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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.
Michael Porter is the author of 18 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."
Competition among nations
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.
Michael Porter has founded three major non-profit organizations: Initiative for a Competitive Inner City - ICIC in 1994, which addresses economic development in distressed urban communities; the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which creates rigorous tools for measuring foundation effectiveness; and FSG-Social Impact Advisors, a leading non-profit strategy firm serving NGOs, corporations, and foundations in the area of creating social value. 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.
Porter, M.E. (1980) Competitive Strategy, Free Press, New York, 1980. The book was voted the ninth most influential management book of the 20th century in a poll of the Fellows of the Academy of Management.
Porter, M.E. (1985) Competitive Advantage, Free Press, New York, 1985.
Porter, M.E. (ed.) (1986) Competition in Global Industries, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 1986.
Porter, M.E. (1987) "From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy", Harvard Business Review, May/June 1987, pp 43-59.
Jain SH, Weintraub R, Rhatigan J, Porter ME, Kim JY. "Delivering Global Health". Student British Medical Journal 2008; 16:27.
Kim JY, Rhatigan J, Jain SH, Weintraub R, Porter ME. "From a declaration of values to the creation of value in global health: a report from Harvard University's Global Health Delivery Project". Global Public Health. 2010 Mar; 5(2):181-8.
Rhatigan, Joseph, Sachin H Jain, Joia S. Mukherjee, and Michael E. Porter. "Applying the Care Delivery Value Chain: HIV/AIDS Care in Resource Poor Settings." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 09-093, February 2009.
Books and Commentaries on Research
Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy. Magretta, Joan. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2012.
The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World. Kiechel, Walter III. Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, 2010.
The Porter Hypothesis After 20 Years: How Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness? Stefan Ambec, Mark A. Cohen, Stewart Elgie, and Paul Lanoie. Resources for the Future Discussion Paper, Washington DC, 2011.
Well-Designed Environmental Regulations will Strengthen Companies' Competitiveness: Reviewing the Porter Hypothesis. Mitsuhashi Tadahiro (ed.) Japan, 2008.
From Adam Smith to Michael Porter: Evolution of Competitiveness Theory y. Cho, Dong-Sung Cho and Hwy-Chang Moon. Asia-Pacific Business Series, Korea, 2000.
"Retrospective: Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy." Academy of Management Executive, May 2002, Vol.16, No.2
Perspectives on Strategy: Contributions of Michael E. Porter, F.A.J. van den Bosch and A.P. de Man (eds.), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1997.
O Projecto Porter: A aplicação a Portugal 1993/94. Lisbon, Portugal: Ministério da Indústria e Energia, May 1995.
Prasad, Sakthi (2012-11-08). "UPDATE 1-Monitor Company files for Chapter 11; Deloitte to buy assets". Market news. Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved . 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.
^Colvin, Geoff (October 29, 2012). "There's No Quit in Michael Porter". Fortune. 166 (7): 162-166.
^Sharp, Byron; Dawes, John (1996), "Is Differentiation Optional? A Critique of Porter's Generic Strategy Typology," in Management, Marketing and the Competitive Process, Peter Earl, Ed. London: Edward Elgar.
^Speed, Richard J. (1989), "Oh Mr Porter! A Re-Appraisal of Competitive Strategy," Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 7 (5/6), 8-11.
^Yetton, Philip, Jane Craig, Jeremy Davis, and Fred Hilmer (1992), "Are Diamonds a Country's Best Friend? A Critique of Porter's Theory of National Competition as Applied to Canada, New Zealand and Australia," Australian Journal of Management, 17 (No. 1, June), 89-120.
^Allio, Robert J. (1990), "Flaws in Porter's Competitive Diamond?," Planning Review, 18 (No. 5, September/October), 28-32.
^Spender, J.-C., & Kraaijenbrink, Jeroen. (2011). Why Competitive Strategy Succeeds - and With Whom. In Robert Huggins & Hiro Izushi (Eds.), Competition, Competitive Advantage, and Clusters: The Ideas of Michael Porter (pp. 33-55). Oxford: Oxford University Press.