Title: Design as a source of international competitive advantage for SMOPEC firms

Authors: Yang Liu; Taru Nousiainen; Shpend Imeri

Addresses: Department of Production, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland ' Department of Marketing, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland ' LEORON Professional Development Institute, P.O. Box 390 601, Dubai, UAE

Abstract: Since the rise of the international markets, firms need to be more creative and dynamic in order to gain success internationally. Design as an intangible non-price factor offers efficiently a unique way to achieve an international competitive advantage over competitors. This study presents theoretical consideration of design, its dimensions, and how design can provide a distinct competitive advantage in ever-increasing global competition. The theoretical consideration helps form a conceptual framework, conducted by descriptive research, emphasising the internal and external influences that affect the ways of using design as a source of international competitive advantage amongst small and open economies (SMOPECs). This study has found that design resource as firm's internal resource needs to be valuable and rare, and offer a unique way to generate a value creating competitive strategy. To get the utmost benefits of design, it should be used strategically and linked to a firm's business strategy and other key functions. The theoretical consideration further showed explicitly that a positive correlation exists between design and firm's business success. However, it becomes clear that there are differences between the insight of knowledge and the reality of using it.

Keywords: design process; design resources; innovation; learning; competitive advantage; small and open economies; SMOPEC; industrial design; product design; RBV; resource based view.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2015.071497

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2015 Vol.18 No.3, pp.277 - 298

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 24 Aug 2015 *

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