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>> THOMAS STEWART: I am Tom Stewart, Editor and Managing Director of the Harvard Business
Review. Our guest today is Michael Porter, Professor at Harvard University and Head of
the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. He is the author of the forthcoming HBR article,
“The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy”. A reaffirmation, update, and
extension of his groundbreaking 1979 article "How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy".
Mike, thanks for joining the program. To start, let us remind our viewers of what the five
competitive forces are.
>> MICHAEL PORTER: Well Tom, the basic idea of the competitive forces starts with the
notion that competition is often looked at too narrowly by managers, and the five forces
say that, yes you are competing with your direct competitors, but you are also in a
fight for profits with a broader extended set of competitors, customers who have bargaining
powers, suppliers who can have bargaining power, new entrants who might come in and
kind of grab a piece of the action, and substitute products or services that essentially place
a constraint or a cap on your profitability and growth.
So the five forces is kind of a holistic way of looking at any industry and understanding
the structural underlying drivers of profitability and competence.
>> STEWART: So I use this to think about my rival makes it difficult for me. The threat
of substitutes means I cannot overcharge. The threat of new entrants’ means I cannot
>> PORTER: Right.
>> STEWART: The same thing with the buyers and suppliers.
>> PORTER: The buyers and suppliers, and there is underlying drivers of each of those forces
that the model really sort of unveils and then you can actually apply this. Every industry
is different. Every industry will have a different set of economic fundamentals, but the five
forces help you hone in on, first of all, what is really causing profitability in the
industry. What are the trends that are most likely to be significant in changing the game
in the industry? Where are the constraints, which if you can relax, it might allow you
to find a really strong competitive position?
>> STEWART: So how would you apply this analysis to an industry? Airlines for example.
>> PORTER: Airlines is a great industry. Actually you will see in the article or you have seen
in the article that there is a chart that compares profitability of industries, and
airlines, I think has been on the bottom of that list for decades. It is among the least
profitable industries known to man, and the five forces really allow you very quickly
to understand why. I mean, let us just go around the chart. The nature of rivalry is
incredibly intense and it is almost exclusively unpriced. It has been very hard to differentiate,
get the customer to wait even an extra two or three minutes for another flight if they
can get on the flight with a cheaper price. So there has been a very intense price competition,
low barriers to entry. Constant stream of new airlines coming into the industry despite
the fact that probability is low. It always puzzles me.
>> STEWART: Low barriers to entry because you can rent a plane, you do not have to buy
>> PORTER: You can rent a plane. You can lease a gate. It is all generic technology. You
can start with one flight between two city pairs. There is no real need to have a whole
network in the beginning, and yet, people keep coming in. I think it is just one of
those "sexy" industries. It is a great example of how sexiness or coolness or hotness or
cheapness has nothing to do with industry profitability. The underlying structure is
what drives profitability. Yeah, the customer is very fickle and price sensitive. Suppliers
of aircraft and aircraft engines and even aircraft gates at airports now have a lot
of clout. They can bargain away most of the profits. GE, and Rolls-Royce, and Airbus,
and Boeing make a lot more money than Airlines. They get most of the profit. And then of course,
there is always the substitute of getting on the train or driving your car or shipping
your goods by air and that sets kind of kept the consumer.
>> STEWART: You have powerful suppliers of labor too. That is another powerful supplier.
>> PORTER: Right, exactly. There is a great case where you have unionized labor. Unlike
other industries, in this industry particularly with the pilots, the labor can literally shut
you down, and there is no way around them. So, it is an industry where there are spurts
of what you might call mediocre profitability punctuated by long periods of terrible profitability.
>> STEWART: So everyone of the five forces is very strong in that industry and you could
take another industry where the five forces are relatively benign.
>> PORTER: Right, like soft drinks. I mean, soft drinks have been a license to mint money
and again, it is the opposite kind of analysis. When I talk with students, we kind of joke
around, there are five-star industries where all the forces are attractive like soft drinks.
There are zero-star industries where all the forces are unfavorable like airlines and we
are always trying to understand, okay, what is the configuration of underlying economic
drivers that is going to really shape the profit potential of this industry and then
armed with that insight, what do I do about it? How do I try to relax the constraint that
is holding back industry profitability? How can I position myself to kind of insulate
from some of the gales, gale winds of those forces? Those implications of the five forces
are something that this new article has developed in much more detail.
>> STEWART: You conceived this framework nearly three decades ago and it has been the most
extensively used both in management scholarship and management practice of any strategy framework,
and it changed the definition of strategy in a lot of ways. In these three decades,
what have you learned? What have you learned about the application of these ideas in the
real world of business?
>> PORTER: Well, the wonderful thing of course we learned is that these concepts can be applied
to literally any, any industry, to product, to service, high-tech, low-tech, emerging
economies, developed economies. Indeed, what one of the powers of the framework is it helps
you get avoid getting trapped or tricked by the latest trend or the latest technological
sensation, and really allows you to focus on the underlying fundamentals. The internet
is a good example. We got very, very confused by the internet because people saw the internet
as a force as supposed to really enabling technology that might or might not impact
the underlying structure of the industry.
So I think one thing I have learned is the framework is very, very robust, but I have
also learned that there is a lot of confusion and complexity in actually applying the framework
in actual practice and we tried to clear as many of those areas up as we could in this
new article. For example, how to think about rivalry? How do we understand when rivalry
is really positive-sum, which allows many companies to do well? When does rivalry become
really zero-sum, where everybody is kind of dragged down into a destructive battle that
you cannot win.
>> STEWART: Well, I can understand zero-sum. I mean, if we get in a price war, the only
one who wins is the consumer, which is nice if you are a consumer.
>> PORTER: Yeah.
>> STEWART: But what do you mean by positive-sum competition?
>> PORTER: Well, the trouble with the zero-sum competition is then the consumer gets a little
price, but they really got no choice, and a positive-sum competition is where companies
can compete on different attributes, services, features, customer support, that is actually
relevant to particular groups of customers. The most really positive-sum competition is
where companies are really competing on different things in order to meet the needs of different
>> STEWART: So we are growing the pie and there is a piece for each of us.
>> PORTER: There is a piece for each of us. In fact, one of the things we talked about
in the new article, one of the things I did in the new article that we really probably
did not have the experience to do so many years ago was really talk a lot about the
implications. If this is the way competition works, what do you do about it? One of them
is might be in some industries rather than go for market share against your rivals, you
might be much better off just really expanding the pie, expanding the whole profit pool of
the industry. That may be the best way for a market leader to actually improve their
circumstances rather than to trigger a destructive battle with their head-to-head rival.
>> STEWART: How should a company get started using the five forces framework? You are working
your strategy and you decide, "This really works for me." How do you begin?
>> PORTER: Well, I think industry analysis and looking at the competitive environment
is of course, probably the starting basic discipline of any strategy formulation process.
If you do not know what your industry looks like, if you do not know how it is changing,
if you do not know what the drivers or competition are, strategy is going to be marginally useful,
if not destructive. So we got to start with industry analysis figuring out what your industry
is and drawing the right boundaries.
>> STEWART: That is not always easy.
>> PORTER: It is not always easy. We have added a box in this new article, which really
addresses that question because I encountered so many companies that struggled with industry
definition, identifying really what the industry structure is in your particular industry.
And then there is another thing that a lot of managers do. They kind of go through the
industry analysis and they say, "Okay. This is good, this is bad. This is good, this is
bad." So this is an attractive industry or unattractive industry, but of course the real
question is how is that industry changing?
Some have believed and taken the five forces as really a static snapshot, but of course
the five forces give you the tools for understanding the dynamics and where is that industry structure
changing? How are buyers and suppliers and substitutes and potential entry evolving?
And then what implications does that hold for your strategy? How do you position yourself
to find that spot within the industry where you can command a really good profit given
the five forces? How can you maybe reshape the nature of the industry structure? We have
got some great new examples that are very, very contemporary in this article that I think
will help the manager community and the investor community really understand the application
of this.
>> STEWART: Sometimes when people think about strategy, they think about a group of people,
maybe from a management consulting firm or maybe on the 33rd floor of the building, whatever
it is, but it is sort of elite strategy priesthood that goes in and does this. They are almost
divorced from the rest of the management of the company, the 99% of the other people working
in the company. How can a strategy become part of the day-to-day life of a working stiff
manager in a company? How do you apply this framework, this thinking? How do you use it?
>> PORTER: Well, we think that this way of looking at an industry needs to be very, very
broadly understood in the organization. The thing about it is that managers, even rank
and file employees, it is intuitive. People understand. We have these customers, we have
these suppliers, we are struggling with them everyday. They are trying to get a better
deal, we are trying to get a better deal.
So intuitively, I think this is a way of helping people sort of step back from all the excruciating
little details that characterize any business and say, “What is really important here?”
And then of course we have learned that strategy is completely useless, again, unless the results
of the strategy process, the position that you choose to occupy, the way you are going
to drive your company is well understood quite broadly because the number one purpose of
strategy is alignment. It is really to get all the people in the organization, making
good choices, reinforcing each other's choices because everybody is pursuing a common value
proposition or common way of gaining competitive advantage.
I remember when I wrote this article, there were many people who believed that strategy
documents should be locked in the safe at night and should not be made available to
the rank and file. There was a concern that some competitor would find some secret. Well,
we have actually learned now that it is the opposite. Your employees got to know your
strategy, your channels have to know your strategy, your suppliers have to know your
>> STEWART: Your competitors probably knew it already.
>> PORTER: Well, and frankly, again the competition is not zero-sum. If every company finds a
unique need that it can set out to meet, if it tries to deliver something different than
its rivals, multiple rivals can be successful. If your competitors can understand what you
stand for and what you are committed to, maybe they will make a different choice, rather
than get dragged into this kind of mindless price wars that we see in so many industries.
>> STEWART: The five forces that shape strategy have been around for 30 years, they are going
to be around for, well, they have been around long before you wrote about it.
>> PORTER: That is right.
>> STEWART: They have been around as long as business has been around. They are going
to be around as long as business is around. The new article is just fabulous. Thank you
so much.
>> PORTER: Thank you. Well, I am looking forward to kind of getting another surge of feedback
from the practitioners and we will keep learning.
>> STEWART: Thanks.
>> PORTER: Thanks Tom.


The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy

425 タグ追加 保存
Yan Zhang 2017 年 3 月 2 日 に公開
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