Michael Eugene Porter (born May 23, 1947) is an American academic known for his theories on economics, business strategy, and social causes. He is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School, and he was one of the founders of the consulting firm The Monitor Group (now part of Deloitte) and FSG, a social impact consultancy. He is credited for creating Porter's five forces analysis, which is instrumental in business strategy development today.
Michael Eugene Porter
May 23, 1947
Porter's five forces
Porter's four corners model
Michael Porter's father was a civil engineer and Georgia Tech graduate who had gone on to a career as an army officer. Michael Eugene Porter received a BSE with high honors in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969, where he graduated first in his class and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. He received an MBA with high distinction in 1971 from Harvard Business School, where he was a George F. Baker Scholar, and a PhD in business economics from Harvard University in 1973.
Porter said in an interview that he first became interested in competition through sports. He was on the NCAA championship golf squad at Princeton and also played football, baseball and basketball growing up.
Porter credits Harvard professor Roland "Chris" Christensen with inspiring him and encouraging him to speak up during class, hand-writing Porter a note that began: "Mr. Porter, you have a lot to contribute in class and I hope you will." Porter reached the top of the class by the second year at Harvard Business School.
At Harvard, Porter took classes in industrial organization economics, which attempts to model the effect of competitive forces on industries and their profitability. This study inspired the Porter five forces analysis framework for analyzing industries.
Michael Porter is the author of 20 books and numerous articles including Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, Competitive Advantage of Nations, and On Competition. A six-time winner of the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article of the year, Professor Porter is the most cited author in business and economics.
Porter stated in a 2010 interview: "What I've come to see as probably my greatest gift is the ability to take an extraordinarily complex, integrated, multidimensional problem and get arms around it conceptually in a way that helps, that informs and empowers practitioners to actually do things."
Porter wrote "The Competitive Advantage of Nations" in 1990. The book is based on studies of ten nations and argues that a key to national wealth and advantage was the productivity of firms and workers collectively, and that the national and regional environment supports that productivity. He proposed the "diamond" framework, a mutually-reinforcing system of four factors that determine national advantage: factor conditions; demand conditions; related or supporting industries; and firm strategy, structure and rivalry. Information, incentives, and infrastructure were also key to that productivity.
During April 2014, Porter discussed how the United States ranks relative to other countries on a comprehensive scorecard called "The Social Progress Index", an effort which he co-authored. This scorecard rated the U.S. on a comprehensive set of metrics; overall, the U.S. placed 16th.
Porter has devoted considerable attention to understanding and addressing the pressing problems in health care delivery in the United States and other countries. His book, Redefining Health Care (written with Elizabeth Teisberg), develops a new strategic framework for transforming the value delivered by the health care system, with implications for providers, health plans, employers, and government, among other actors. The book received the James A. Hamilton award of the American College of Healthcare Executives in 2007 for book of the year. His New England Journal of Medicine research article, "A Strategy for Health Care Reform – Toward a Value-Based System" (July 2009), lays out a health reform strategy for the U.S. His work on health care is being extended to address the problems of health care delivery in developing countries, in collaboration with Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Sachin H. Jain, and others at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.
In addition to his research, writing, and teaching, Porter serves as an advisor to business, government, and the social sector. He has served as strategy advisor to numerous leading U.S. and international companies, including Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Royal Dutch Shell, and Taiwan Semiconductor. Professor Porter once served on two public boards of directors, those of Thermo Fisher Scientific and Parametric Technology Corporation. He also plays an active role in U.S. economic policy, working with the Executive Branch and with Congress, and has led national economic-strategy programs in numerous[quantify] countries. As of 2009[update] he was working with the presidents of Rwanda and South Korea.
Michael Porter has founded four major non-profit organizations: Initiative for a Competitive Inner City – ICIC, founded in 1994, and which he still chairs, which addresses economic development in distressed urban communities; the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which creates rigorous tools for measuring foundation effectiveness; FSG Social Impact Advisors, a leading non-profit strategy firm which he co-founded with Mark Kramer, serving NGOs, corporations, and foundations in the area of creating social value; and International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurements (ICHOM), which he co-founded in 2012 with Stefan Larsson and Martin Ingvar. ICHOM supports the key strategic agenda items in Porter's Value-Based Health Care Delivery framework by working with patients and leading healthcare providers to create a global standard for measuring health outcomes. He also currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Princeton University.
Porter has been criticized by some academics for inconsistent logical argument in his assertions. Critics have also labeled Porter's conclusions as lacking in empirical support and as justified with selective case studies. They have also claimed that Porter fails to credit original creators of his postulates originating from pure microeconomic theory. Others have argued Porter's firm-level analysis is widely misunderstood and mis-taught.
U.S. consulting and advisory firm Monitor Company Group and its affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, court documents showed, and said it has agreed to sell its assets to global consultancy firm Deloitte.
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