Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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. And the superficial introduction by most - even advanced - strategy books won't make you competent enough to apply his ideas skilfully. Let me give you two examples:
Most MBAs have learned about the value chain and cost structure analysis. But in real life I've seen very few who combine these two concepts proficiently. The real beauty in benchmarking cost structures is when you skilfully apply it to the value chain. This book tells you exactly how to do this. In practice, I've seen this approach applied very few times (except advanced strategy consultants). It may be because people often use Porter's concepts too casually...
Most strategy books are on drivers of differentiation - the preferred strategy choice by management gurus. And Porter does indeed help you on this issue. More importantly, this book is one of the few to tell you about the cost drivers. How many books have you read on Cost Leadership? Porter elaborates on 10 cost drivers, such as economies of scale, learning, linkages, synergies, pattern of capacity utilization, integration, timing, policies, and location.
STRATEGY IS ABOUT BEING DIFFERENT. Start out personally by reading the real thing ... it's a bargain.
MSc in International Business (Marketing & Management) and Graduate Diploma in E-business
The only downside was the dated feel of the examples, which really made it difficult for a younger person to relate to.
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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