The term ‘competitive advantage’ is frequently used in academia and practice, but does it mean the same thing? Academics are concerned about the gap between academia and practice. This paper reveals the nature of the gap by comparing the social representations of competitive advantage in both settings. Based on empirical comparisons of academic articles and practitioner annual reports, the analysis reveals surprising similarities and crucial differences. For example, both portray competitive advantage as tangible and favour internal causes generated by the organisation; but practitioners favour strong claims about simple causal chains, whereas academics favour hedged claims about complex causal chains. Based on these findings, tactics are recommended to bridge the academic to practitioner gap.
- Competitive advantage
- Social representation