage? [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)
This study focuses on competitive advantage or more specifically sustained competitive advantage in the telecommunications industry. Given the past 30 years of thinking and theory there is an abundance of knowledge regarding the methodologies from which a firm may derive such an advantage, whether it is competing in a relatively stable marketplace or addressing the challenges of rapid industry change characterised by what some may describe as hypercompetition. Much of our current thinking relates to a marketplace created through open competition where position and resource can be freely sought or applied to create a competitive strategy from which to derive a competitive advantage. But what additional challenges are there, particularly for the incumbent, when such freedom is lacking as a result of an environment created by virtue of strong, and some may argue excessive, regulatory constraint? By examining the strategy of the former UK monopoly operator BT I have set out to identify and understand how such regulation impacts on the firm's strategy and the subsequent choices it may or may not have to create and maintain a superior position within the rapidly converging industries of telecommunications and IT. The effectiveness of the firm's strategy is considered by means of case study as well as through the lens of academic theory and thinking. The results suggest that the firm has squandered the advantage it once had and enjoyed. A lack of ongoing foresight coupled with the absence of flexibility during implementation has undermined an otherwise robust strategy. As a consequence the deficit of improbity and organisational agility with which to seize competitive advantage from both existing as well as emerging market opportunity has now resulted in the firm's long-term transformational goals and future to hang precariously in the balance.
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