Aligning for Advantage argues that to build and sustain business success, companies must synchronize competitive strategies with extant strategies for social engagement and political and regulatory activism. Moreover, to be credible and realizable, these external market and nonmarket strategies need to be equally attuned with, and informed by, the internal corporate vision, values, and culture. The ability to align with and across both the market and the nonmarket is a key determinant of competitive advantage in a multipolar world economy.
The book advances a managerial process and conceptual framework for aligning a company's business objectives and market positions with its political requirements and social obligations. Strategic alignment is a pragmatic and proactive approach for modern enterprises to engage with the forces and events that impact on their business choices and actions, both at home and abroad. Companies must strive for a balanced and mutually reinforcing approach to corporate strategy, political activity, and social responsibility. In some cases alignment may mean deep, strategically embedded partnerships with governments, NGOs, or other stakeholders. In others, alignment may take the form of looser, more ad hoc collaborations with outside organizations and institutions. No matter what the approach, however, the relationship between nonmarket and market strategies should be conscious and deliberate, not accidental nor artificially constructed. Truly aligned strategies seek to reconcile and modulate the sometimes conflicting external demands that a company encounters. This is done in a way that is appropriate for the firm's geographic and market positions while at the same time leveraging the overall nonmarket strategy as a source of competitive advantage.