Richard A. D'Aveni, Professor of Strategic Management

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Waking Up to the New Era of Hypercompetition

Waking Up to the New Era of Hypercompetition

From microchips to corn chips, software to soft drinks, and packaged goods to package delivery services, executives have watched the intensity and type of competition in their industries shift during the last few years. Industries have changed from slow moving, stable oligopolies to environments,> characterized by intense and rapid competitive moves, in which competitors strike quickly with unexpected, unconventional means of competing. They now confront “hypercompetitors” who continuously generate new competitive advantages that destroy, make obsolete, or neutralize the industry leader’s advantages, leaving the industry in disequilibrium and disarray.

The problem of hypercompetitive markets has spread to the airline, pharmaceutical,financial services, health care, consumer electronics, telecommunications, broadcasting, auditing, automotive, and computer industries, among many others. As Jack Welch, chief executive officer of General Electric, said in 1992 in describing future competitive practices, “It’s going to be brutal.”

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