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Transient advantage in, Sustainable advantage out?


I pre-ordered and read the book, The End of Competitive Advantage. Author Rita McGrath presented the "Leading change" program I attended at Columbia Business School in 2008. More interestingly, among the companies she researched for the book, my former employer Cognizant is at the top of the list (and I had spent 11 years there)!

The book is about a strategy that is already getting into business dictionaries: transient advantage (versus sustainable advantage, which is what Porter and others taught us).

"From the many global cases discussed (one of them is my former employer), it is clear that transient advantage is increasingly used to achieve business growth and success. Professor McGrath not only shares transient principles with LEADERS, but – importantly – provides information that can help EMPLOYEES to prepare for successful careers in organizations that use transient principles." The preceding is a copy/paste of my review at
The book largely represents a company's perspective – how to use transient advantage as a strategy for growth even in difficult times. That's good and I agree with the argument. What I'd also like to see going forward (and this could come from other researchers) is:
  • What is the impact on customers? How does the transient approach change the value and experience customers receive?
  • What is the impact on employees? The book does say how employees should change, using very desirable analogies such as Olympians, but what do employees think? What do they feel about the change experience?
But don't wait for these details, start with Prof Rita's book!


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