A resource is nonsubstitutable when competitors cannot find alternative ways to gain the benefits that a resource provides. A key benefit of Southwest’s culture is that it leads employees to treat customers well, which in turn creates loyalty to Southwest among passengers. Executives at other airlines would love to attract the customer loyalty that Southwest enjoys, but they have yet to find ways to inspire the kind of customer service that the Southwest culture encourages.
111 Mastering Strategic Management
Southwest Airlines’ unique culture is reflected in the customization of their aircraft over the years, such as the “Lone Star One”
Wikimedia Commons – CC BY 2.0.
Ideally, a firm will have a culture, like Southwesta firm will own resources like Southwest’s culture#8217;s, that embraces the four qualities shown in Table 4.1 “Resource-Based Theory: The Basics”. that have all four of these qualities. If so, these resources can provide not only a competitive advantage but also a sustained competitive advantage—one that will endure over time and help the firm stay successful far into the future. Resources that do not have all four qualities can still be very useful, but they are unlikely to provide long-term advantages. A resource that is valuable and rare but that can be imitated, for example, might provide an edge in the short term, but competitors can overcome such an advantage eventually.