O Porters ideas on national competitive advantage adequately explain the means by which specific nations have achieved economic success?

Essay question: Do Porters ideas on national competitive advantage adequately explain the means by which specific nations have achieved economic success?


Answering the question.
You need, naturally, fully to interpret the set question; to consider key words or phrases; to decide how all parts of the question are connected (although possibly asked in two parts, there are connections that should be reflected in your answer); to devise an analysis and/or essay structure that allows you to answer the question fully; and, through analysis and thought, to determine the key issues, debates and subject matter as opposed to the peripheral or irrelevant.

Knowledge of Cases and Evidence.
It is impossible to gain high marks unless you demonstrate knowledge of countries, institutions, industries, firms, and organizational functions. Evidence enables you to avoid annoying generalizations and sweeping statements. While some cases may support one interpretation of an issue or question, other cases may not. Use your cases and evidence within an analytical structure designed to answer the question rather than just mentioning cases and authors in turn and without clear purpose.

Knowledge of Theory and Literature.
You need to demonstrate an understanding of major authors and theories whenever relevant. But please avoid repeating the work of others at length. Often a short summary is sufficient, and the questions on the course direct you to critique and not exegesis. You should employ theories and concepts as a means of shaping your use of evidence, and theory and evidence should be synergic and not separate.

Analysis and Structure.
This is the main characteristic that defines a good assignment. You are expected to know the major literature and offer evidential support as a basic part of studying for the course. The point is whether you have thought about the material, and whether you can use it to argue coherently and analytically in response to a set problem. The insights implicit in your analysis should be reflected in the design of your assignment structure, which, in turn, should be apparent to the marker.

It should be no surprise on this course that you have to offer comparisons. It is better to avoid the sequential outline of cases, by which is meant a discussion of (say) the US, Germany, the UK, Japan and China in turn and separately. The approach causes problems in the design of an analytical structure, and it is not directly comparative because you treat each example separately. Place evidence from each nation within the issues set by an analytical structure: that is, if you were to discuss comparative human resources, place choices of evidence from Germany, UK, US, Japan and China into most of the assignment sections dealing with key issues such as training, management education, employment systems, trade unions, etc.
Harvard referencing system

Website quotes are not accepted, unless they are government statistics. (3-4 Internet references max)

Mostly Journals/articles + Porters books/articles

O Porters ideas on national competitive advantage adequately explain the means by which specific nations have achieved economic success?

The essay should have the following elements:
a.Introduction: here you briefly explain what the essay is about and how you intend to approach the issue what follows in the essay.
b.Main concepts behind the problem and discussion: Here you have the opportunity to present the main theory behind the question, the main ideas, or the whole debate. Then (or along the presentation) you should express your own views, linking them with the other researchers and debate views/elements. In this part you can get very creative, but make sure the above are definitely included!
c.Conclusions: here you say what the essays purpose was and sum up all your arguments (made in section B above) in order to highlight the fact that you have addressed the main issues concerned with the essay question.
d.References: Here you should list in Ascending alphabetical order ALL the references you have used or referred to in the document. Please see published papers on the style of presenting references (they are always included at the end of journal papers) and stick with a style. I would suggest the style used in the papers published in the Journal of Finance. Hint: download a paper from the Journal of Finance from the web/library and then do as they do with respect to references.
C Smith, B McSweeeney and R Fitzgerald, Remaking Management: Between Global and Local (Cambridge University Press, 2008),

P.Dicken, Global Shift: the Internationalisation of Economic Activity (2003)

M.E.Porter, The Competitive Advantage of Nations (London: Macmillan, 1990)

A.D.Chandler, Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (Harvard University Press, 1990)

journals are:
Harvard Business Review – interviews and corporate cases
The Economist – business and economic analysis
Financial Times – business and economic analysis
Far Eastern Economic Review – business and economic analysis
Business Week – including annual survey of largest corporations