Configurational Conditions and Sustained Competitive Advantage: A fsQCA approach

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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
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalLong Range Planning
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 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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