Applying classical industry analysis techniques to an emerging industry : issues in the internet industry
La Monica, John
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Strategic management literature has provided frameworks for examining established industries. Firms use these frameworks to understand the dynamics of the industries in which they compete and to evaluate industries that they might wish to enter. Additionally, investors and analysts use these types of frameworks to determine the likelihood of a business's profitability and survival in an already existing industry. Traditionally, these frameworks were developed and used to analyze established industries. The industry of interest in this study is the emerging Internet industry. The research questions driving this inquiry: What are the dynamics of the Internet industry? Can we use the same perspective and tools in analyzing emerging industries that have been derived from the examination of mature industries? An industry is loosely defined as a group or collection of separately owned companies that offer similar products or services. This traditional definition of an industry cannot adequately define the emerging Internet industry. The Internet industry is comprised of many corporations offering dissimilar products or services. The common bind that these corporations possess is the reliance on the Internet for business transactions and revenues. The fact that so many of the major Internet companies offer greater variety of different products and services than their counterparts in other industries may make it difficult to apply conventional industry analysis techniques. Industries are typically examined using parts or all of three approaches from the economics and strategy literature: industrial organization's (10) "structure-conductperformance"+H18 model, Michael Porter's "competitive forces" model and strategic group mapping. Components of each model have been found through thorough industry analysis to exert influence in the existing markets in the economy. The Internet industry, however, seems to lack the consistent industry-wide forces that each business in other industries contend with. My goal is to apply these models to the emerging Internet industry and determine if a new chapter of strategic management literature needs to be written.
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