Industry Analysis Paper Instructions and Grade Sheet
MAN 4720L Strategic Management
Bob Porter’s Sections
Individual Assignment Worth Up to 200 Points
Due Date: Week 11, November 7th
Purpose: Each student will be assigned an industry to study. You are required to conduct a strategic analysis (also
called an industry and competitive analysis) of your assigned industry, and to individually write a paper reporting
your results. This paper will require that you apply the concepts that you have learned in the course.
This assignment will enable you to learn how to research and analyze the external and competitive nature of an
industry. It is necessary to have a thorough understanding of an industry before a firm can develop strategic plans
to obtain competitive advantages.
Basic Attributes of Your Report: The best reports are the result of a lot of research. There is a direct correlation
between research and grades. To earn the highest grade possible, your report should demonstrate evidence of:
• Significant secondary research.
• Integration of course concepts.
• Written in plain English and demonstrating understanding that clarifies and distills the problems and
opportunities competitors in the industry are facing.
• Precise business writing skills. (You will be penalized for writing mistakes.)
The best reports also summarize what you have learned from your research. A great report demonstrates that the
student has thoroughly researched the industry, and demonstrates the ability to:
• Comprehend –Paraphrase or interpret the information in one’s own words.
• Analyze – Break down the information gathered during your research into parts, and show
• Synthesize – Bring together parts of knowledge from various sources to form the report.
• Evaluate – Make judgments based on the information researched.
Research Overview: Do not procrastinate! Start your research as soon as you have chosen your industry.
Begin by just learning as much about the industry as you can -- avoid trying to fill in the information required for
the report as long as you can. This may be frustrating for you as there is a tendency to look for specific information
for one section of your report during your research, but you will rarely find such information from only one source.
Information you are seeking includes industry trends, past growth rate and future growth projections, target market
wants and needs. Also look for typical products/services offered by competitors, client/customer demographic
descriptions, pricing, location, promotional methods, distribution methods, customer service reputation, quality
track record, etc. Learn how industry competitors operate.
Suggested Approach to Research: Here is how you might start your research:
1. Determine your NAICS code. This will increase the efficiency of your research. If you cannot identify the
NAICS code, then try using a SIC code instead.
2. Find magazine/journal articles or books about your type of business; photocopy the articles to insure that you
have the source of the information. List the articles and books you researched and describe the pertinent
information you found that will be included in your report.
3. Use the Internet. There is a wide variety of Internet sources of information available to you as a UCF student.
The UCF Library has licenses to many databases and online information sources; either access them from an
on-campus computer lab or install the Pegasus CD on your home computer to access these sites for free.
Length of the Paper: As noted in Dr. Barringer’s syllabus, a quality paper will likely be between 12 and 15 pages
long. If it is less than 12 pages long, you should assume that you have not invested sufficient effort in your
research and/or your analysis. If it exceeds 15 pages, you have probably not done enough analysis, synthesis, or
evaluation of your material required to produce a concise well-written report. I will not read or grade any
information that exceeds 15 pages; this will likely result in a loss of points.
Document Your Sources: As you conduct your research, carefully document the sources of the information. We
have a Zero Tolerance policy for plagiarism in this course. You MUST submit your paper to Turnitin.com, an
online anti-plagiarism website. The instructions for submitting your paper to Turnitin.com can be found on my
Outline: Following is an outline of the types of issues you will want to address in your paper. Be sure to go
beyond just describing the industry. Discuss the implications of your findings for firms competing in your industry.
Note that not all issues contained within each section will apply to every industry. Choose the most pertinent issues
and discuss them according to the applicability to your assigned industry. However, there are certain sections that
are required for all papers and are marked as such, so please make sure to include them in your assignment.
Introduction: Introduce your industry in one to two sentences. (5 points)
Research: Find the NAICS or SIC codes first, then determine generic descriptions of the industry and the general
products that this industry produces. If you were studying steel production, you would look up what steel
1. Industry’s Dominant Economic Features (this is typically one or one and a half pages long) (30 Points)
Research: While you are getting familiar with this industry through your research, make note of
information related to any dominant economic features such as market size; scope of rivalry; growth rate
and what stage of the life cycle is the industry in; number of rivals and their relative size; prevalence of
forward/backwards integration; channels of distribution; pace of process and product technology change;
whether products are highly differentiated or very similar; to what extent are economies of scale in
purchasing, distribution, advertising, are important; to what extent do learning curves exist; are high rates
of capacity utilization important for profitability; what are the historical levels of profitability; are there
segments within the industry, and if so, what are they, and how do their presence effect firms, strategies,
competition, and levels of profitability within each segment?
Report: Summarize what you have learned about the economic factors in the industry that have the most impact on
it. In addition, if your industry is not a main industry, it might be a sub-industry within a main industry. For
example, if you were studying steel production companies, the main industry is called metals and mining; within
metals and mining there are two sub-industries dealing with steel, you would study steel production (also
sometimes called steel manufacturing). Basically describe the purpose of your industry—what does it do, and what
dominant economic features influence it the most. Choose carefully what information belongs in this section of
your report, and what information should be included in one of the other five sections of the report.
2. Porter's Five Forces (two or three pages) (35 points)
See pp. 41-55 of your text for a discussion of Porter’s Five Forces.
Threat of Substitute Products (Include as a sub-heading.)
Research: If you were studying steel production, you would look up information in your industry to see if there are
many substitutes for steel and steel production. If so, discuss what these are and how they act as substitutes. If not,
state that this is not an issue. For example, is plastic (a different industry) a good substitute for steel? Don’t forget
to state the overall level of strength of this force for your industry.
Intensity of Competitive Rivalry in the Industry (Include as a sub-heading.)
Research: Look up information in your industry to see if there is a lot of rivalry between and among the companies
currently in the industry and describe that here. Don’t forget to state the overall level of strength of this force for
your industry. Be sure to discuss the relevant criteria for this force.
Threat of New Entrants (Include as a sub-heading.)
Research: If you were studying steel production, you would look up information in your industry to see if there is a
high likelihood for new firms to enter the steel production industry. Describe reasons why there are – or are not –
barriers to entry into this industry (e.g., is there a high capital requirement to enter this industry, is it difficult to
obtain the resources to produce steel, etc.). Don’t forget to state the overall level of strength of this force for your
industry. Be sure to discuss the relevant criteria for this force.
The Power of Buyers (Include as a sub-heading.)
Research: If you were studying steel production, you would look up information in your industry to see those
people purchasing the steel that is produced have a high level of power over the steel producers such that they can
control the prices and terms of contracts. Don’t forget to state the overall level of strength of this force for your
industry. Be sure to discuss the relevant criteria for this force.
The Power of Suppliers (Include as a sub-heading.)
Research: If you were studying steel production, you would look up information in your industry to see if those
supplying the steel manufacturers have a high level of power over the steel producers such that there are no other
suppliers, they can charge high prices, they can control the terms of contracts, etc. Don’t forget to state the overall
level of strength of this force for your industry. Be sure to discuss the relevant criteria for this force.
Report: For each force, go through the issues that represent high or low power. Determine whether or not,
collectively, the force affects the attractiveness of the industry. After you have gone through all five forces, be sure
to include a summary of your analysis and what it means for the industry. If the industry is segmented, be sure to
include a brief discussion of that fact and how the forces might differ across the different segments.
The best way to approach this section is to use each of the forces as a secondary heading and discuss how each of
the force’s corresponding criteria (or those that are relevant) impacts the strength of that force for the industry. Be
sure to provide relevant (and cited) examples of how the suppliers, buyers, new entrants, rivals, and substitutes are
impacted by these different criteria. Then, after discussing each force’s relevant criteria, conclude a final level of
strength of impact of that force relative to the industry (e.g., you might include a concluding sentence that says
something like “Based on the analyses conducted above, the power of buyers is low”. Alternatively, begin the
section with a sentence something like “The power of buyers in this industry is low. This was determined by
examining each of the criteria relevant to the power of buyers, as discussed below.” Then you would discuss each
criterion that leads you to that conclusion).
3. Drivers for Change in the Broad Environment (20 points) (one or two pages)
See pp. 34-39 in your text for a discussion of the factors/forces impacting a firm’s general environment.
Research: Search for information such as: Sociocultural, technological, political/legal, or economic
trends; long term growth rate; who buys the product and how they use it; significance of product
innovation and technological change; marketing innovation; entry/exits of major firms; diffusion of
technological know-how; extent of globalization; changes in costs and efficiencies; emerging buyer
preferences (shift towards differentiation or commodity); regulatory influences; changes in societal
concerns, attitudes, or lifestyles; reductions in uncertainty and risk in the industry over time.
Report: You do NOT need to discuss all factors in the general environment, only those relevant to the industry
under study. Thus, be sure to discuss ONLY the most relevant factors for your industry. Most common general
environmental factors include technological change, demographic trends, legal and political conditions, economic
climate, cultural trends, and specific international events (e.g., global changes).
Simply discuss how the relevant trends in the general environment impact your industry. A nice way to
approach this section is to include cited examples of firms within the industry that have had to adjust their
business practices (or who have responded to the trend) as a consequence of the trend. Be sure to also
discuss the implications of the trends for the industry. As such, you will not just state what the trend is, but
you need to directly tie the trend to the implications that it will have (or is having) on the industry. See pp.
34-39 in your text for a discussion of the drivers for change.
4. Companies in the Strongest/Weakest Positions (40 points) (two or three pages)
Chapters 3-5 will help you to write this section.
Research: Identify three individual companies in the industry that are either leaders or those that
need to be put out of their misery. Identify how each firm has positioned, or tried to position,
themselves, in their industry. For example, are there positions in the industry that are more
attractive than others? What strategies does each of these rivals pursue? Identify characteristics that
differentiate the companies from each other based on quality/price, geographic coverage, vertical
integration, product line breadth, distribution, or service.
Report: Identify at least THREE different firms (or types of firms) in your industry and discuss how each has
positioned, or tried to position, themselves, in their industry. Are there positions in the industry that are more
attractive than others?
You are required to answer this question, using course concepts: “What strategy does each
of these rivals pursue?” The criteria that you can use to determine the strategic positions of the firms include
Porter’s generic strategies (e.g., low cost, differentiation, focus, and focused-differentiation). Do some generic
strategies seem to work better in the industry than others? Are some firms more successful at executing the generic
strategies then others? If so, why (how do you know)? Other criteria that you can use to determine the strategic
positions of the firms include how the firms position their products on a number of criteria like quality and price.
Do some firms have high quality and highly priced products/services while others have adequate quality and low
priced products/services? Are some firms competing on a large geographic scale than others (e.g., compete in more
geographic markets—internationally or in more domestic markets than others)? Do some firms offer a broader
product/service selection than others? Do some firms benefit from first-mover advantages? Do some firms possess
resources and capabilities that allow them to gain a competitive advantage?
5. Key Success Factors For Competitive Success (KSFs) (35 points) (one or two pages)
Research: This section probably does not require additional research. Instead you should reflect back on all that
you have already learned about this industry. Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate what you have learned.
Report: You are required to answer all of these questions.
What are the 3-4 key industry issues/factors that have the strongest relationship with success and profitability?
Do these KSFs vary by segment?
How are these KSFs likely to vary over time?
What are the implications of this evolution?
6. Industry’s Attractiveness and Prospects for Long-Term Profitability (about one page) (35 points)
Research: No additional research should be needed to complete this section. Write it last so that you can
summarize information from the previously-written sections. Thus, you should use all of your analyses to
determine how attractive the industry is and what the prospects for long-term profitability are. For example, you
should identify the level of attractiveness and prospects for long-term profitability based on what you’ve already
learned. You might even find some forecasts in your research that might help to support your assertions regarding
the industry’s prospects.
Report: You are required to discuss all of these issues:
• Future growth potential,
• Will competitive forces strengthen,
• Will driving forces increase/decrease profitability,
• Which company’s strategic position will improve/decline,
• How can firms insulate themselves from the unattractive forces in the industry,
• Degree of uncertainty and severity of problems confronting industry,
• Which types of firms/strategies seem to be most lucrative,
• Is this an attractive industry in which to participate?
• Bibliography or Works Cited
• Any other related documents, in the order in which they are mentioned in your report.
• The paper must be double-spaced.
• Use 12-point Times New Roman font only.
• Provide 1-inch margins on all sides.
• Write in paragraphs using dialog. Avoid using bullets unless you include short lists of similar
• It should take about 12 -15 pages of text to do a thorough job on this analysis (the paper can vary
between 12 and 15 pages).
• You can provide appendices (charts, graphs, etc.), but these should not be considered part of the 12
– 15 pages of text. Put items in the Appendix in the same order they are discussed in the paper.
• Use headings for each of the six main sections of the paper, and number each page. Use sub-
heading when appropriate, such as for Porter’s Five Forces.
• Do not include a table of contents.
• Papers must follow APA or MLA citation guidelines (including in-text citations).
• Staple your paper in the upper left-hand corner. Do not use a binder, notebook, folder, etc. You
will not receive extra points for “packaging” your report beyond the basics outlined here. You will
likely need to use a heavy duty stapler for this. Multiple attempts with a typical stapler will be
ineffective, create an unprofessional appearance, and result in pages getting lost. You may lose
points for this, so plan ahead to staple your paper with a heavy duty stapler.
• Do not include a cover sheet. Attach and use the Grade Sheets found at the end of this document
instead of a cover sheet. Complete the information required on the first grade sheet (name, team,
• Failure to properly cite your sources will be assumed to be plagiarism and will result in a 0 on the
• Writing skills count. Review the Business Writer’s Companion or the Cornerstone Writing Handbook
to insure your writing skills meet requirements. Your writing skills must be precise and professional.
Proof read your paper (and ask another person to proof read your paper) to insure there are no problems
with your writing skills. You could lose 3 points for each error.
• Once the content of your paper is assessed and graded, additional points will be deducted if you have
failed to follow these instructions or if your writing skills are not exemplary.
• Your paper will be graded from the perspective of an executive (your employer) reviewing a report, not just as
an instructor reviewing a student’s paper. It must be professional in all respects.
• A late paper will lose the equivalent of one letter grade for each 24 hours it is late, including weekends and
• Compare your content and format with these instructions. You will lose points if you have not followed
• Review the document on my website’s home page, Paper Grading Rubric, to determine the level of effort you
need to exert in order to earn the grade you want.
• Don’t forget to submit this report to Turnitin.com. You will get a 0 if you forget.
Industry Analysis Grade Sheet
MAN 4720, Fall 2007
R. Porter’s Lab Section
(Attach to your paper)
Name: __________________________ Industry ____________________________
Lab: ________ Team: _____________________________
Section Possibl Your
e Points Points
Introduction: Introduce your industry in 2 or 3 sentences. 5
1. The Industry's Dominant Economic Features
Examples: Discuss only the issues that are most important to your industry. 30
Market size, growth rate, industry’s stage in the life cycle, number of buyers and their size,
prevalence of forward/backwards integration, channels of distribution, pace of process and
product technology change, differentiation or similarity of products, extent/importance of
economies of scale in purchasing, distribution, advertising, extent that learning curves exist,
importance of high rates of capacity utilization for profitability, and historical levels of
profitability. Segmentation within the industry: if yes, what are they, and how does their
presence affect firms, strategies, competition, and levels of profitability within each segment?
2. Porter's Five Forces You must discuss all 5 Forces.
• Threat of Potential New Entrants 35
• Bargaining Power of Buyers – specifically, who are the buyers of the products your
• Bargaining Power of Suppliers – specifically, who are the suppliers to your industry?
• Threat of Substitute Products in Other Industries
• Intensity of Rivalry Among Competitors
• Summarize this section; is this industry attractive or unattractive?
3. The Drivers of Change in the Broad Environment and Impact They Will Have.
Examples: Discuss only the issues that are most important to your industry. 20
Long term growth rate, buyer profile and how they use it, product innovation &
technological change, marketing innovation, entry/exits of major firms, diffusion of
technological know how, globalization, changes in costs and efficiencies, emerging
buyer preferences (shift towards differentiation or commodity), regulatory
influences, changes in societal concerns, attitudes, lifestyles, and reductions in
uncertainty and risk in the industry over time.
4. Companies in the Strongest/Weakest Positions. You are required to identify their
current strategies, then compare and contrast their current strategies. 40
Address any of these issues that are very important to your industry: Identify at least three
different firms (or types of firms) in your industry and discuss how each has positioned, or
tried to position, themselves, in their industry. Are there positions in the industry that are
more attractive than others? Strategic Group Mapping is just one tool. Identify characteristics
that differentiate, such as quality/price, geographic coverage, vertical integration, product line
breadth, distribution, or service.
5. Key Success Factors for Competitive Success. Must Discuss All Three Issues:
• List 3-4 key issues/factors with the strongest relationship with success and 35
• Do these KSFs vary by segment?
• How are these KSFs likely to vary over time and what are the implications of this
6. Industry’s Attractiveness and Prospects for Long-Term Profitability. Must Discuss
All of These Issues: 35
• Growth potential?
• Will competitive forces strengthen?
• Will driving forces increase/decrease profitability?
• Which company’s strategic position will improve/decline?
• How can firms insulate themselves from the unattractive forces in the industry?
• Degree of uncertainty and severity of problems confronting industry.
• Which types of firms/strategies seem to be most lucrative?
• Is this an attractive industry in which to participate?
Points deducted for failure to follow instructions or for poor writing skills. Instructor
Total Points 200