Strategic Management Article Review: What Is Strategy?


Harvard Business Reviews (HBR’s) must read series is a definitive collection of ideas and best practices for both aspiring and experienced leaders alike. The articles contained within HBR’s Must Reads – On Strategy offer advice and provide inspiration from leading experts in today’s field of strategic management.

For this week, you will read the article entitled – What Is Strategy? written by Michael Porter in HBR’s 10 Must Reads found on pages 1-36. After reading and reflecting upon what you have read, you are to use the template provided for this assignment to highlight key points (Left hand column) and then note how you might apply what you have learned to your own strategic management style (Right hand column).



ORG 589 – Strategic Management

Article Review

HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Strategy – Reflective Summary

Name: Class Week # 1

Name of Article: What Is Strategy? PP 1-36

Highlights & Key Points

Reflective Thoughts/Application

  1. Competition is increasingly becoming one of the important aspects of the business today as companies and organizations are striving to outdo each other and dislodge each other in the global market platform. The urge and dream of becoming the best in the market push organizations to outsource aggressively and benchmark continuously to learn, adopt and implement the best practices that enhance the company’s effectiveness, efficiency, and performance.

  2. The author goes on to state that hyper-competition in most organizations is self-inflicted and the root of failures of most organizations is the failure of the top management of these companies to differentiate between operational effectiveness and strategy (Porter, 2011).

  3. With recent technology and the increase in technological innovation, it has increasingly become easier for companies to copy and imitate procedures and processes from other companies making it hard to gain a competitive advantage. However, enterprises can outperform their closest rivals by identifying and implementing a difference or an advantage that is hard to copy or imitate. Operational effectiveness provides a platform through which a company performs similar processes better than how their rivals perform.

  4. Considering that consumers are increasingly favoring products and services that give value to their money, companies should focus on achieving competitive strategy that focuses on choosing a distinguished set of endeavors and processes to deliver an incomparable mix of value to their existing and potential customers.

  5. Additionally, companies should focus on obtaining strategic positions in the market to give them a competitive advantage over their competitors. Strategic positions rise up out of a variety-based positioning that is based with respect to creating a subset of an industry’s business item, need to base positioning that is situated in light of serving most, if not every one of the necessities of a particular target group and finally segmentation positioning that focuses on segmenting clients who can be accessed using various techniques and methods (Allio & Fahey, 2012).

  6. Most companies fail to design and implement strategies owing to the external threats and forces such as competition and changes in technology. However, any company that manages to design an appropriate strategy stands a better chance of succeeding and gaining a larger market share compared to its competitors.

  1. With technology making the world a global village, the intensity of competition for the existing and potential market is increasing every day. Therefore, organizations and companies need to find a way to obtain a competitive advantage over their competitors.

  2. From the knowledge and skills obtained from the article, I can design and implement a strategy that can give my company an operational effectiveness to compete at the highest level.

  3. This knowledge can be used to design and generate a strategic position such as fully satisfying the needs and demands of a particular target population in the to create goods and services that give value to the customers (Porter, 2011).

  4. Furthermore, companies can use this knowledge to create unique differences that are hard to copy or imitate to give them a significant competitive advantage apart from guiding them on how to differentiate the need for strategy and operational effectiveness in their company.

  5. The importance of designing and implementing a strategy for a company is to choose a unique mixture of activities and processes that are different from those of the competitors (Allio & Fahey, 2012).

  6. A strategy is a core element of the success of any company.


Allio, R. J., & Fahey, L. (2012). Joan Magretta: what executives can learn from revisiting Michael Porter. Strategy & Leadership, 40(2), 5-10. doi:10.1108/10878571211209297

Porter, M. E. (2011). HBR’s 10 must reads on strategy: [if you read nothing else on strategy, read these definitve articles from Harvard business review ; featuring “What is strategy?” by Michael E. Porter]. (Harvard business review.) Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

Revised Fall 2014