Module Seven: Competitive Advantage via Strategic Intent

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the different organizational structures that companies can adopt and they grow and expand globally
  • Explain how an international division structure works and what factors contribute to the establishment of an international division

Reading and Resources

Textbook: Global Marketing, Chapters 16 and 17.

Video: Corporate Social Responsibility – Making Progress
This video describes how McDonald’s tries to be responsible.

Students may experience varying amounts of time for this resource to load, depending on the speed of their internet connection. This video 5 minutes and 11 seconds in length.

Website: Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire
Explore this website about corporate social responsibility.

Module Overview

The essence of marketing strategy is successfully relating the strengths of an organization to its environment. As the horizons of marketers have expanded from domestic to regional and global, so too have the horizons of competitors. The reality in almost every industry today—including home furnishings—is global competition. This fact of life puts an organization under increasing pressure to master techniques for conducting industry analysis and competitor analysis, and understanding competitive advantage at both the industry and national levels. These topics are covered in detail in this module. Also, this module focuses on the integration of each element of the marketing mix into a total plan that addresses opportunities and threats in the global marketing environment.

Unilever, the global food and consumer packaged goods powerhouse, markets a brand portfolio that includes such well-known names as Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Hellmann’s, and Lipton. The company has approximately 200,000 employees and annual sales of $57 billion; Unilever can trace its roots, in part, to the northern English town of Port Sunlight on the River Mersey. Before retiring, Unilever Group Chief Executive Patrick Cescau wanted to reconnect the company with its heritage of sustainability and concern for the environment (see Exhibit 17-1). These and other values reflect Unilever’s philosophy of “doing well by doing good.” Cescau’s vision of “doing well by doing good” manifested itself in other ways, too. For example, he guided the company’s detergent business toward using fewer chemicals and less water, plastic, and packaging. Business leaders today must be capable of articulating a coherent global vision and strategy that integrates global efficiency, local responsiveness, and leverage. The leader is the architect of an organization design that is appropriate for the company’s strategy. The leader must ensure that the organization takes a proactive approach to corporate social responsibility.


D’Aveni, Richard. Hypercompetition: Managing the Dynamics of Strategic Maneuvering. New York: Free Press, 1994.

Going Global: Succeeding in World Markets. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1991.

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