Developing critical thinking and research skills

Case studies are an important learning strategy in business classes as they provide an opportunity for you to critically analyze events that have taken place in real-life businesses. This develops your critical thinking and research skills as you research the competition and industry in which your business resides with an end goal of formulating a recommendation for the challenges faced by the company.

Select one of the three case studies listed below, which can be found in your textbook. Evaluate the case of your choice, and respond to each of the questions below using both theory and practical managerial thinking as well as supporting research.

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Option 1: Southwest Airlines (pp. 490–491)

  1. What is the product and service model of Southwest? Who is their primary target market, and how is Southwest positioned with this group?
  2. What is the pricing strategy of Southwest compared to other airlines? Is this a differentiating factor?
  3. What risks does Southwest Airlines face both from a macro and micro environmental standpoint?
  4. Can Southwest continue to thrive as a low-cost airline when tough economic times hit or as other airlines mimic its business model?

Option 2: Amazon.com (pp. 522–523)

  1. With respect to the distribution, why has Amazon succeeded when so many other companies have failed?
  2. From a theoretical standpoint, what is Amazon’s pricing model? Why is this so effective? How does this compare to their competitors?
  3. Discuss how Amazon has used differentiation and positioning as two key components in maintaining a competitive advantage.
  4. Thinking about the changes in the macro and micro environment, what is next for Amazon? Where else can it grow?

Option 3: Best Buy (pp. 554–555)

  1. What were the keys to Best Buy’s success? How have they differentiated themselves?
  2. What pricing model has Best Buy adopted?
  3. What are the challenges it faces in today’s retail environment from both a micro and macro environmental standpoint?
  4. How else can Best Buy compete against retail competitors like Walmart and Costco as well as online competitors like Amazon.com?

In formatting your case analysis, do not use the question-and-answer format; instead, use an essay format with subheadings. Your APA-formatted case study should be a minimum of 500 words in length (not counting the title and reference pages). You are required to use a minimum of three peer-reviewed, academic sources that are no more than 5 years old (one may be your textbook). All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased material must have accompanying in-text citations.

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