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Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0684841465
ISBN-10: 0684841460
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Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance + Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors + Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Financial Times The most influential management book of the past quarter century....A veritable goldmine of analytical concepts and tools to help companies get a much clearer grasp of how they can create and sustain competitive advantage.

Philip Kotler S.C. Johnson & Son, Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, Northwestern University Michael Porter has done it again. Having defined the 'what' and 'why' of competitive strategy in his earlier book, he now defines the 'how' in Competitive Advantage.

Newsday A sharp, aggressive and cogently reasoned book about competition that your smarter rivals will try to get to first.

The Washington Post A brilliant structural analysis of what competitive advantage might mean....

Antitrust Law & Economics Review A superb guide for business managers but also necessary background study for judges, antitrust agency officials, and economic experts in antitrust cases.

About the Author

Michael E. Porter, one of the world's leading authorities on competitive strategy and international competitiveness, is the C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. In 1983, Professor Porter was appointed to President Reagan's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness, the initiative that triggered the competitiveness debate in America. He serves as an advisor to heads of state, governors, mayors, and CEOs throughout the world. The recipient of the Wells Prize in Economics, the Adam Smith Award, three McKinsey Awards, and honorary doctorates from the Stockholm School of Economics and six other universities, Porter is the author of fourteen books, among them Competitive Strategy, The Competitive Advantage of Nations, and Cases in Competitive Strategy, all published by The Free Press. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684841460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684841465
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael E. Porter, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, is the author of Competitive Strategy, the recipient of the 1979 McKinsey Foundation Award for The Best Harvard Business Review Article, and a guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Professor Porter developed the much praised MBA course on Industry and Competitive Analysis, lectures widely on competitive strategy, and is a strategic consultant to numerous companies in the United States and abroad.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on April 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Michael Porter is the founding father for strategies in a competitive context. This pioneering book represents some of his best thoughts on business and corporate strategy.

Chapter 1 is a summary of his first landmark book - "Competitive Strategy". So if you just want to buy one of his bestsellers, then buy "Competitive Advantage".

The book's most important contribution is the concept of the VALUE CHAIN. Today, you won't find an MBA who doesn't know this idea. This book gives you all the details on the value chain. And it even tells you exactly how the value chain is translated into his two generic strategies: Cost Leadership and Differentiation. Most strategy books devote a separate chapter to this idea. If you want to get a more than a superficial understanding of the value chain, you simply have to read Porter's book.

This book also gets to the core of how synergies are created and when diversification might work. Curiously, Porter chooses the term interrelationships for synergies (you know, a term for a nice idea that rarely occurred in practice...).

Being a business development manager, I have strategic thinking as part of my key areas. This book is still a reference guide for me. Obviously though, Porter's views cannot stand-alone.

If you're looking for critical views on Porter's ideas, then consider buying Hamel & Prahalad's "Competing for the Future" (1994) or Kim & Mauborgne's "Blue Ocean Strategy" (2005).

Beware: You have to read Porter's Harvard Business review article "What is Strategy" from 1996, if you want his own response to the critics.

Warning: You cannot work seriously with strategy without having understood Michael Porter's core concepts.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I just finished a competitive strategy class in my MBA program and this book was referred to often. The most helpful section is the one that breaks down a company's activities and helps create a 'value chain' to figure out how and where an organization creates value. Once this is done, Porter delineates how competitive advantages might be created based on tinkering with value chain activities. The only thing, I felt, was not covered in the book was the 'core competence' concept which is also derived from the value chain but ignored in this particular publication. Nevertheless, this is a 'must have' for all potential strategy consultants.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lars Bergstrom VINE VOICE on December 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A comprehensive introduction to how you can create advantages in your industry, even if you're not an MBA-type and just an engineer (like me). It'll also give you a useful framework for assessing what your current company and group is doing, what its vulnerabilities are, and how it relates to what the rest of the market is doing so you can make recommendations.
The only downside was the dated feel of the examples, which really made it difficult for a younger person to relate to.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elijah Chingosho on January 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The book "Competitive Advantage" describes how a firm can gain an advantage over its rivals. Michael Porter introduced the concept of the "value chain" that breaks down a company into "activities" or the discrete functions or processes that represent the elemental building blocks of competitive advantage. Such discrete activities include order processing, producing products or services, training people, advertising or transporting goods. The value chain concept allows firms to isolate the underlying source of buyer value that will enable a firm to charge a premium price and explains the reasons why one product or service substitutes for another.

Competitive advantage is the key to a company's performance in competitive markets. This is very important in today's global markets when firms face global competition. The book explains how a firm can create and sustain a competitive advantage. It discusses the need for firms to effectively translate their broad competitive strategies into specific action steps required to gain competitive advantage. In particular, the book bridges the gap that many firms have between strategy formulation and implementation and treats the two subjects together.

Porter describes how a firm can put the three generic competitive strategies of cost leadership, differentiation and focus into practice. It highlights, for example, how a firm can differentiate itself from its rivals or how a firm can gain a cost advantage.

The book highlights the need for all the functions of an organization to play their role in creating competitive advantage. Production, marketing, finance, human resources and others all play essential roles for a firm in a combined and integrated way.

The book is critical reading for managers who play a part in a firm's strategy (that means all managers). Students studying strategic management will find the book very informative and easy to follow.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the second of the classic volumes by Michael Porter. The first was Competitive Strategy and it outlined the general methods and industry analysis. This volume, Competitive Advantage, is more complex and offers methods for understanding what a firm is and does and how it creates value. We all know the term value-chain; it was introduced here.

The complexity comes from trying to define firms when no two businesses (firms) are alike. Then add to that considerations about how do these firms compete with each other, to what degree, and in which ways?

The book is 15 chapters grouped in four parts. The four parts are:
1)Principles of Competitive Advantage
2)Competitive Scope Within an Industry
3)Corporate Strategy and Competitive Advantage
4)Implications for Offensive and Defensive Competitive Strategy

Chapter 15 is entitled "Attacking an Industry Leader". This is the culmination of the book and lets you know that it does have a practical focus. Of course, as a more practical book of theory (seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?), it cannot discuss every situation or approach. Nevertheless, this is an important book. It not only deserves a place on every businessperson's shelf, it rewards careful reading and re-reading.
This is the second of the classic volumes by Michael Porter. The first was Competitive Strategy and it outlined the general methods and industry analysis. This volume, Competitive Advantage, is more complex and offers methods for understanding what a firm is and does and how it creates value. We all know the term value-chain; it was introduced here.

The complexity comes from trying to define firms when no two businesses (firms) are alike.
Read more ›
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