Configurational Conditions and Sustained Competitive Advantage: A fsQCA approach

Dongmei Cao, Yichuan Wang, Nigel Berkeley, Benny Tjahjono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional manufacturing firms in emerging markets such as China are increasingly facing the challenge of digital transformation for Sustained Competitive Advantage (SCA). Underpinned by the resource orchestration theory, this study posits that organisational resources (relational and technological), transformation capability, and organisational characteristics are configurational conditions for SCA. Using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA), this study reveals multiple pathways – configurational resources and capabilities in sets of necessary and sufficient conditions – leading to SCA in a sample of 206 Chinese clothing manufacturing firms. Results suggest that relational resources are a necessary condition that fundamentally drives SCA; small firms can achieve SCA by combining relational resources and transformation capability, while portfolio technological resources are sufficient for large firms. For organisations with higher levels of global market engagement, both relational and portfolio technological resources are essential for achieving SCA. This study enhances understanding of the interdependence of the causal conditions (e.g., organisational resources and capability) in set relations with the outcome of SCA in different firms considering their size and level of global market engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102131
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge National Social Science Foundation of China for the financial support under Grant number [19BJL039].

Funding Information:
Dr Benny Tjahjono is Professor of Sustainability and Supply Chain Management, and co-leader of the Sustainable Production and Consumption research cluster at the Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University. He has established an overarching research area in Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management. His research track record has been demonstrated by winning a number of research grants from the UK Engineering & Physical Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, European Union and private sectors. His research has been disseminated in the International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Production Research, Production Planning and Control, Computers in Industry, etc.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


National Social Science Foundation of China for the financial support under Grant number [19BJL039].


  • Relational and portfolio technological resources
  • Transformation capability
  • fsQCA
  • Sustained competitive advantage
  • Industry 4.0
  • Global market engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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