Concept

Strategic group

Summary
A strategic group is a concept used in strategic management that groups companies within an industry that have similar business models or similar combinations of strategies. For example, the restaurant industry can be divided into several strategic groups including fast-food and fine-dining based on variables such as preparation time, pricing, and presentation. The number of groups within an industry and their composition depends on the dimensions used to define the groups. Strategic management professors and consultants often make use of a two dimensional grid to position firms along an industry's two most important dimensions in order to distinguish direct rivals (those with similar strategies or business models) from indirect rivals. Strategy is the direction and scope of an organization over the long term which achieves advantages for the organization while business model refers to how the firm will generate revenues or make money. Hunt (1972) coined the term strategic group while conducting an analysis of the appliance industry after he discovered a higher degree of competitive rivalry than suggested by industry concentration ratios. He attributed this to the existence of subgroups within the industry that competed along different dimensions making tacit collusion more difficult. These asymmetrical strategic groups caused the industry to have more rapid innovation, lower prices, higher quality and lower profitability than traditional economic models would predict. Michael Porter (1980) developed the concept and applied it within his overall system of strategic analysis. He explained strategic groups in terms of what he called "mobility barriers". These are similar to the entry barriers that exist in industries, except they apply to groups within an industry. Because of these mobility barriers a company can get drawn into one strategic group or another. Strategic groups are not to be confused with Porter's generic strategies which are internal strategies and do not reflect the diversity of strategic styles within an industry.
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