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Superpoly: monopoly in the twenty-first century

Rowley, Jennifer (2009) Superpoly: monopoly in the twenty-first century. Management research news, 32 (8). pp. 751-761. ISSN 0140-9174

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose that the traditional definition of monopoly needs to be extended to accommodate twenty-first century marketplaces. The concept of superpoly is defined and discussed. Superpoly is a development of the concept of monopoly to accommodate market structures in networked and knowledge-intensive economies characterised by a high underlying level of consumer choice. Design/methodology/approach – A definition of superpoly is offered and each of the seven market spaces in superpoly are defined and illustrated with reference to Tesco, the UK supermarket chain. A discussion section explores the issues that arise from over-dominance of one business in each of these spaces in terms of the positives (typically emphasised by the dominant business) and the negatives (typically emphasised by other stakeholders). Findings – In order to achieve a state of superpoly, businesses focus on seven interrelated market spaces, including respectively: commercial space, channel space, consumption space, community space, cultural space, career space, and communication space. These are the seven spaces of superpoly. The proposed concept of superpoly suggests that researchers should take a broader perspective on competition and competitive practices. Originality/value – The article is the first to propose a development of the concept of monopoly and business dominance for knowledge-based, consumption focussed and networked societies and economies.

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