A comparative case study of sustaining quality as a competitive advantage

Hung Chung Su, Kevin W Linderman, Roger G Schroeder, Andrew H. Van De Ven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Many organizations have achieved high levels of quality performance only to lose it later on. These firms that were once quality leaders can no longer compete on the quality of their products or services. This research develops a theoretical understanding of how organizations can sustain a quality advantage. It offers a conceptual definition of sustaining a quality advantage which involves not only sustaining a high level of quality performance, but also sustaining a high consistency of quality performance. A comparative case study provides evidence of three capabilities that distinguish firms with different levels of sustaining quality. These capabilities include: (1) meta-learning, (2) sensing weak signals, and (3) resilience to quality disruptions. The case analysis argues that meta-learning helps sustain a high level of quality performance, while sensing weak signals and resilience improves the consistency of quality performance. This study offers a dynamic capability-based strategy that explains how to sustain a competitive advantage in quality, which may also have implications for sustaining other operational competitive advantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-445
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Operations strategy
  • Quality Management
  • Red Queen Effect


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparative case study of sustaining quality as a competitive advantage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this