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How to Improve India’s Competitiveness Ranking?

ET Cases, 7 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Bala Bharathi Yelamanchi and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

How to Improve India’s Competitiveness Ranking?

“There is no single nation in the world that has succeeded in a sustainable way without preserving long-term value creation. Competitiveness refers to such an objective: it determines how countries, regions and companies manage their competencies to achieve long-term growth, generate jobs and increase welfare. Competitiveness is therefore a way towards progress that does not result in winners and losers. When two countries compete, both are better off”.

– Arturo Bris, Director, IMD1 World Competitiveness Center and Professor of Finance, IMD2

Competition existed since the time civilization was born. It began with the life itself. Over millions of years, a complex network of competitive interactions developed. Competition had been a way of life in every human sphere. The World Wars, in one sense, were manifestation of heightened competition. Recent trade wars (propelled by Trump3) between US, China, EU, etc., indicate in another sense the competition for resources. Whether it is animals, individuals, families, institutions, companies or
countries, competition existed and continues to exist in variety of ways. Why compete? What do people, companies, and countries compete for? Strangely, not for one reason. In 1990, Michael E. Porter wrote “The Competitive Advantage of Nations”, a book based on studies of ten nations which argues that a key to national wealth and advantage was the productivity of firms and workers collectively, and that the national and regional environment supports that productivity. He proposed the ‘diamond’ framework, a mutually-reinforcing system of four factors that determine national advantage: factor conditions; demand conditions; related or supporting industries; and firm strategy, structure and rivalry.4

Interest in national competitiveness is an extension of interest in the competitiveness of companies. Competitive businesses are able to offer attractive goods or services than those of their rivals through lower costs or better products. But the analogy between individual businesses and national economies doesn’t quite hold. Companies that are not competitive disappear. Countries that are not competitive don’t. These nations still need to import, and their exchange rate falls until they become competitive again. Every country that trades internationally is competitive in some areas – the things it exports – and uncompetitive in others – those it imports. This principle of comparative advantage has been a foundation of economic analysis for 200 years........................


Exhibit I: History of IMD World Competitiveness Center

Exhibit II: IMD World Competitiveness Rankings (2012-2018)

Exhibit III: India’s Overall Ranking in IMD’s World Competitiveness Rankings 2018

1 International Institute for Management Development

2 Message From The IMD Competitiveness Center Director, Date: June 25th 2018)

3 Donald John Trump is the 45th President of the United States

4 “Five Forces Model: Based Upon Michael E. Porter’s Work”, (Accessed Date: June 25th 2018)

Teaching Note Preview

How to Improve India’s Competitiveness Ranking?


The purpose of this teaching plan is neither to outline the answers to Case Debate’s discussion questions nor to suggest an ideal way of conducting an effective debate basis the given topic. It is more to share the authors’ perspectives, basis their classroom orchestration of this Case Debate, on possible ways of orchestrating this Case Debate.

Purpose of the Case Debate

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills [Exhibit (TP)-I] that would amply benefit the participants during their careers.....

As this Case Debate is based on a very generic topic, the purpose is not to dwell into only the research-based inputs but more to prepare the students/participants for the process of case discussion – except that while the case discussion would be based on the case facts, the Case Debate encourages the students/participants to present their ideas with no rigorous business dilemma.............



Exhibit (TP)-II: India’s Ranking in IMD World’s Competitiveness Rankings (2014-2018)

Exhibit (TP)-III: Classroom Orchestration Plan – How to Improve India’s Competitiveness Ranking?

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Product code: ME-9-0028, ME-9-0028A


This Case Debate is meant to trigger an animated debate on how to improve India's Competitiveness Ranking. India is ranked 44th in the International Institute for Management Development's (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking 2018, faring poorer than a few Asian and Middle Eastern countries like China (13), Malaysia (22), Thailand (30), Saudi Arabia (39). While US took the pole position, Hong Kong, Singapore, Netherlands and Switzerland stood at 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions respectively. The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD Business School in Switzerland, has published the rankings every year since 1989. In 2018, a total of 63 countries were ranked with Cyprus and Saudi Arabia making their first appearance. The IMD's rankings are based on a country's performance on 4 key pillars - Economic Performance, Government Efficiency, Business Efficiency and Infrastructure. Performance on these is, in turn, measured through other indicators. Though India has moved up to 44th position (in 2018 rankings) worldwide, up one rank from last year, it is ranked as the 12th most competitive economy out of the 14 Asian countries on the list. Regarding India, the report said, "some of the challenges which India has to face for the year 2018 would be skilling of manpower and employment generation, streamlining the implementation of goods and services tax and balancing high growth with sustainable development goals". The report further noted that "digital literacy and adequate bandwidth at rural areas and mobilization of resources for infrastructure development needs are few more key areas where the government needs to concentrate".

This Case Debate centers around (a) What is the purpose of World Competitiveness Rankings? (b) How should India improve its ranking within a specified timeline? (c) How would these rankings be a guiding force for any country's economic progress planning and mapping? (d) How would these rankings impact a country's global outlook? (e) How are IMD's World Competitiveness Rankings different from World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index?

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills that would amply benefit the participants during their careers:

(a) Ideation
(b) Discussion and Debate
(c) Empathy
(d) Appreciation

Case Debate Positioning and Setting

Depending on the purpose, this Case Debate can be used for either of the following:

  • MBA Programs – Business/Managerial Economics – To understand how the competitiveness rankings can be used to prioritize and allocate scarce resources; can aid in Production Possibilities Frontier (PPF) discussion
  • Undergraduate Programs/BBA Programs – To sensitize the participants to the importance of World Competitiveness Rankings and how would these rankings be used by the countries to chart their economic planning

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Debate
- Teaching Plan (**ONLY for Academicians)

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