Recent Question/Assignment

Unit: B01BECO197, Business Economics
Program: Bachelor of Business
Trimester: 2, 2014

This assignment is designed to develop your understanding of the theory of the firm through critical analysis of an article which appeared recently in an Australian national magazine.

Read the attached article by Malcom Knox, Duopoly Money: Coles, Woolworths and the price we pay for domination, published in The Monthly, August 2014, pp. 20-31. Then, prepare answers to the following questions. Your answers should be supported by references to the supporting theoretical literature.

1. In terms of the theory of the firm, identify and describe the key features of the market in which Coles and Woolworths compete with each other and with other, smaller firms. What form of competition is this? (About 500 words)

2. “They don’t want to destroy the industry but they want to push prices down to the point just above where they destroy it” (p.26). What tactics do Coles and Woolworths employ to pursue this objective? Why do they pursue this objective? (About 500 words)

3. “The modern corporation is programmed for ‘creative destruction’”. (p.29). What do you understand by the term ‘creative destruction’? How could ‘creative destruction’ alter the structure of the Australian supermarket industry? How could ‘creative destruction’ affect Coles’ and Woolworths’ customers and suppliers. (About 500 words)

4. “Coles and Woolworths are the 19th and 15th biggest-selling retailers in the world but their size generates more unease than national pride”. How could the proposed break-up of these companies deliver better outcomes for Australian consumers and supermarket suppliers? In terms of the theory of the firm, what form of competition could result? (About 500 words)

Note: Each of your answers to the above questions should be supported by at least one diagram that illustrates an aspect of the theoretical literature.

Your assignment should be accompanied by a brief introduction to the subject matter of the article (maximum 250 words) and a conclusion containing your evaluation of the merits of the article (maximum 250 words).


General instructions
This assignment may be completed and submitted on either an individual or small group basis. A ‘small group’ can consist of two or three students. Groups are responsible for selecting and managing their own members.
Whether completing the assignment on an individual or group basis, you are free to discuss material and the assignment questions with your fellow students. However, the final assignment, when submitted, is expected to be unique, with regard to both form and content.

Assessment value
This assignment is worth 15% towards your semester aggregate. Attempt all four (4) questions. Each question carries 10 marks, the introduction 5 marks and the conclusion 5 marks for a total of 50 marks, convertible to 15%.

Due date
Your assignment must be submitted by 4.00pm, Monday, 29 September AEST (Week 10). Students are encouraged to submit assignments comfortably before the close-off time.

2500 words (+/-10%), excluding reference list, diagrams, headers, footers.

Should you need an extension, please ensure that you have made application comfortably before the due date.

Other important points:
• Treat each of the questions discreetly. Therefore, answer each of the specific questions as they stand.
• You are required to demonstrate scholarly discussion, critical and analytical skills and to express your position effectively on any issues uncovered.
• You are encouraged to use the resources of the library.
• In addition to the course textbook, which is your basic source of information, you are expected to consult other ‘quality’ sources, such as journal and magazine articles to support your answers. Over-reliance on website-based sources of information is not encouraged.
• Please observe normal academic conventions with regard to layout, formatting, in-text referencing and sourcing. A conservative style of presentation is preferred, using Times New Roman, Font Size 12, or similar. Please avoid using over-sized fonts, excessive artwork and other eccentricities.
• Your ideas should be supported with appropriate references to the work of others using the ‘Harvard’ referencing system.
• A reference list should be presented at the end of the assignment.
• Do not submit your assignment in plastic sleeves or a binder. The pages of the assignment should be simply stapled in the top left hand corner.
• Late submission will be penalised at the rate of 5% of marks per day.

See your lecturer if you have any specific queries.

Dr Mark St Leon
Kent Institute of Business & Technology, Sydney
8 August 2014

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