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1. Sources of Competitive Advantage in the Airlines Industry

Superior market knowledge is not only an important source of competitive advantage, but it also results in happier, higher volume of, and more loyal customers. Thus, the systematic development of market knowledge is a critically important activity in any organization.*

*Reference: From Chapter 6 Take-Aways in Mullins, J., Walker, O., & Boyd, H. (2013). Marketing management: A strategic decision-making approach. (8th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin. 

In this discussion, address the following:

  • Explain what makes the above concept true.
  • Using the airlines industry as your frame of reference, in what ways can the above concept be applied from a marketing standpoint? 
  • After submitting your primary, original posting, review your classmates' contributions on this theory and provide them feedback. Use examples where appropriate. 

2. Singapore International Airlines: Strategy with a Smile (Ramaswamy, 2001)

Case Study Review

Access and read the following Harvard Business Review case study: 

  • Singapore International Airlines: Strategy With A Smile (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Ramaswamy, 2001) (HTML webpage file/Adobe Acrobat PDF file)

This business strategy case will help you to develop a framework for conceptualizing differentiation-based competitive advantage. Specifically, it illustrates how an organization implementing a strategy of differentiation needs to design its entire value chain with the intent to be outstanding in every value activity that it performs. Thus, it identifies the critical resource commitments that a differentiation strategy would require. This discussion is closely intertwined with an examination of country-specific (Singapore, in this case) sources of competitive advantage.

Case Study Analysis

Prepare your response, addressing the following items:

  1. Why is the airline industry considered a global industry? What are the forces driving globalization?
  2. How important to a company’s success is its country of origin and why does this matter?
  3. How do you explain the success of Singapore Airlines (SIA) over an extended period of time? 
  4. What are the key competencies of SIA? How are they created and sustained? How durable are they?
  5. What developments in the industry are threatening? What opportunities have emerged? Do these threats and opportunities necessitate any changes in strategic direction at SIA? What changes would you recommend?
  6. Evaluate the pros and cons of SIA’s alliance strategy and the suitability of Virgin Atlantic as a partner. Explore the impact on the Star Alliance.

3. Part 1: Review Questions

    1. Forecasts have powerful influence on what companies do, through budgets and other planning procedures. Thus, forecasting merits significant management attention and commitment. Provide an example of a budget or sales forecast for a major airlines and outline the components of this budget or forecast. 
    2. Superior market knowledge is not only an important source of competitive advantage, but it also results in happier, higher volume of, and more loyal customers. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not? Defend your answer.
    3. Much can go wrong in marketing research and often does. Becoming an informed and critical user of marketing research is an essential skill for anyone who seeks to contribute to strategic decision making. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not? Defend your answer.
    4. Why do market segmentation and target marketing make sense? Provide an example for the airlines industry. 

Part 2: Sales Forecasting in the Airlines Industry

As a marketing manager for a major airline, you are faced with strategic planning decisions of growing sales and increasing market share in the leisure travel market. Your boss walks into your office and requests an analysis of past sales in the leisure travel market using regression analysis (Tip: Review video Forecasting in Excel Using Simple Linear Regression in Activity 4.2). Using the Excel data file linked below, create a regression analysis with a graph that you can present to your boss for a meeting next week. Include a summary of your findings that:

    1. Determine if sales are increasing, decreasing, or staying constant based upon the regression forecast. 
    2. Explain the deviations in sales demand. 
    3. Provide your boss with a suggested strategic directive based upon your findings.

 Data File

Download the following file by right-clicking on the file link, selecting Save Target (or Link) As..., and saving to your computer.

    • Leisure Travel Data File   (Microsoft Excel file)

4. Changing Personality –The Psychoanalytic vs the Behaviorist Perspective

One of the most common questions that is asked of personality psychologists is “Can personality be changed?” In general, personality is considered to be a pervasive set of characteristic and/or behaviors that remain stable over time. However, different theoretical perspectives approach the question of behavioral change quite differently.

As we have seen, the Psychoanalytic and Behaviorist theories differ widely in their perspectives on the origin, development and behavioral expressions of personality. Likewise, they view the likelihood and process of change very differently.

Read the “Changing Personality” box in Chapter 6, Section 6.2, in your textbook, for a summary and example of how Behaviorists approach personality change.

Below is a reprint of Table 6.1 found in Chapter 6, Section 6.4, in your textbook. It compares Psychoanalytic/Neo-Analytic concepts to their Behaviorist reinterpretations. 

Psychoanalytic/Neo-Analytic Concept

Behaviorist Reinterpretation

Freud’s notion of the id as the instinctual energies that form the undifferentiated core of the personality.

Skinner asserted that this is simply humans’ innate susceptibility to reinforcement, which is the product of evolution.

The internal personality structure termed the egoor “I,” which responds to the world according to the reality principle.

The learned responses to the practical contingencies of everyday life; there are different behavioral repertoires for different environmental contingencies.

The superego or “over-I,” that internalizes societal rules and helps protect the ego from overwhelming id impulses.

Behavior is learned from the punitive practices of society, controlling behavior not allowed by parents and society; “unconscious” simply means that people are not taught to observe it and talk about it.

The ego defense mechanism of repression, that pushes threatening thoughts and motives back into the unconscious.

We learn to avoid behavior that is punished, and by not engaging in it, we avoid conditioned aversive stimulation.

Jung’s notion of archetypes (universal emotional symbols) and the collective unconscious of deep universal emotional symbols.

Skinner says that this is the evolution of certain universal characteristics of the human species and the parallel cultural evolution of useful behaviors; there is thus a sameness or universality of things that are reinforcing, and a commonality of behaviors that societies need to control.


Submit a 400-600 word paper that compares and contrasts these approaches to changing personality. In your paper, address these issues:

  1. Compare and contrast the effectiveness of these approaches. You may use real-world examples to help explain your perspective.
  2. Which do you think is more accurate and/or useful in understanding and changing personality?
  3. Thoroughly explain your answer using the concepts and perspectives of each theory.
  4. Provide a logical argument for the superiority of one approach over the other.

5. Addiction

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As with all human behaviors, the Behaviorist and Learning theories emphasize patterns of learned associations and reinforcement as the underlying cause of drug abuse and addiction.  As such, according to these theorists, the same principles operate with regard to the development of, as well as treatment for, the dysfunctional behavior patterns.


Watch the following Ted Talk regarding addiction. Also, be sure to read the overview at the same link before watching the video.

Johann Hari: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


After watching this Ted Talk, post a thoughtful answer to the following questions. Be sure to answer all parts of the question:

  • What was your overall impression of this Ted Talk?
  • What was the most surprising or interesting fact/issue in the discussion?
  • Discuss how Hari’s idea of addiction relates to behavioral and learning theories of personality. Be specific. 
  • Do you agree with Hari’s perspective on addiction? Explain your answer.
  • Based on the reading in the text and the information presented in the Ted Talk, what do you think is the most effective way to conceptualize and treat the “addictive personality”? 
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