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RETROSPECTIVE: Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy
Academy of Management Executive, May 2002, Vol.16, No.2

"Introduction: Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy"
Nicholas Argyres and Anita M. McGahan

The publication in 1980 of Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael E. Porter marked a critical juncture in the field of business strategy.

We interviewed Porter in March 2002 at his Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at the Harvard Business School.  We asked him about his experiences in writing Competitive Strategy, the book's impact, and how his ideas have evolved since the book's publication.  The interview also provided a unique opportunity to ask Porter about issues that are particularly relevant to executives and academics today.  In the interview, Porter discussed innovation and its relationship to his core frameworks, and the relevance of speed, knowledge, and dynamic capabilities to competitive positioning.  The interview also addressed Porter's views on emergent strategies, partnerships and alliances, antitrust enforcement, environmental policy, the resource-based view of the firm, sociological approaches to strategy, and the state of the academic field. 

"An Interview with Michael Porter"
Nicholas Argyres and Anita M. McGahan

"Strategic Management: From Informed Conversation to Academic Discipline"

     An Academic Commentary
     Jay B. Barney

There is little doubt that Michael Porter has been the most influential scholar in the field of strategic management over the last 25 years.  The frameworks presented in his seminal work, Competitive Strategy, addressed many of the central questions in what has since become the field of strategic management.

Put differently, before Competitive Strategy, strategic management was not much more than an informed conversation.  After Competitive Strategy, it became an academic discipline with important managerial implications.

"Porter's Added Value: High Indeed!"

     An Academic Commentary
     Adam Brandenburger

The Five Forces Model is surely the most widely known and widely used idea from Competitive Strategy.  What is the reason for the power of this model?  In my view it is that it gives a clear image of the essential activity of business.

A second very influential idea from Competitive Strategy is Porter's generic strategies.  Porter argues that, while the way firms succeed in making money may differ greatly in the details, any such strategy can be put in one or another of a small number of 'boxes' based on whether the firm is following a so-called differentiation or low-cost strategy.

"Competitive Strategy: It's O.K. to Be Different"

     An Executive Commentary
     John W. Bachman

How does any organization, small or large, gain competitive advantage in a crowded and highly competitive marketplace?

The fundamental distinction made by Porter in Competitive Strategy between a low-cost oriented strategy and one that produces unique value for customers through differentiation may seem obvious today, but it had not been clearly articulated prior to 1980.








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