GSBS6410 Economics of Competitive Advantage
Trimester 1, 2019
Select one representative firm and use microeconomic principles and ideas about competitive strategy to explain how this firm distinguishes itself from its industry peers.
What type of firm? Select an interesting, well known firm. Do not do an obscure small firm as you need to reference your sources. However, also try and avoid over done business study examples of global giants such as McDonalds, Coca Cola, Toyota, Apple, Samsung, etc. If you do choose these firms (not advised but your choice) then you will need to do something really impressive.
Importantly, do not simply recycle a case study from a previous course. Such lazy attempts will most likely fail.
Does the firm we study have to be ‘super successful? No. Most groups will likely choose a firm that is doing well but it is just as interesting (and possibly more insightful) to analyse a success that faded and now is struggling to remain competitive, or alternatively a firm that almost failed but is now successful.
What do we do? Use various economic concepts, tools, models and paradigms discussed in the texts and modules to assess the strategic position of the firm. Specifically, the analysis discusses why this firm is more (or less) successful than other firms in the same industry. For instance, the report may address, amongst others, the following broad questions within the context of the chosen firm:
• How is the global environment impacting on the structure, conduct and performance of the firm?
• To what extent does price or non-price competition erode the profitability of the firm?
• To what extent does the threat of potential entry or actual entry erode the profitability of the firm?
• To what extent do competing products from outside the company erode the profitability of the firm?
• To what extent does this company have the economic power to charge higher prices?
• What strategies have the company used to remain competitive in the ever changing global economy?
DO NOT use PESTEL or SWOT analysis for this assignment. These frameworks are too general. We are doing Economics so apply the theories you learn in this course. Also avoid using too much Michael Porter material. Although it was good in 1980s, it has limits and had been overdone. A Porter Five Forces is OK as a start to place your firm in its industry context with respect to profitability. However, you need to go way beyond Porter’s five forces framework, otherwise it is just surface treatment and will not be a good assignment.
Further information: Should be around 2500 words (+ / - 10%). This total excludes Appendices, Tables, Charts and the Reference List. Indicate the word count on the assignment cover page. Marks may be deducted for Reports that are outside this word limit. Avoid repetition, waffle, etc.…
Concise, logical sentences are required so a good well written assignment does not need to be outside of this word limit. Try to say more with less - this is a lifelong learning skill for all of us.
Due Date: Sunday, 24th March 2019, 11.59 pm AEST
Submission Method: Online through Turnitin
Assessment Criteria (Also see Rubrics)
1. Relevance to the question.
2. Accuracy of information and argument
3. Demonstrated links to corresponding readings, especially the theories and concepts discussed in GSBS6410.
4. Clarity of expression.
5. Structure as described below:
The analysis should include sections of introduction, methodology, analysis of your selected firms, policy implications and conclusions. A half page executive summary is required at the beginning of the report.
• The analysis report must have an evident structure, follow a logical sequence, and have a professional layout.
• The tables, diagrams and graphs that have the most relevance to a point being made should be embedded in the body of the work. That means discussing the features of a table, diagram or graph that is used, as you would read in a journal article or textbook. Just inserting graphs and tables and not referring to them in the text is pointless and will lose marks.
• Do not use the Appendix as a ‘dumping ground’ for material that you did not use. If you must use an Appendix (not absolutely necessary if you did a quality assignment that was like a journal article), then BE selective about what goes in.