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  1. Why must managers be aware of a firm’s external
  2. What is gathering and analyzing competitive
    intelligence, and why is it important for firms to
    engage in it?
  3. Discuss and describe the six elements of the external
  4. Select one of these elements and describe some
    changes relating to it in an industry that interests you.
  5. Describe how the five forces can be used to determine
    the average expected profitability in an industry.
  6. What are some of the limitations (or caveats) in using
    five-forces analysis?
  7. Explain how the general environment and industry
    environment are highly related. How can such
    interrelationships affect the profitability of a firm or
  8. Explain the concept of strategic groups. What are the
    performance implications?


  1. Imagine yourself as the CEO of a large firm in an
    industry in which you are interested. Please (1)
    identify major trends in the general environment, (2)
    analyze their impact on the firm, and (3) identify
    major sources of information to monitor these trends.
    (Use Internet and library resources.)
  2. Analyze movements across the strategic groups in the
    U.S. retail industry. How do these movements within
    this industry change the nature of competition?
  3. What are the major trends in the general environment
    that have impacted the U.S. pharmaceutical industry?
  4. Go to the Internet and look up What
    are some of the five forces driving industry competition
    that are affecting the profitability of this firm?


  1. What are some of the legal and ethical issues involved
    in collecting competitor intelligence in the following
    a. Hotel A sends an employee posing as a potential
    client to Hotel B to find out who Hotel B’s major
    corporate customers are.
    b. A firm hires an MBA student to collect
    information directly from a competitor while
    claiming the information is for a course project.
    c. A firm advertises a nonexistent position and
    interviews a rival’s employees with the intention
    of obtaining competitor information.
  2. What are some of the ethical implications that arise
    when a firm tries to exploit its power over a supplier?

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