By Michael E. Porter
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Additional info for Competitive advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance - With a New Introduction
The strategic m andate to business units should be to achieve competitive advantage. Pursuit of leadership for its own sake may guarantee th at a firm never achieves a competitive advantage or th at it loses the one it has. A goal of leadership per se also embroils m anagers in endless debates over how an industry should be defined to calculate shares, obscuring once m ore the search for competitive advantage that is the heart of strategy. In some industries, m arket leaders do not enjoy the best perfor mance because industry structure does not rew ard leadership.
J. Heinz. Competing with the same generic strategy in m any business units is one way in which a diversified firm can add value to those units, a subject I will discuss in C hapter 9 when I examine interrelationships among business units. However, employing a comm on generic strategy entails some risks that should be highlighted. One obvious risk is that a diversified firm will impose a particular generic strategy on a business unit whose industry (or initial position) will not support it. Another, m ore subtle risk is that a business unit will be m isunderstood because of circum stances in its industry that are not consistent with the prevailing generic strategy.
Chap ter 15 shows how to attack an industry leader. It lays out the conditions 30 COMPETITIVE A D V A N T A G E a firm must meet to challenge a leader, and the approaches to changing the rules of com petition in order to do so successfully. The same principles involved in attacking a leader can be used in offensive strat egy against any competitor. Principles of Competitive Advantage 2 The Value Chain and Competitive Advantage Competitive advantage cannot be understood by looking at a firm as a whole.