An application of strategic group theory to the UK pharmaceuticals industry

Graham Leask, David Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conducts a strategic group mapping exercise by analysing R&D investment, sales/marketing cost and leadership information pertaining to the pharmaceuticals industry. Explains that strategic group mapping assists companies in identifying their principal competitors, and hence supports strategic decision-making, and shows that, in the pharmaceutical industry, R&D spending, the cost of sales and marketing, i.e. detailing, and technological leadership are mobility barriers to companies moving between sectors. Illustrates, in bubble-chart format, strategic groups in the pharmaceutical industry, plotting detailing-costs against the scale of activity in therapeutic areas. Places companies into 12 groups, and profiles the strategy and market-position similarities of the companies in each group. Concludes with three questions for companies to ask when evaluating their own, and their competitors, strategies and returns, and suggests that strategy mapping can be carried out in other industries, provided mobility barriers are identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Business Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • strategic group research
  • resource-based theory
  • core competences
  • strategic group analysis


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