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In this six-module course, you will learn how businesses and organizations behave in situations in which strategic decisions are interdependent, i.e. where my actions affect my competitors' profits and vice versa. Using the basic tools of game theory, we will analyse how businesses choose strategies to attain competitive advantage.
This course is also available in Chinese. Please go to our course catalog to access the Chinese version of Competitive Strategy.
Take Care of Your Competitors
In this module, we introduce the basic concepts of game theory and use strategic games to learn competitor analysis. We answer “what is a strategy?” and look at the different ways to determine a best or dominant strategy. We also discuss the concepts of Nash Equilibrium and Prisoners’ Dilemma - and learn that it is important to anticipate and take into consideration the actions of the other players. Lastly, we analyse what happens when we change the game from simultaneous (where everybody acts at the same time) to sequential (where players move after each other).
Why Firms Work Together
According to economic theory, companies compete with each other in the marketplace. In reality, they are often friendly and cooperate with each other. In this module, we attempt to understand this strategy, and why it is good for the organizations involved. With this, we evaluate the factors that encourage or hinder cooperation and apply them in different examples.
Complementary Products and Strategic Partnerships
In this module, we introduce complements and discuss what they mean to us in economic terms. We study why companies like to sell their products in a bundle - and how complementarity creates switching costs. We also discuss the importance of that coordination among companies with complementary products. Finally, we look at strategic partnerships as a powerful tool to align companies’ interests in this specific setting.
Entering a New Market
This module is about market entry. We first look at different tools to assess the attractiveness of a market – and then discuss strategies that have proven to be helpful for entering a new market, such as positioning and marketing strategies. We also look from the other perspective, and analyse what established businesses can do to keep new competitors out of the market.
Why Worry About Research and Development
In the context of R&D, a number of important strategic questions arise consistently; in this module, we take a closer look at these questions. Though many innovations are created by a stroke of luck, it seems that the majority of innovations are created because their inventors actively strive towards this specific innovation and differentiation strategy.
Designing Products Wisely
In this module, we focus on strategic aspects of product design and pricing strategy. We analyse how companies can adjust their products in a way that lowers the competitive pressure in the market. Later on, we look at some generic strategies for product design and pricing – and discuss the problems related to being stuck between these strategies.