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Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors,

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              Faculty of Business Assignment Title Sheet

Course and Stage:

BA (Hons) Business Studies – Stage 3


Mark Dowling


Strategic Management 1

Study Mode:

Full time




Assignment Title:

Evolution of Strategic Management

Assignment Brief

Strategic management is a relatively youthful discipline that has steadily matured over the past sixty years.  Prior to 1960, the term "strategy" was primarily used regarding war and politics, not business.

You are required to write an essay tracking the historical development of strategic management as a business discipline.

As this is a broad theme, you are required to research the leading scholars suggested in the recommended reading list.  Providing a logical overview of how their contributions have moved business thinking forward through the decades, your essay structure should follow the marking scheme provided.

Recommended Readings

Chandler, A. D. (1962). Strategy and structure: chapters in the history of the industrial enterprise. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.

D'Aveni, R. A., & Gunther, R. E. (1994). Hypercompetition: Managing the dynamics of strategic maneuvering. New York: The Free Press.

H. Igor Ansoff (1965). Corporate Strategy. An Analytic Approach to Business Policy for Growth and Expansion New York: McGraw-Hill.

Mintzberg, H., The fall and rise of strategic planning. Harvard Business Review, (1994, January-February), 107-114.

Porter, M. E. (1985) The Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. NY: Free Press.

Taylor F.W. (1911), The Principles of Scientific Management, New York, NY, USA and London, UK: Harper & Brothers 

Word count:

3000 words



Due date:        

Week 6 Tues 26th October 2015 (in class)

Submit assignment to:

Soft copy via (Turnitin) on moodle AND hard copy in class

Learning Outcomes addressed and assessed in this Assignment:

  • Critically appraise the relevance of strategic management concepts, theories and empirical research to organisational case studies.
  • Exercise judgement and skill in designing business and corporate strategies.
  • Show a detailed and integrated knowledge of the potential obstacles to strategy implementation in an organisation and develop methods to overcome such obstacles.

Marking Scheme:



Possible Mark



(800 words approx.)

Marks will be awarded for discussing early management thinking and the impact of Frederick Taylor’s research in the field of business management


Strategic Management Emerges

(800 words approx.)

Marks will be awarded for discussing the introduction of the strategic management concept during the 1960’s.  Logical presentation of leading scholars contributions including Chandler and Ansoff.


Contemporary Developments

(800 words approx.)

Marks will be awarded for discussing contributions from Porter, Mintzberg and D’Aveni to the field of strategic management.  A general overview and clear interpretations of each scholars contribution should be apparent and presented in a logical sequence.



(600 words approx.)

Marks will be awarded for summarising content researched and own views/opinions resulting from this.


Michael Porter of Harvard Business School is perhaps the best known of all the strategy theorists. He has generally been more prolific than the rest. Porter has been responsible for the writing of numerous books and articles that have been widely accepted in the field. He has been especially involved in the creation or popularization of a number of tools that have been widely used in the discipline.

Porter’s first book for practicing managers, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, was first published in 1980. Drawing heavily on industrial economics (a field of study that tries to explain industrial performance through economics), he was trying ‘to take these basic notions and create a much richer, more complex theory, much closer to the reality of competition’. The book defines five competitive forces that determine industry profitability – potential entrants, buyers (customers), suppliers, substitutes, and competitors within the industry. Each of these can exert power to drive margins down. The attractiveness of an industry depends on how strong each of these influences is. Competitive Strategybrought together in a rational and readily understandable manner both existing and new concepts to form a coherent framework for analyzing the competitive environment.

The realization that he had not been focusing on choice of competitive positioning, this work led Porter in turn to his interests in the concept of competitive advantage, the theme of his next major book, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance (1985). He sought a middle ground between the two polarized approaches then accepted-on the one hand, that competitive advantage was achieved by organizations adapting to their particular circumstances; and, on the other, that competitive advantage was based on the simple principle that the more in-tune and aware of a market a company is, the more competitive it can be (through lower prices and increased market share). From analysis of a number of companies, he developed “generic strategies”: Porter contends that there are three ways by which companies can gain competitive advantage:



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