根据OLI所有权、区位和国际化框架，竞争优势的三个潜在来源分别是企业特有的、成本特有的和国际化的优势。然而，OLI因素也被认为受到在国外运营公司相关成本的影响，因此员工培训等也变得至关重要。日本汽车制造商采用的以时间和金钱投资为形式的激励策略，被视为一种有效的国际化战略。当一家公司采用了一种能提高其整体生产力的战略，如果这种战略没有被任何其他公司采用，那么可以说这家公司已经固定了它的竞争优势。在这种背景下，一个持续的竞争优势是一个公司的竞争对手将无法实现的，即使他们模仿的战略已经被使用的公司。在人力资源方面的投资，日本汽车制造商如日产和丰田被认为建立了一个持续的竞争优势，即使是它的潜在竞争对手在那个时代也无法想到模仿(Lieberman, and Demeester, 1999)。在国际化方面，他们投资于人力资源。
Japanese automobile makers such as Nissan and Toyota have focused on both competitive and sustained competitive advantage. Researchers argue that the focus on factors leading to competitive advantage have changed (Cusumano, 2013). Initially the focus was on financial resources or technological resources that are available to the company. However, with time the focus shifted to the employees as resources. Employee attitude, competency, skills and more are seen to be important. The level of commitment that an employee would show towards their company would directly be dependent on the motivational framework that is used in the company.
According to the OLI Ownership, Location and Internationalization framework three potential sources of competitive advantage lay in the firm specific, cost specific and internationalization advantages. However OLI factors are also seen to be influenced by costs associated with running the company in a foreign location, hence the training of employees and more also become essential. The motivational strategy used by Japanese automakers in the form of investment in time and money was seen to be effective as an internationalization strategy. When a firm makes use of a strategy that leads to a boost in its overall productivity, and if that strategy was not used by any other company then it could be said that the firm has fixed its competitive advantage. A sustained competitive advantage in this context is one that the competitors of a company would not be able to achieve even when they mimic the strategy that has been used by the company. In investing in its human resources, the Japanese automakers such as Nissan and Toyota were seen to build a sustained competitive advantage that even its potential competitors of the times could not think to mimic (Lieberman, and Demeester, 1999). In terms of internationalization they invested in their human resources.
A competitive advantage as a strategy would have helped the company to build some form of boost in sales productivity or it would lead to some form of increase in market share (as in the number of target consumers that are using the product). In the case of Nissan and Toyota the sustainable competitive advantage was a main contributing factor towards their retaining a competitive position as multinationals in international markets. The investment levels on Japanese workers were twice as high and the productivity quotient of Japanese workers were increased. This argument made towards continued competitive advantage of Japanese automobile makers is also refuted by other researchers. The alternative argument made is that in the case of both Japanese and American companies the throughput of employees was seen to differ. Japanese employees of Toyota were seen to offer a much higher throughput and although American companies also invested in their employees, Japanese employees matched the throughput of workers in automotive units in Japan.