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The fundamental purpose of this assignment is to provide an opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts and frameworks discussed in class to a real organization of your choice. You will analyze the competitive position of this organization and present your findings in a written report. This project requires independent research and, using the data and information that you gather, application of several strategy tools.

Project Selection and Conducting Research

Select an organization that you’re interested in analyzing. Data on publicly traded companies are more readily available than for privately held businesses and non-profit organizations, but consider entrepreneurial ventures, small businesses, and non-profits if that industry or organization interests you.

Conduct research on topics that touch directly or indirectly on the industry and company you have selected. The Internet is a good place to start, but be sure to use information posted by the firms themselves, established news or media outlets, and universities.

IMPORTANT: Keep a list of reference sources so that you can compile a complete bibliography to include with your report.

Project Components

Conduct your analysis. If it is helpful to do so, you might think of yourself as a management consultant hired to advise the organization. Alternatively, you might be a top manager within the organization that has been asked to brief the executive team.

Identify and briefly describe the industry and strategic groups within the industry. Who are the major competitors within each strategic group and how do they compete? How has the industry structure changed? For example, have barriers to entry become less significant, and if so, why? What is the nature of competitive rivalry in the industry?
Consider the effect of each of the five competitive forces in the firm’s industry, as well as factors in the general environment affecting this industry. Decide which factors are most relevant to your industry, explain why they’re most relevant, and focus on those. How have these factors influenced any or all of the five competitive forces you analyze?
Analyze the firm’s capabilities. Are they distinctive, and difficult to imitate? Do they create a competitive advantage? Are the firm’s capabilities a good ‘fit’ with the insights revealed from your analysis of the industry’s five forces, the changing business environment, and the position of the firm’s competitors? Why or why not?
Synthesize your findings into a report assessing this firm’s competitive position.

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