Topics: Strategic management, Pharmaceutical industry, Jeans Pages: 5 (1463 words) Published: December 3, 2014
Pfizer and the Challenges of the Global Pharmaceutical Industry

Overview and Objectives

The Pfizer case provides an introduction to external analysis. The case highlights the pharmaceutical industry, which has enjoyed extraordinary long-run profitability. The case also demonstrates how broad changes in broad environmental factors (i.e. demographics, technology, culture, etc.) have an impact on industry competition. The case is not especially complex, so it is not overwhelming as a first case.

Study and Discussion Questions

1. Why has the pharmaceutical industry been so successful historically? 2. What is your assessment of the pharmaceutical industry at the time of the case? How is competition changing? What factors are driving the changes? 3. What will competition in pharmaceuticals look like in 10 years? 4. What is your assessment of Pfizer’s position in the industry? What are the keys to success in the industry? 5. What recommendations would you make to Kindler?

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

The story of Wal-Mart’s rise to dominance is a standard case on resources and capabilities and how they contribute to sustainable competitive advantage. This case works well as a first case on resources and competitive advantage. It can


1. Students gain experience in applying the VRIO framework, particularly issues around imitation and sustainability. 2. Students will explore issues surrounding how firms exploit existing advantages in new markets. 3. Students are introduced to challenges that firms face in developing new capabilities to take advantage of new opportunities.

Study Questions

1. What are Wal-Mart’s most critical competitive advantages? 2. How did Wal-Mart develop their advantages?
3. How sustainable are Wal-Mart’s advantages? What is your assessment of Wal-Mart’s competitors and their ability to imitate Wal-Mart’s advantages? 4. What are Wal-Mart’s strategic options? To what extent do these options exploit Wal-Mart’s competitive advantages?

Harlequin Enterprises: The MIRA Decision

Harlequin is the leader in series romance fiction, but it faces what appears to be a maturing market. The company is considering a proposal to enter the market in single-title fiction. The critical question is do they have the resources and capabilities to succeed in this different market?


This case is an excellent vehicle for applying the VRIO framework. It can also be used to address fundamental questions of scope that arise with diversification.

Study Questions

1. Apply the VRIO framework to Harlequin in series romance fiction. Why has Harlequin been so successful? a. What is your assessment of Harlequin’s value chain? How does Harlequin create and capture value? b. How difficult is it to imitate what Harlequin does in series fiction? Why? How likely are competitors to imitate Harlequin? 2. What is your assessment of the single-title market opportunity for Harlequin? a. Does Harlequin have the necessary capabilities to compete in this market? b. Can Harlequin create a competitive advantage in single-series fiction? 3. Should Harlequin enter the single series market?

True Religion Brand Jeans and the Premium Jeans Industry: Cyclical Downturn or Secular Slowdown?


1. Review industry structure concepts in a rapidly maturing market subject to changes in fashion trends. Students can use both Porter’s Five Forces and value chain analysis in this exercise. 2. Evaluate the sources of True Religion’s competitive advantage and determine whether or not the company can sustain its advantage given the similarities between both its strategy and its products to its four largest competitors’. 3. Discuss product differentiation as a source of competitive advantage.

Study Questions

1. Is the premium jeans industry an attractive market? Develop an understanding of the industry structure and market dynamics. 2. Does True Religion...
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