363-0404-00L  Industry and Competitive Analysis

SemesterAutumn Semester 2021
LecturersV. He, Y. R. Shrestha
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentDue to didactic reasons originating from the group-work based approach, the number of participants is limited to 30. First come first served by order of enrollment in myStudies.

Experience in statistical analysis with tools such as SPSS or equivalents is an advantage.


363-0404-00 GIndustry and Competitive Analysis
Permission from lecturers required for all students.
The lecture takes place online via zoom and recorded. Reserved rooms will remain blocked on campus for students to follow the course from there.
3 hrs
Wed14:15-16:00LEE D 101 »
16:15-17:00LEE D 101 »
V. He, Y. R. Shrestha

Catalogue data

AbstractIndustry and Competitive Analysis (ICA) is a part of any strategy development. It contains a very practical set of methods to quickly obtain a good grasp of an industry. The purpose of ICA is to understand factors that impact on the financial performance of the industry, and as well the financial performance of firms within the industry.
ObjectiveGoals of the course
• Students develop an understanding of how the structure of industries impact on firm and industry-level performance
• Students get familiar with, and obtain practical skills in analyzing industries and firms within them.
• Students develop a broad understanding of the impact of digitalization on various industries and develop an in-depth understanding of (at least) one chosen industry
• Students improve analytical skills needed to successfully compete in the digital age
ContentIndustry and competitive analysis (ICA) is a part of any strategy development in firms and other organizations. It contains a very practical set of methods to quickly obtain a good grasp of an industry, be it pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology, aluminum, or even the beer industry. The purpose of ICA is to understand factors that influence the performance of the industry, and as well the performance of firms within the industry.
As the world has witnessed tremendous development in digital technologies, many industries are in the midst of transitioning from analogue to digital business model. Digitalization is radically changing what companies produce and way companies are run. We need a new understanding of industries and a more advanced set of analytical tools to adapt to these changes. That is why we have developed our course as ICA 2.0, which will provide an updated picture of various industries and tools for analyzing them before and after digital transformation. In this course, we will study theoretical frameworks, examine evidence from empirical research, and benefit from the experiences shared by guest speakers.

The course is organized as a combination of lectures, case studies, and tutored group work involving the selection and analysis of industries, analysis and development of strategies for selected competitors, and presentation of results.

50% paper/industry report (group)
50% final presentation (group)
LiteratureThis course is built upon a management classic (Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Porter, 2004). More recent research findings and practitioner-oriented papers in the area of strategy are also included. Readings associated with each lecture should be done before the lecture day.
To access the journal articles listed below, you have to be within the ETH domain (either directly connected to the ETH network within ETH or using VPN). PDF versions of the Harvard Business Review articles are only available via the class Moodle.
Competitive strategy
• Chapter 2 of Porter (2004)
• Porter, M. E. (1996). What is strategy. Harvard Business Review. 74 (6): 61-78.
• Case study: Southwest Airlines
Industry Dynamics
• Chapter 3 of Porter (2004)
• Porter, M. E. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard Business Review. 86(1): 78-93.
• Case study: Southwest Airlines
Strategic groups & firm membership
• Short, J. C., David J. K., Timothy B. P., & Tomas M. H. (2007). Firm, strategic group, and industry influences on performance. Strategic Management Journal, 28: 147-167.
• Harrigan, K. R. (1985). An application of clustering for strategic group analysis. Strategic Management Journal, 6(1), 55-73.
ICA in the Digital Age
• Adner, R., Puranam, P., & Zhu, F. (2019). What Is Different About Digital Strategy? From Quantitative to Qualitative Change. Strategy Science, 4(4), 253-261.
• Porter, Michael E., and James E. Heppelmann. (2015) "How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Companies." Harvard Business Review 93 (10): 97–114. .
• Kim, E., Nam, D. I., & Stimpert, J. L. (2004). The applicability of Porter’s generic strategies in the digital age: assumptions, conjectures, and suggestions. Journal of management, 30(5), 569-589.
• Davenport, T. H. (2006). Competing on analytics. Harvard business review, 84(1), 98.
Opportunities & Resources
• Alvarez, S. A., Barney, J. B., Anderson, P. (2013). Forming and Exploiting Opportunities: The Implications of Discovery and Creation Processes for Entrepreneurial and Organizational Research. Organization Science, 24(1), 301-317
Competitive Analysis
• Chen, H., Chiang, R. H., & Storey, V. C. (2012). Business Intelligence and Analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact. MIS quarterly, 36(4), 1165-1188
Prerequisites / NoticeDue to intensity of the tutoring format, the number of students is limited to 30 participants. Students will be accepted according to the order of enrollment in myStudies. Exchange students can register by sending e-mail to Link. if facing problems with registration to myStudies. Registration will be handled individually, case by case. E-mails that are sent before the starting date of registration to myStudies will not be accepted.
An electronic confirmation of the registration will be sent out shortly before the start of the semester, which contains an access link to the Moodle-Website of the course (readings, resources for group works, group assignment)
Note that class participation is important. Students should judge if full commitment can be made to attending the lectures before registration.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersV. He, Y. R. Shrestha
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationGrading will be based on:
50% paper/industry report (group)
50% final presentation (group)

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


GeneralPermission from lecturers required for all students
Places30 at the most
PriorityRegistration for the course unit is only possible for the primary target group
Primary target groupManagement, Technology, and Economics MSc (363000)
MAS ETH in Management, Technology, and Economics (365000)
Management, Technology, and Economics (Mobility) (374000)
Waiting listuntil 03.10.2021
End of registration periodRegistration only possible until 29.09.2021

Offered in

Management, Technology and Economics MasterTechnology and InnovationWInformation