The study undertook an examination of the process, context and organisational
factors that lead to an IS-driven sustainable competitive advantage.
The research contributes theory-based conceptual synthesis and empirical
evidence to an area that has transformed radically over the last fifteen years. The
methodology adopted a pluralistic approach drawing upon both positivism and
interpretist evidence. Care was taken to ensure that the primary research
undertaken in Financial Services, Retailing and Manufacturing was subject to a
variety of validating procedures and controls.
The study identifled a role for the IS derived sustainability model and found that
technology alone did not sustain a performance edge but that it needs to be
combined with complementary resources to create an isolating mechanism. The
work demonstrated that trade secrets, communication links to external
organisations, innovative developments and accessing unique resources were the
source of sustained competitive advantages. The findings also provided evidence
that open culture and communications, workgroup consensus, top management
support and possessing a highly flexible organisation were also important
attributes of non ephemeral IS based advantages. A practical framework was
proposed which allows an organisation to assess the potential of deriving IS
based sustainable competitive advantage from analysing its resources and
capabilities and discusses ways in which those resources and capabilities can be
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.