An investigation of the winner-takes-all market: Woolworths and Coles



HI6007 Assessment One

Business Research Report Proposal: Initial Research Proposal

Due Friday Week 06

1000 words worth 10%

The initial research proposal will consist of the following SIX (6) items:

  1. Identify a business research topic
  2. Define the research questions for the identified problem or opportunity
  3. Select the appropriate research methodologies and techniques to use for the research project
  4. Describe the research process
  5. Describe data collection and analysis methods
  6. Describe expected research outcomes

Material on Research Methods will be presented in class from week 4 to 6.

Initial Research Proposal due at the end of Week 6

Here are some questions to help you develop your business research proposal:


What exactly do I want to find out?

What is a researchable problem?


What does the relevant literature in the field indicate about this problem?


What will I take as given in the environment i.e. what is the starting point? 

Which are the independent and which are the dependent variables?


Does the problem need scoping/simplifying to make it achievable?

What and how will the variables be measured?

What degree of error in the findings is tolerable?


What is my overall strategy for doing this research?

Will this design permit me to answer the research question?

What constraints will the approach place on the work?


How will I get the data I need to test my hypothesis?

What tools or devices will I use to make or record observations?

How will I choose the sample?

What degree of accuracy or level of confidence can I guarantee?


What combinations of analytical and statistical process will be applied to the data?

Which of these will allow me to accept or reject my hypotheses?


Was my initial hypothesis supported or rejected? Why?

What are the implications of my findings for the theory base, for the background assumptions, or relevant literature?

What recommendations result from the work?

What suggestions can I make for further research on this topic?


  Identify business research topic and Define the research questions for the identified problem or opportunity.  Excellent 8-10Good 6-7Average 5Not adequate 3-4Poor 0-2
Clearly justified topic     
Well defined questions     
Importance and value of research topic and problem     
Well referenced literature to research topic     
Comments: /40%  
  Select the appropriate research methodologies and techniques to use for the research project Describe the research process  Excellent 8-10Good 6-7Average 5Not adequate 3-4Poor 0-2
Selection of suitable research method     
Steps of research process described     
References used to justify choices     
Comments: /30%
  Describe data collection and analysis methods Describe expected research outcomes  Excellent 8-10Good 6-7Average 5Not adequate 3-4Poor 0-2
Suitable data collection method     
Description of data analysis to be done     
Description of expected results     
Comments: /30%
Overall Comments TOTAL /100%    


Winner-takes-all is a phrase used at the individual, corporate, state or regional levels as an analogy for a situation where the best performers can capture an enormous share of the profits or rewards due to the lack of significant competition or the existing competitors have little to offer. Frank and Cook (2012) state that small differences in people’s talents or the organization’s ability sometimes translate into large differences in the economic reward. The winner-takes-all markets are characterized by relative performance being more important for higher returns than the absolute performance, and payoff of the best performers is high compared to those of the second best (Fischbacher & Thöni, 2002). Companies in a winner-takes-all market reduces the probability of others to win. Fischbacher and Thöni (2002) states that winner-takes-all markets are inefficient because they lead to a few entities dominating the market and can easily result in a monopoly. The intent of this investigation is to analyse the effects of the winner-takes-all market on the local retailers following the dominance of Woolworths and Coles in the retail sector in Australia.

In the last few decades, globalisation has revolutionised the dynamics of conducting business. The market landscape has been expanded significantly across borders. Improved transport, communication, new technologies, better human resources management, and better business models have enabled businesses to achieve competitive advantage. Enterprises, which maximize these aspects have sustainable growth while accumulating customer loyalty and building a reputation (Lechner & Boli, 2015). Advancement of technology has facilitated the expansion of business with remote managerial activities. Although there exist more opportunities in the new age economy, large corporations are the ones that reap most of the benefits due to their financial capacity and influence in the marketplace. Smaller companies that lack enough resources to grow or alternative ways of creating competitive advantage may collapse, or they do not offer significant competition (Frank & Cook, 2012).

Problem statement

Woolworths is one of the leading supermarket retail sectors in Australia. Coles is the only company that can offer significant competition. Resultantly, Woolworths and Coles have grown to be the largest retailers in Australia. According to Keith (2012), an expository research on media commentary shows that these two companies have an anti-competitive and duopolistic approach to business. Consequently, their dominance has transformed the Australia retail sector to a winner-takes-all market by decreasing the competitive pressure. The business environment has changed since the decisions made by the two companies has the power to shape practices in the supply chain, including food production, other retailers, communities, and the consumers in the country. In recent years, people have raised concerns about the environmental effects of food transportation. Additionally, people have become conscious of what they eat, as well as the conditions of where they get their food. In response to this changing behaviour, the supermarket retailers are always seeking to improve on ways to address the shortcomings that might relate to the change in consumer behaviour (Hernant, 2009)…

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