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Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy [Anglais] [Relié]

Joan Magretta

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Description de l'ouvrage

1 décembre 2011
A Distillation of The Most Important Business Thinking of Our Time

Michael Porter's groundbreaking ideas on competition and strategy have unfolded over three decades and are spread across a dauntingly long list of publications. Every manager can name individual pieces of his work-competitive advantage, the value chain, five forces-but no one, not even Porter himself, has put the entire puzzle together to reveal it as an integrated whole. This lucid, concise audiobook does just that.

Written with Porter's full cooperation by Joan Magretta, his former editor at Harvard Business Review, this book provides an engaging summary of Porter's ideas and an invaluable synthesis of this important body of work, making clear how each of Porter's powerful concepts relates to the others and, most important, to the practical realities managers face.

Modern thinking about competition and strategy begins with Porter's frameworks. They are the most widely used in practice by managers around the world. But as Magretta points out, Porter is often misunderstood and his frameworks misapplied. Magretta's own wide-ranging business experience allows her to identify the most common of these misconceptions-among them, the deeply held but dangerous belief that competition is about being the best. Understand Porter and you will see why competing to be the best sparks an inevitable race to the bottom.

Understanding Michael Porter will enable all leaders throughout any organization t grasp Porter's seminal ideas about competition and strategy and deploy them to achieve competitive success.

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition CD .

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Amazon.com: 4.9 étoiles sur 5  64 commentaires
56 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Most Accessible Introduction to Porter. Period. 13 décembre 2011
Par Ashok A - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I have read two of Porter's books - Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage. And I have also, sort of, understood them - even though I haven't really internalized them for implementing in my company. The reason was that I did not quite get my mind around the concepts in a comprehensive manner as the ideas are in different books and they are not presented as an integrated whole (and, of course, I read them at different times). For the first time, in this book, the concepts are presented in a very accessible manner and connected in a very coherent manner. The books starts (Part 1) with What is Competition - elucidating on the concept of Competition, The Five Forces, and the Value Chain (CA). Part 2 addresses What is Strategy - in which the concepts of Creating Value; Trade-offs; Fit; and Continuity are discussed. The book is wrapped up with A Short List of Implications where in the author summarizes the takeaways and what they mean for us.

I am in the midst of developing a strategy for my company. These easy to understand frameworks have been extremely useful. In fact, after reading this book, I decided not to hire a consultant who was charging me an exorbitant sum ($4,000/day!) as I think that this book will be more helpful. I highly recommend this book esp if you are trying to get a good grasp of the concepts of Michael Porter. An absolute gem.
24 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good summary of Porter's ideas on business-unit strategy 15 février 2012
Par Jackal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Michael Porter's ideas on strategic management are important. However his books Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors and Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance are very dense (in addition to being 30 years old). This much shorter book is written in a journalistic style and conveys Porter's basic ideas relating to business-unit strategy.

The book serves as a first encounter with Porter's thinking, but I would really urge readers to study Porter's two first books as well. Even though Porter's books are 30+ years old, they are important. Classics have the remarkable feature of being relevant whenever they are read. Naturally, they are not perfect. They do not talk enough about service industries, but that was not really America in the 70s. The current book has the same deficiency; not that much about service industries.

Even if you have good familiarity with Porter I still cautiously recommend the book. It sometimes adds contextual information, small updates on Porter's thinking, and useful metaphors. For those of you who already have a fair amount of experience (important!) I would also recommend Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters.

The book is a summary of Porter's ideas from a journalist, so do not expect any deep, fundamental analysis. We get a fair share of thoughtless statements. We might be told that unbundling of an offering is good because not all customers value a lot of features. Then a bit later, we are told that bundling is good because it makes things easier for the customer's purchase decision. The author points out several times that we should use numbers when analysing. It would have been good if she heeded her own advice. Further on the negative side, the author treats Porter like God. It is okay to have Porter as a hero, but that does not justify hero worship. Sometimes it would have been nice with a more critical perspective. I am not talking of the mediocre academic who blurts out some standard canned critique of Porter. Since the author had access to Porter, more penetrating questions should have been asked. For instance, what is so good with the activity map when you already have a value chain? Personally, I find the activity map totally useless. Or for instance, when core competences are described in such a narrow fashion so they become a straw man. Most examples are straight out of current HBS case studies (eg Ikea, Zara, Southwest Airlines). You might find this positive or you might find the author a bit lazy in using the same examples.

UPDATE 2013
I have reread the book and I am much less positive today. The key reason is that the book only covers 20% of what I think an educated strategist/consultant/CEO should know about Porter's work. The second reason is that the case examples are mostly 10+ years old. One new company described is Zipcar and the stock market has taken that company on a straight downhill ride from 30 to around 10. Oh well.

With full access to Michael Porter a much better job could have been done as evidenced by the most interesting part of the book, the Q&A with Porter.

The book is still worthwhile reading if you read a lot of book. I rate the book three stars.

A better book covering exactly the same ground is Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, in which the ex-CEO of P&G gives his description or Porter's theories. That is a four star book in my opinion. However, both books suffer from being verbose, but that sadly is how HBS Press likes their books.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A home run! 18 janvier 2012
Par mark guay - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I read the whole book over a long weekend. I must say I could not put it down. For those of us who need an overview of a subject before we dive into the Porter books themselves, this is a great read. For those readers just looking for a summary of Porter's books, this works equally as well. I think this book did Michael Porter the biggest favor of all - it allowed non economics or business majors to understand the importance of strategy. It also turned down the spotlight of individual components of a business [i.e. OE and marketing plans] which, albeit important, must nevertheless be aligned with strategy to be successful. I liked it so much I wrote a blog about it to all my clients. Congratulations to the author.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Credible, and Very Well Written - 29 décembre 2011
Par Loyd E. Eskildson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Michael Porter is the Harvard Business School's guru of strategy. He became a leading strategy guru by asking big questions, like 'Why are some companies more profitable than others?,' as well as the same question about industries and some countries. However, the usefulness of his ideas has been limited by the fact that they have not been summarized and sequenced into a single source. Author Joan Magretta brings not only her own credible credentials to this summary of Porter's strategy work, but has also had him review each chapter with her.

The key to competitive success, per Porter, lies in an organization's ability to create unique value. Competing to be unique is accomplished against a specific, relevant set of rivals (the industry). The company's relative position within its industry determines how its value will be created and what kind of value that will be.

A good competitive strategy will result in sustainably superior performance. 'Being #1 or #2 in and industry' (Welch, at G.E.), 'making key acquisitions,' 'doubling the number served (for a non-profit), and 'Don't be evil' (Google) do not tell how an organization will outperform the competition. Nor do they tell one where to compete.

With everyone chasing the same customer (the result when everyone's strategy is simply 'to be the best') every sale is contested, and price competition is the ultimate outcome. As for being #1 or #2, in many industries scale economies are exhausted at a relatively small market share. (G.M. was the world's largest auto manufacturer, and went bankrupt; BMW, much smaller, has earned superior returns vs. the industry.) Overpriced M&A, over-extension into all market segments, and price-cutting to gain market share can be disastrous. Most industries have multiple scale curves, each based on serving different markets. Competing to be unique, however, does not require one's rivals to fail; further, unlike sports, every company can choose the 'game' that it will compete in.

Competition is not just a direct contest between rivals - companies also are struggling for profits with their customers, suppliers, substitutes, and potential rivals. These 'five forces' determine profitability, and that industry structure, once past its emergent phase, is stable in the short-term but can change - eg. the emergence of Wal-Mart. If an industry doesn't create much value for its customers, prices will barely cover costs; on the other hand, industries can create lots of value for customers while the companies earn little. Porter also emphasizes that industry structure should be analyzed from an incumbent's perspective, and recognize entry barriers for new entrants.

Customers tend to be more price sensitive when they're buying an undifferentiated, expensive vs. other costs or income, and inconsequential to their own performance. Similarly with suppliers. Both customers and suppliers are more powerful when they are large and concentrated vs. fragmented, there are no short-term alternatives, switching costs and/or differentiation work in their favor, they can credibly threaten to vertically integrate into producing the industry's product itself.

Entry barriers can derive from scale economics, customer switching costs, network effects (eg. large suppliers with stability and good reputation - IBM; network size - Facebook), large required capital investments, proprietary technology/access to locked up distribution channels, government restrictions (eg. taxi license limits), likely incumbent retaliation (greater in slow growth and/or high fixed cost situations). Price competition is greater with undifferentiated products, high fixed and low marginal costs, perishable products. Other factors may be relevant, but are not structural - eg. government regulation, technology (eg. Internet - facilitated shopping around), complements (eg. availability of computer software). Growth might put suppliers into the driver's seat.

Apple having its own operating system avoids Microsoft's supplier power as well as providing differentiation; creating distinctive products limits buyer power; easing switching costs reduces rival power. Pacar competes for owner-operators, not fleet operators - thus, providing roadside assistance, customer features.

Profitability within an industry is determined by the firm's sequence of activities (value chain). ROIC is the appropriate measure. Improving operational effectiveness is an ongoing challenge, but it doesn't always lead to differentiation. Doing so requires a distinctive value proposition such as SWA, involving choosing customers and channels, customer needs to emphasize, price, and method of accomplishment. If you're trying to serve the same customers, meet the same needs, and sell at the same price - per Porter, you don't have a strategy.

Don't feel you have to delight every possible customer. Good execution is unlikely to be a source of sustainable advantage, but without it the best strategy will not provide superior performance. A good strategy makes clear what the organization won't do.

Sysco developed private labels to counteract the power of suppliers, added IT services to fend off small competitors.

Porter's points, though excellent, are not infallible. Intel, the dominant force in high-powered PC CPUs, is now likely to invade the market for mobile devices now dominated by ARM and its low-power chips. ARM, on the other hand, is seen likely to invade Intel's market. Why - the increasing convergence and overlap of the two markets.

Overall, the book is very readable, useful, and important.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great introduction to Porter 10 mai 2012
Par Aaron - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I've tried reading porter before and though groundbreaking, it is very dry. This book made the ideas accessible and easy to understand. I'm now reading competitive strategy and the background knowledge / framework of understanding that I have from this book makes Porter much easier to digest.
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