Business Manager Identification of Competitors in Real World and Simulation Settings


  • William J. Wellington
  • A. J. Faria


"Despite extensive academic research on how to classify competitors, there has been limited study on how managers identify competitors in practice. This paper examines how business executives who undertook a marketing simulation game as part of an executive training exercise identified their strongest competitors in their workplace environments and then how these same executives identified their strongest competitors within a marketing simulation gaming environment. The findings from 45 executives participating on 13 simulation teams indicated that they used many of the same criteria to evaluate their workplace environment competitors and their simulation competitors. While it is clear that a marketing manager for Coca-Cola would consider Pepsi-Cola a direct competitor; a marketing manager for Procter & Gamble would view Kimberly-Clark as a direct competitor; and a marketing manager for General Motors would view Ford as a direct competitor, what criteria do business managers use when identifying competitors? Little research on this topic appears in the marketing literature. Findings from simulation game participants could add to this limited knowledge. Can business games be used to identify how managers assess competitors and what criteria are used to identify a company's closest competitors? "