Porter - Critical Review

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Academic Review – What is Strategy? – Michael Porter Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position. If there were only one ideal position, there would be no need for strategy. (Porter, 1996) Is this the true definition of strategy? In fact is there any true definition of strategy? Michael Port set out in 1996 to give his views by writing his “What is Strategy?” article for the Harvard Business Review. Article’s Purpose This is not the first or last article written by Michael Porter and therefore we have to consider what the purpose of this particular article was. It could be argued that Michael Porter wanted to develop on and concrete the ideas that were originally portrayed. Building upon what has already been released and providing evidence in terms of real life examples of his frameworks being used successfully. Throughout this article there is reference to companies that appear to be using his framework and being successful (South West Airlines), these are then compared to those that are not (Continental Airlines). By doing this he is showing that he is ‘correct,’ in terms of what makes a successful strategy. However what we also have to consider is that prior to the release of this article Michael Porters ‘outside in views’ of strategy were being challenged by other academics that were describing a more ‘inside out focus.’ Since the 1980’s and release of Porters "How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy", Harvard Business Review, empirical research has indicated companies pursuing both differentiation and low-cost strategies may be more successful than companies pursuing only one strategy. (Wright et al, 1990). Treacy and Wiersema (1993) modified Porters idea and said that they following would provide competitive advantage; Operational Excellence, Product Leadership and Customer Intimacy. Operational excellence is something that Porter

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