University of Twente Student Theses


Sustainable competitive advantage at Atlas North America

Pieterman, Erik van de (2012) Sustainable competitive advantage at Atlas North America.

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Abstract:This paper is the result of my bachelorthesis about growth at Atlas North America, a subsidiary of the Atlas Elektronik Group. The objective of this research is to analyze the company based on the resource based view, extend it with the concepts of dynamic capabilities and core competencies, and subsequently look for possibilities for growth. Taking on the resource based perspective means that the level of analysis is the input of the production process, the resources and capabilities which are used to compete in the market. This is a different view than looking at the factors of the industry in which the firm competes. The advantage of the RBV is that resources which contribute, or have the potential to contribute to financial performance can be identified. Management has often more control over the resources of the firm than over the industry factors which shape the competitive environment. The disadvantage however is that it gives an incomplete picture of the company, leaving out micro and macro environmental factors which can have considerable impact on the firm. The objective for the management is to achieve growth, which is defined as an increase in financial performance. In order to advice the management on how to achieve this growth, a theoretical framework discussing the relevant concepts and theories was set up. Following that, measurement instruments were developed to identify and measure the theoretical concepts such as resources, dynamic capabilities and core competences. The data about these concepts which was collected using these measurement instruments was analyzed. This resulted in several conclusions, from which the most important findings and recommendations for the management are summarized below.  The relationships which groups of employees within Atlas NA have with the environment are considered very valuable to the company, and difficult for competitors to imitate. This resource has the ability to provide a sustainable competitive advantage, and management should be aware of the importance of these relationships.  Hire employees who have a network of relationships with the environment, and have knowledge and experience in the industry. Employees who possess these attributes will contribute considerably to the financial performance of the firm.  Atlas North America should not rely too heavily on the technology from the headquarters in Germany. This technology is likely to be substituted by competitors in the future.  Increase the complexity of the relationship with the headquarters to acquire knowledge, so that it becomes a sustainable competitive advantage. Increasing the complexity of the relationship will increase the sustainability of the resources.  Focus on the capabilities of integrating resources to further improve the quality of the service for the customers. Service is an area in which Atlas North America excels and adds significant value for the customer.  Develop dynamic capabilities which can replace the formal procedures for attracting new resources. Formal procedures for attracting resources are too structured in an environment which is subject to rapid change. Management routines should replace these procedures.  Atlas North America should align their competences in the service provision with the rest of the business units in order to make the service provision a core competency. This will allow them to access new markets and increase their business.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Atlas North America
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration BSc (56834)
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