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Combining Capabilities: A Resource Based Model of ICT Advantage

Significant levels of interest and organisational spending on information and communication technologies (ICT's) have triggered debate as to whether these investments are worthwhile. While there has been some acknowledgement that investments result in positive returns, little is known about how ICT's may lead to competitive advantage. This thesis starts to inform this gap, by investigating how ICT's are combined with other organisational resources in the context of an exemplar organisation. The resource based view (RBV) is used as a framework to guide this study. The RBV is an appropriate lens to guide this research due to its focus on resources and capabilities as sources of advantage. This research employs an interpretive case study design based in an organisation with a long history of innovation and success with regard to ICT's. A grounded integrated model of advantage is presented based on two distinct groupings of integrated capabilities: lifecycle and embedded foundational capabilities. The integrated model of advantage, along with key actions outlined to support such capabilities, provides researchers and practitioners with a new way of understanding ICT based advantages. In essence, this research demonstrates how the total ownership of ICT's, within the case studied, presents a potential advantage. The advantage is realised through the combination of capabilities and the inclusive approach to ICT development employed in the case organisation. The research finds support from propositions of the RBV, in that the model demonstrates sources of advantage are based on organisational capabilities which are valuable, firm specific, and socially complex. As such, the integration of capabilities evident in the integrated model of advantage is a likely source of sustained competitive advantage. This means advantages gained from the integration of capabilities are not easily imitated or competed away. Furthermore, advantages have an even greater potential to be a source of sustained advantage than any single resource or capability. The research has important implications for theory and practice. While many individual sources of advantage have been empirically examined, this research provides one of the first in-depth case studies which identify integrated capabilities. Understanding such sources of advantage will help practitioners better understand and protect key organisational capabilities to sustain or extend competitive advantages.
Type of thesis
Rastrick, K. C. (2008). Combining Capabilities: A Resource Based Model of ICT Advantage (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2611
The University of Waikato
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