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The Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal Industry

An understanding of the dynamics of competition and industry evolution is an important input to the development of an effective competitive strategy. The fundamental assumption of the course is that the profit potential of any firm is a function of (1) the industries it operates in, and (2) the competitors it opposes. Therefore to comprehend the firm/performance relationship, a general manager must understand industry structure and competition. A wide range of influences, including the macroeconomic environment, cost and demand conditions of the industry, technological change and government behavior, affects the profits within an industry.

Competitive moves and responses of incumbents also affect firm profits. Actions taken by firms to improve competitive position engender responses by other firms, and the expected sequence of actions and responses must be understood to develop an effective strategy. Reactions of rivals will depend on their goals or intent, beliefs, relative resource positions and past actions. Thus, the approach to studying the dynamics of industry structure and competitors is to focus on the key characteristics of industry structure and the individual competitive moves and counterforce exchanged by various industry players.

The course examines such questions as: How should one go about analyzing an industry and competitors? What models

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and frameworks are most applicable? What type of data does one look for and how should these data be organized? Where does one look for these data? The seminar has a strong research component: students will apply the concepts, an industry and competitors, along the lines of a professional consulting report. Thus, although the course will draw from such theories as industrial organization economics and game theory, the emphasis will be on application and hands-on investigation to produce a consulting report.

Class Format This is not a traditional lecture-based course. Conceptual material will be illustrated and applied to the “real world” through rigorous class discussion of business cases, examples, your own business experiences and your field projects. Your classmates and I expect you to attend and be well prepared for each class, having read the required conceptual material and analyzed the assigned case study ahead of time. We also expect you to play an active role in class discussions.

If all class members prepare for and actively participate in each class discussion, we will all learn more room each other and enjoy the course more. General tips on how to analyze assigned cases and prepare for class discussions are provided in Appendix A. In addition, specific “case discussion preparation” questions are included in the Course Outline for each case. Please refer to Appendix A and these case-specific questions when preparing for each class. Required Readings Course Packet of Cases and Articles available from Canned.

While you are not required to purchase the following books for this course, they are sources that develop many of the core frameworks and tools utilized in industry and competitor analyses. You should, at the very least, be familiar with the core content of these sources. You should consider purchasing these books if you don’t already own them and if you plan on pursuing a career in which industry and competitor analysis skills will be necessary (e. G. , strategy consulting, industry/company analysis for investors, entrepreneurship, corporate strategic planning or market/competitive intelligence): Porter, Michael E. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, New York: Free Press, 1980. Porter, Michael E. , Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, New York: Free Press, 1985. Day, George S. And Rebating, David J. (editors), Wharton on Dynamic Competitive Strategy, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997. Schemata, Panky, Strategy and the Business Landscape, 2nd Edition, Upper Saddle Courtney, Hugh, 20/20 Foresight: Crafting Strategy in an Uncertain World, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2001.

Performance Evaluation Contribution to class discussion (see Appendix B for details) Two short individual case analyses (2 @ 20% each) (see Appendices C and D for details) Group industry and competitor analysis (see Appendix E for details) 50% Groups should be 4-5-person, self-selected teams. It is expected that all group members will make contributions to the industry and competitor analysis, and that all should receive the same grade. Academic Integrity Academic integrity is expected in this class.

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in any form. According to university policy, activities that constitute academic dishonesty include: (1) using materials published in print or over the Internet in your papers without proper reference to the original source; (2) consulting students who have already taken the course about analysis and answers to cases or assignments prior to their due date; (3) working with others on individual assignments; and (4) working with non-group members on group assignments.

I encourage you to work with others when preparing for class discussions and in “brainstorming” ideas for written analyses. However, written case analyses must ultimately represent your own work, in your own words (or your group’s work, in the group’s words). Therefore, it is not wise to share written or electronic notes, outlines, or “key points” with others when preparing written analyses, because papers that are judged to be substantially similar in content must be submitted to the university omitted for academic integrity.

University procedures will be used to investigate any potential instances of academic dishonesty. Please visit the following website for more information on the University’s Code of Academic Integrity: http://www. SSH. Mud. Dude. Absences Attendance at all class sessions is expected. Absences, late arrivals, and early departures necessarily limit your class contribution – and hence may influence your grade.

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