Michael E. Porter, the profile

August 26, 2008
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, NAIROBI, July 22 – Michael E. Porter: Bishop William Lawrence University Professor.

Strategy and Competitiveness guru Michael E. Porter is the recipient of awards too numerous for this profile. From national to regional recognition, Prof Porter is renowned for his timeless work on competitive strategy, the competitiveness and economic development of nations, states and so on.

Prof Porter’s name will unsurprisingly go down with those of ancient scholars one day. He is already widely recognized as the father of the modern strategy field, and the world’s most influential thinker on management and competitiveness.

The man has authored 17 books and over 125 articles. His personal credibility is well intertwined with the instruction that takes place across the Charles River on the Anderson Bridge. Harvard is in his blood.

Not only did he receive an M.B.A. with high distinction (1971) from the Harvard Business School, but a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University (1973). In 2001, Harvard Business School and Harvard University jointly created the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, dedicated to furthering their one time student’s work.

When any book goes for its 63rd printing and has been translated into 19 languages, then you’ve got to say hang on. There must be something there. But when it was first published in 1985 and is in its 38th printing, then you want to say shut up! Wait a minute. Or wait 24 years for that matter. What’s the secret to this immortality?

From his book, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors to (its sequel if you please) Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, his work is drunk on some kind of elixir of youth.
It just doesn’t grow old. He attributes this to its foundations. Prof Porter is not probing some shifting marketplace politics but the underlying drivers of profitability.

Michael E Porter. This is the man who chairs the Global Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum. He is the man who advises nations on competitiveness from Armenia to the United Kingdom, Colombia to Taiwan, Russia to Saudi Arabia, Singapore and anything in between.

Professor Porter has served as a strategy advisor to top management in international companies like Caterpillar, DuPont and SYSCO just as much as to the Boston Red Sox, a major league baseball team. He has played an active role in U.S. economic policy with Congress. He’s also played all-state high school football and baseball. Prof. Porter as easily charts regional competitive courses as he does in the business of music and art.

Professor Porter is a Fellow of the International Academy of Management (1985), a Fellow of the Academy of Management (1988), and a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (1991). In 1998, he received the International Academy of Management’s inaugural Distinguished Award for Contribution to the Field of Management. In 2001, the annual Porter Prize, parallel to the Deming Prize, was established in Japan in his name to recognize Japan’s leading companies in terms of strategy. In 2003, the Academy of Management recognized Professor Porter with its highest award, for scholarly contributions to management. These barely scratch the surface of his accomplishments.

But perhaps his highest decoration is his two daughters.

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