Chapter 6: Supporting the Business-Level Strategy: Competitive and Cooperative Moves


This chapter has explained competitive and cooperative moves that executives may choose from when challenged by competitors, and there are a number of options to pick from. Executives may choose to act swiftly by being a first mover in their market, and their firms may benefit if they are offering disruptive innovations to an industry. Executives may also choose a more conservative route by establishing a foothold within an area that can serve as a launching point or by avoiding existing competitors overall by using a blue ocean strategy. When firms are on the receiving end of a competitive attack, they are likely to retaliate to the extent that they possess awareness, motivation, and capability. While responding quickly is often beneficial, mutual forbearance can also be an effective approach. When firms encounter a potentially disruptive innovation, they might ignore the threat, confront it head on, or attack along a different dimension. Executives may also react to competitive attacks by using fighting brands. Rather than engaging in a head-to-head battle with competitors, executives may also choose to engage in a cooperative strategy such as a joint venture, strategic alliance, colocation, or co-opetition. Regardless of the decision executives make, in many cases any attempt to act on a viable road map will result in progress that will get the firm moving in the right direction.


  1. Divide your class into four or eight groups, depending on the size of the class. Each group should select a different industry. Find examples of competitive and cooperative moves that you would recommend if hired as a consultant for a firm in that industry.
  2. What types of cooperative moves could your college or university use to partner with local, national, and international businesses? What benefits and risks would be created by making these moves?


Figure 6.4:
DRX TVRdeck hi by T3ku ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (first);

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch Android Tablet by Intel Free Press ( used under  CC BY-SA 2.0 Licence (second);

Cd 3d by Jef triforce ( is in the Public Domain (third);

IPod nano by Kyro ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence(fourth);

Linhof Technika D.B.P. 4×5 monorail bellows camera by macronix ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (fifth);

Kodak EasyShare LS743 digital camera by Donmike10 ( is in the Public Domain (sixth);

Mainframe Computer by Purnendu Karmakar ( is in the Public Domain (seventh);

Desktop personal computer by Jeremy Banks ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (eighth);

Mir sailing ship by Mz ( is in the Public Domain (ninth);

The steam ship Malmö 1838 by Sven Rosborn ( used under CC BY-SA 2.0 Licence  (tenth)

Figure 6.5:
IKEA before Open by OiMax ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (first);

Insulin pen by PerPlex ( is in the Public Domain (second);

Normandy Invasion, June 1944 by Unknown (,_June_1944.jpg) is in the Public Domain (third)

Figure 6.10:
0007800000337 500X500 by David Guo ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (first);

Blank cigarette packet with logo removed and cigarettes sticking out by Kiwiev ( used under CC0 Licence (second);

Legrandsisters by PR-AR-PHOTO ( is in the Public Domain (third);

Stock market quotes in newspaper by Andreas Poike ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (fourth);

Chevrolet Spark LT – Flickr – mick – Lumix by Mick ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (fifth)

Figure 6.11:
Security Forces Night Patrol by Petty Officer 2nd Class Todd Frantom ( is in the Public Domain (first);

Kugelstoszpendel by Alsterdrache ( used under CC0 Licence (second);

Fire Engine Clay Twp by Cassini83 ( is in the Public Domain (third)

Figure 6.13:
Hong Kong Disney Resort by AsianFC ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (first);

Meds by Charles Williams ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (second);

La Quinta Inn Chicago/Oakbrook Terrace (DuPage County, IL) by DiscoverDuPage ( used under CC BY 3.0 Licence (third);

USMC-111104-M-YP696-003 by Unknown ( is in the Public Domain (fourth)


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