Nació en 1947 en los Estados Unidos y cursó sus estudios universitarios en la Universidad de Princeton, donde se tituló en Ingeniería Mecánica y Aeroespacial. En la Universidad de Harvard, obtuvo su MBA y el Ph.D. en Business Economics. Es la mayor autoridad a nivel mundial en competitividad internacional y estrategia competitiva.
Profesor de la Harvard Business School desde 1973, es director del Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness y recientemente fue proclamado como el estratega más influyente de la actualidad por la Sociedad de Management Estratégico. Trabajó como consultor y asesor del gobierno de los Estados Unidos y de otros países. Asimismo, realizó trabajos de consultoría para compañías como DuPont, Procter & Gamble y Royal Dutch Shell.
He is a leading contributor to strategic management theory. His main objectives were to determine how a firm, or a region, can build a competitive advantage.
Porter's strategic system consists primarily of:
• 5 forces analysis
• strategic groups (also called strategic sets)
• the value chain
• the generic strategies of cost leadership, differentiation, and focus
• the market positioning strategies of value based, needs based, and access based market positions.
• Porter's clusters of competence for regional economic development
Professor Porter, the author of 17 books and over 125 articles, is a leading authority on competitive strategy and the competitiveness and economic development of nations, states, and regions. He received a B.S.E. with high honors in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. He received an M.B.A. with high distinction in 1971 from the Harvard Business School, where he was a George F. Baker Scholar, and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 1973.
Competitiveness of Nations and Regions
Professor Porter's 1990 book The Competitive Advantage of Nations was motivated by his appointment by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 to the President's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness. This book kicked off his second major body of work, which addresses competitiveness and economic development. The book presents a new theory of how nations, states, and regions compete, and their sources of economic prosperity. It was followed by an extensive body of publications on the influence of locations on competition, with a special focus on the role of clusters. These ideas have guided economic policy throughout the world.
Competition and Society
Professor Porter's research on economic development gave rise to his third major body of work: the relationship between competition and society.
Inner Cities. Professor Porter has conducted extensive research on economic development in America's distressed inner city areas, beginning with the Harvard Business Review article 'The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City'. In 1994, he founded The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a non-profit, private-sector organization to catalyze inner-city business development across the country. Professor Porter is Chairman and CEO of the ICIC, a national organization with a staff of more than 40 professionals. The ICIC has conducted extensive research and practiced extensively in this field, and a bibliography of work is available on the organization’s website.
Environment. Professor Porter has examined the relationship between competitiveness and the natural environment. His Scientific American essay 'America's Green Strategy', showed that economic competitiveness and environmental improvement could and should be complementary. This essay triggered a body of literature and new policy thinking, including publications by Professor Porter: ‘Green and Competitive’ (1995), 'Toward a New Conception of the Environment-Competitiveness Relationship' (1995), and 'National Environmental Performance Measurement and Determinants' (2002).
Philanthropy. Professor Porter has devoted growing attention to philanthropy and especially the role of corporations in society. His Harvard Business Review article with Mark Kramer, 'Philanthropy's New Agenda: Creating Value' (1999), offers a new framework for developing strategy in foundations and other philanthropic organizations. He co-founded the Center for Effective Philanthropy, an organization dedicated to creating concepts and measurement tools to improve foundation performance.
Professor Porter’s Harvard Business Review article, 'The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy' (2002), addresses how corporations can create more social benefit by integrating their philanthropy with their business context. A forthcoming article tackles the strategic underpinnings of corporate social responsibility.
Professor Porter has also served as an advisor to national leaders in numerous countries and groups of neighboring countries. He has led major studies of economic strategy for the governments of such countries as Canada, Kazakhstan, India, New Zealand, Portugal, and Thailand, and advised national leaders in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Singapore, and Taiwan, among others. His ideas have inspired national competitiveness initiatives and programs in numerous other countries including Ireland, Finland, and Norway. His thinking about economic development for groups of neighboring countries has led to a long-term initiative with in Central America, including the formation of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS), a permanent institution based in Costa Rica.
The awards and honors won by Professor Porter include Harvard's David A. Wells Prize in Economics for his research in industrial organization. He received the Graham and Dodd Award of the Financial Analysts Federation in 1980. His book Competitive Advantage won the George R. Terry Book Award of the Academy of Management in 1985 as the outstanding contribution to management thought. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management in 1988 and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in 1991. In 1991, he received the Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for outstanding contribution to the field of marketing and strategy given by the American Marketing Association. Professor Porter was honored by the Massachusetts State Legislature for his work on Massachusetts competitiveness in 1991. In 1993, Professor Porter was named the Richard D. Irwin Outstanding Educator in Business Policy and Strategy by the Academy of Management. He was the 1997 recipient of the Adam Smith Award of the National Association of Business Economists, given in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the business economics profession. A Fellow of the International Academy of Management since 1985, he received that group's first-ever Distinguished Award for Contribution to the Field of Management in 1998. In 2001, the annual Porter Prize, akin to the Deming Prize, was established in Japan in his name to recognize that nation's leading companies in terms of strategy. The Academy of Management recognized Professor Porter with its highest award, for scholarly contributions to management in 2003. In 2005, Professor Porter was honored by the South Carolina legislature for his efforts in assisting and promoting economic development and competitiveness in that state. Professor Porter became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2005.