Porter's generic strategies framework constitutes a major contribution to the development of the strategic management literature. Generic strategies were first presented in two books by Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School (Porter, 1980, 1985). Porter (1980, 1985) suggested that some of the most basic choices faced by companies are essentially the scope of the markets that the company would serve and how the company would compete in the selected markets. Competitive strategies focus on ways in which a company can achieve the most advantageous position that it possibly can in its industry (Pearson, 1999). The profit of a company is essentially the difference between its revenues and costs. Therefore high profitability can be achieved through achieving the lowest costs or the highest prices vis-à-vis the competition. Porter used the terms ‘cost leadership' and ‘differentiation', wherein the latter is the way in which companies can earn a price premium.
Main aspects of Porter's Generic Strategies Analysis
Companies can achieve competitive advantages essentially by differentiating their products and services from those of competitors and through low costs. Firms can target their products by a broad target, thereby covering most of the marketplace, or they can focus on a narrow target in the market (Lynch, 2003) (Figure 1). According to Porter, there are three generic strategies that a company can undertake to attain competitive advantage: cost leadership, differentiation, and focus.
Figure 1: Source: Porter (1985)
The companies that attempt to become the lowest-cost producers in an industry can be referred to as those following a cost leadership strategy. The company with the lowest costs would earn the highest profits in the event when the competing products are essentially undifferentiated, and selling at a standard market price. Companies following this strategy place emphasis on cost reduction in every... [continues]
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