Porter 5 Forces Analysis
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A graphical representation of Porter's Five Forces
Porter's 5 forces analysis is a framework for the industry analysis and business strategy development developed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School in 1979 . It uses concepts developed in Industrial Organization (IO) economics to derive 5 forces that determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of a market. Attractiveness in this context refers to the overall industry profitability. An "unattractive" industry is one where the combination of forces acts to drive down overall profitability. A very unattractive industry would be one approaching "pure competition". Porter referred to these forces as the micro environment, to contrast it with the more general term macro environment. They consist of those forces close to a company that affect its ability to serve its customers and make a profit. A change in any of the forces normally requires a company to re-assess the marketplace. The overall industry attractiveness does not imply that every firm in the industry will return the same profitability. Firms are able to apply their core competences, business model or network to achieve a profit above the industry average. A clear example of this is the airline industry. As an industry, profitability is low and yet individual companies, by applying unique business models have been able to make a return in excess of the industry average.
Strategy consultants occasionally use Porter's five forces framework when making a qualitative evaluation of a firm's strategic position. However, for most consultants, the framework is only a starting point or 'check-list' they might use. Like all general frameworks, an analysis that uses it to the exclusion of specifics about a particular situation is considered naive.
Porter's Five Forces include three forces from 'horizontal' competition: threat of substitute products, the threat of established rivals, and the threat of new entrants; and two forces from 'vertical' competition: the bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of customers.
According to Michael E. Porter, the five forces model should be used at the industry level; it is not designed to be used at the industry group or industry sector level. An industry is defined at a lower, more basic level: a market in which similar or closely related products and/or services are sold to buyers. Firms that compete in a single industry should develop, at a minimum, one five forces analysis for its industry. Porter makes clear that for diversified companies, the first fundamental issue in corporate strategy is the selection of industries (lines of business) in which the company should compete; and each line of business should develop its own, industry-specific, five forces analysis. The average Global 1,000 company competes in approximately 52 industries (lines of business).
The threat of substitute products
The threat of the entry of new competitors
The intensity of competitive rivalry
The bargaining power of customers
The bargaining power of suppliers
This 5 forces analysis is just one part of the complete Porter strategic models. The other elements are the value chain and the generic strategies.
Six Forces Model
The following forces are identified:
Criticisms of the 5 Force model
Porter's framework has been challenged by other academics and strategists such as Stewart Neill, also the likes of Kevin P. Coyne and Somu Subramaniam have stated that three dubious assumptions underlie the five forces:
An important extension to Porter was found in the work of Brandenburger and Nalebuff in the mid-1990s. Using game theory, they added the concept of complementors (also called "the 6th force"), helping to explain the reasoning behind strategic alliances. The idea that complementors are the sixth force has often been credited to Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel Corporation. According to most references, the sixth force is government or the public. Martyn Richard Jones, whilst consulting at Groupe Bull, developed an augmented 5 forces model in Scotland in 1993, it is based on Porter's model, and includes Government (national and regional) as well as Pressure Groups as the notional 6th force. This model was the result of work carried out as part of Group Bull's Knowledge Asset Management Organisation initiative.
It is also perhaps not feasible to evaluate the attractiveness of an industry independent of the resources a firm brings to that industry. It is thus argued that this theory be coupled with the Resource-Based View (RBV) in order for the firm to develop a much more sound strategy.
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