30 Renewing Competitive Advantage: Lessons from CSL Limited’s Transformation into a Global Pharmaceutical Powerhouse

Ward, M. P. and Osiyevskyy, O.


Renewing competitive advantage is a challenging managerial task that is particularly difficult to achieve for tiny players in established capital-intensive industries. Yet, CSL Limited, a former 78-year-old Australian loss-making government spin-out, continually renewed its competitive advantage in the hostile and turbulent pharmaceutical industry. We show how CSL’s focus on progressive-problem-solving provided the catalyst to overcome organizational inertia and transform itself into a global pharmaceutical powerhouse. Generalizing the findings, we propose a novel business-problem typology and portfolio approach to strategic business problem selection and formulation to discover new value creation opportunities to mitigate the risk of obsolescence.

Keywords: competitive advantage renewal; problem-finding and solving perspective; organizational impediments; progressive-problem-solving; CSL Limited


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