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HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy (including featured article “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter) by Renee Mauborgne, W. Chan Kim, Michael Porter, Harvard Business Review

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The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy

by Michael E. Porter

IN ESSENCE, THE JOB of the strategist is to understand and cope with competition. Often, however, managers define competition too narrowly, as if it occurred only among today’s direct competitors. Yet competition for profits goes beyond established industry rivals to include four other competitive forces as well: customers, suppliers, potential entrants, and substitute products. The extended rivalry that results from all five forces defines an industry’s structure and shapes the nature of competitive interaction within an industry.

As different from one another as industries might appear on the surface, the underlying drivers of profitability are the same. The global auto industry, ...

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