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Sources of competitiveness for logistics service providers: a UK industry perspective

Liu, Xiaohong; McKinnon, Alan C.; Grant, David B.; Feng, Yuanhua


Xiaohong Liu

Alan C. McKinnon

David B. Grant

Yuanhua Feng


This paper empirically examines perceptions on the sources of competitiveness for logistics service providers (LSPs) drawing on two influential theories of strategic management, Porter’s competitive advantage theory and the resource-based view (RBV). In contrast to most previous studies of third-party logistics which have viewed the subject from the user’s perspective, this study investigates the perceptions of competitiveness primarily from the LSP’s point of view. It is based on questionnaire data which was collected from UK LSP managers. Standard statistical techniques were applied for the analysis. The empirical results reveal that capabilities are considered most important among the factors of competitiveness suggested by theory. The most critical aspect of an LSP’s capabilities was found to be the service quality capability. At a more theoretical level, the study adds new evidence on the relative explanatory power of the two theories of strategic management used: it indicates that the RBV is the more appropriate in the context given, suggesting that capabilities (i.e., endogenous factor) inside companies are more important in leading to an LSP’s competitiveness and need greater attention than the environmental factors.


Liu, X., McKinnon, A. C., Grant, D. B., & Feng, Y. (2010). Sources of competitiveness for logistics service providers: a UK industry perspective. Logistics Research, 2(1), 23-32.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 22, 2010
Online Publication Date Mar 14, 2010
Publication Date 2010-06
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2018
Journal Logistics Research
Print ISSN 1865-035X
Electronic ISSN 1865-0368
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 1
Pages 23-32
Keywords Logistics service providers; Competitiveness; Capabilities; Resource-based view; Porter’s competitive advantage theory; Logistics; Supply Chain Management
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