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Competitive Strategy

Competitive Strategy

Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

Now nearing its sixtieth printing in English and translated into nineteen languages, Michael E. Porter's Competitive Strategy has transformed the theory, practice, and teaching of business strategy throughout the world. Electrifying in its simplicity—like all great breakthroughs—Porter’s analysis of industries captures the complexity of industry competition in five underlying forces. Porter introduces one of the most powerful competitive tools yet developed: his three generic strategies—lowest cost, differentiation, and focus—which bring structure to the task of strategic positioning. He shows how competitive advantage can be defined in terms of relative cost and relative prices, thus linking it directly to profitability, and presents a whole new perspective on how profit is created and divided. In the almost two decades since publication, Porter's framework for predicting competitor behavior has transformed the way in which companies look at their rivals and has given rise to the new discipline of competitor assessment.

More than a million managers in both large and small companies, investment analysts, consultants, students, and scholars throughout the world have internalized Porter's ideas and applied them to assess industries, understand competitors, and choose competitive positions. The ideas in the book address the underlying fundamentals of competition in a way that is independent of the specifics of the ways companies go about competing.

Competitive Strategy has filled a void in management thinking. It provides an enduring foundation and grounding point on which all subsequent work can be built. By bringing a disciplined structure to the question of how firms achieve superior profitability, Porter’s rich frameworks and deep insights comprise a sophisticated view of competition unsurpassed in the last quarter-century.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684841489 | 
  • June 1998
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Structural Analysis of Industries

The essence of formulating competitive strategy is relating a company to its environment. Although the relevant environment is very broad, encompassing social as well as economic forces, the key aspect of the firm's environment is the industry or industries in which it competes. Industry structure has a strong influence in determining the competitive rules of the game as well as the strategies potentially available to the firm. Forces outside the industry are significant primarily in a relative sense; since outside forces usually affect all firms in the industry, the key is found in the... see more

Articles About This Book

Ag-lafley

Posted on 250 Words

Posted by A.G. Lafley

A.G. Lafley is Chairman, President and CEO of Procter and Gamble. He shares 14 of his favorite books on strategy, innovation, leadership, general business and investing with 250 words.

About the Author

Michael E. Porter

Michael E. Porter is the C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. The author of fourteen books and recipient of the Wells Prize in Economics, he lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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