Now comes a nice summarization of Porter, and the evolution of his thinking based on accumulated experience, written by his research associate Joan Magretta and entitled: "Understanding Michael Porter: The essential guide to competition and strategy".
Of course, students of Porter have absorbed his idea that strategy is that which creates a sustainable value proposition for customers in the context of a sustainable value chain for the business. For Porter, strategy is unique activity, different from competitors:
Michael Porter, "What is Strategy", 1996 HBR
And the purpose of strategy is enhanced business value; the means of strategy is competitive advantage (thus, the name of the book). Competitive advantage arises from the integrated effect of resources, capabilities, and differention:
But my eye caught something from Margette's book on the integration aspect of strategy (I'm always interested in anything that integrates the dots into a narrative)
"Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy"
I really thought the integrative effect of strategy was interesting in light of Porter's assertion in 1996 that Japanese companies had no strategies. To my mind, this is a shocking statement; but having worked for a Japanese owned company, I know where he's coming from. Porter says they simply focused on taking improved operational effectiveness (OE) to its maximum---and then they could go no farther, leading to the "lost decade". (Of course, it's a good deal more complicated than that, so I'll leave the lost decade right here). By Porter's definition, OE is not a strategy.
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