Return of the Expanding Bookshelf Part 2:

Authored bycascade

Four Ways to Go Beyond the Five Forces

Michael Porter has been a management visionary for so long that it can be hard to figure out a point of entry into his work; beyond understanding his Five Forces framework, there is a wealth of insight available. With a huge stack of books, papers, and lectures to his credit, it’s easy to become overwhelmed (or at least to doubt whether you have started in the right place). The list below is our contribution to help put some structure around that effort:

  1. Understanding Michael Porter (J Magretta) provides an excellent place to start for anyone who wants to get deeper into Porter’s work. This book provides a relatively concise summary and commentary that helps put some structure around his main ideas, as well as clarifying some common misconceptions. Magretta also helps put Porter’s ideas more concretely into the context of competitive intelligence.
  2. Competitive Strategy (ME Porter) is a classic, must-read book for everyone in the competitive intelligence field. It provides simple but powerful conceptual models that help reveal the dynamics that underlie competition in any industry. Porter’s structured approaches to predict competitor behavior form the basis for establishing competitive strategy, with a focus on underlying fundamentals.
  3. Competitive Advantage (ME Porter) picks up where Competitive Strategy leaves off, examining how individual companies can gain the upper hand over their competitors. In this book, Porter demonstrates a model for examining the competitive state and needs of a company in terms of discrete “activities” that lend themselves to analysis by a competitive intelligence practice.
  4. The Competitive Advantage of Nations (ME Porter) extends Porter’s analysis of competitive forces to consider how prosperity is actually created on an international scale. The theories and models in this book can help competitive intelligence professionals examine how individual firms or whole industries of one nation compete with their global peers.

This is the second installment in a three-part series recommending books for competitive intelligence professionals. The first post, “Three Sources for Toolsets on Your Utility Belt,” suggests some new everyday resources to complement those you already use. The third, “Four Voices That Aren’t Right Under Your Nose,” rounds up some sources for perspectives that can add to your breadth of view.

By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart

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