What fundamentally determines the profit potential of a business? What does a company do to protect its territory from another firm seeking to enter it? How is it able to forecast its future under shifting and uncertain conditions -- or predict how its rivals will behave under those same conditions?
Most firms must face strategic questions like these when planning their future. The decisions they make must be based upon a rigorous, thorough analysis of the competition. That analysis and those decisions are the subject of this broad and comprehensive casebook, the essential companion volume to Michael Porter's widely acclaimed Competitive Strategy. The focus here is the actual competitive strategies of companies in 18 important industries and the portrayal of the competitive situations they face.
The 26 indepth case studies provide the student with a laboratory in which to develop a working understanding of competition and the ability to identify the factors that shape the success or failure of a firm. Each case places the reader in a real-world business setting -- giving him the strategist's view of Kodak, for example, or General Electric -- and allows for the firsthand exploration of various problems involved in designing and implementing strategy. The reader must cope with making choices actual companies have faced.
A major theme of the book is that a firm can shape the roles of competition in its favor if it understands these rules in a sophisticated way.
Michael Porter first developed his ideas on competitive strategy in a famous course at the Harvard Business School. As described in Competitive Strategy, Porter finds three types of tools for strategy development. The first is the "general analytic techniques," applicable to any industry or competition, which allow an indepth analysis of such competitive issues as industry evolution, competition profiling, strategy toward suppliers and buyers, entry barriers, and market signals. The second is tools for analyzing "generic structure settings," or characteristic types of industry structures such as fragmented industries, global industries, and declining industries. The third is tools for making such strategic decisions as capacity expansion, integration, entry, divestment, and coalition.
Each of the 18 industries in Cases in Competitive Strategy provides an opportunity for analysis using these tools. The intent of the book is cumulative, building through successively complex situations to an overview of how, when, and why various offensive and defensive strategic decisions can and should be made.
Though the cases in Cases in Competitive Strategy are significant and informative when studied on their own, they were designed to be read and analyzed in combination with the companion volume, Competitive Strategy. Used this way, both the conceptual materials and the cases themselves are mutually reinforcing, establishing in the reader's mind the connection between the theory and the practice of competitive strategy formulation. No student of business strategy can afford to be without this broad-range series of applications of the most talked-about topic in business today.