This article is about the connection between Michael porters and Sun Tzu's worriers rules. Though the Harvard's institute for strategy and competitiveness leader looked at strategy from the traditional management perspective, Porter's and Sun Tzu's classical aspects converge in a number of areas. The aim of this Paper explains how Sun Tzu tools are applied in Porter's approach.
Organizational goals as a competitive element, both Porter and Sun Tzu start with similar concentration on the significance of goals. There is only one correct goal that Porter defines for any organization, and this is superior long-term return on the investment. He considers other form of goals like sales volumes and market share leadership, results in poor strategy. On the other hand, Sun Tzu is in agreement that, achieving economic goals are necessary for any organization's survival. Without this classical perspective, it will be much difficult for one to understand the competitive position. The lesson learnt from Tzu's strategy is that, organizations are built on economic basis, but also constructed on a core mission, vision along with philosophy. In this mission, the role of the organization in the world is explained in a manner that is much meaningful. More significantly, it creates a shared bond within the organization that is larger than its economics alone. In Sun Tzu's strategy, goals are the uniting forces in an organization, but economic level is the most basic of the four levels of goals as explained by the classical strategy, (Science of Strategy Institute, 2010).
The next element is the value proposition. Porter has defined this as a set of benefits that tent to be far much different from these offered by competitors, (Michael, 1998). Bothe Tzu and Porter are also in Agreement that, strategy is a very competitive science, comparing positions among alternative positions. In addition, it is true that strategy is never universal. Sun Tzu's strategy emphasizes this idea that some value proposition arises from a unique competitive situations in an environment that is large. This idea is supported by Porter when describing value proposition as concentrated on particular set of uses. However, Sun Tzu takes this further by dividing environment into "ground and climate," and then identified a number of important traits of each that helps individual's understand further, the competitive positions in the environment.
Porter concentrates on competitors who in one way or the other offers alternative and set of customers who use organization's offerings, as a great point to begin. At the basic level, competitive positions are defined by subjecti9jve perceptions of customers, about the relative value of those competitors do offer. However, the competitive battleground is more as compared to the sum of its competitors along with customers. Classical strategy analyses the ground by different types of terrain, distance dimension, obstacles as well as dangers and common competitive alignment forms. The complexity of competitive environment is recognized by Porter, with his perception on the five forces that shapes competition. These forces include; rivalry degree, entry barriers, substitution threats, power of suppliers and buyer power, (Michael, 1998). The very many different elements within these five areas, reflects the concepts of Sun Tzu environment.
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Though Porter offered a valuable breakdown for the discussion of the specifics, Sun Tzu on his side offers comprehensive over view of the whole system. Another competitive element is distinctive value chain. The third principle of strategy is that, it has to be reflected in a distinctive value chain. This means that, the organization has to perform activities that are much different from its rival. The argument made by porter is that, if organizations adopt best practices only, it will start behaving more and more like its competitors, hence looses its competitive advantage. Sun Tzu agrees with such analysis and extends it in an important way. What porter refer to as value chain, is just one concept that Sun Tzu call methods. The main component of method is just one half of what makes a competitive unit function. The methods have to be coupled with individual decision making skill or leadership as explained by Sun Tzu. Though individuals functionally work together, each of them makes decisions alone. In addition, production methods are separated by Tzu, which is the main focus of Porter, from the methods of competition. The difference is much critical because, whilst production methods are within the organizations control, the competitive processes are by definition out of the firm's control. They both agree that, for an organization to have an advantage, the organization has to do something that is much differently from competitors, (Science of Strategy Institute, 2010).
Another element is fitness. Porter says that, the choices made about the value chain are always interdependent. It is true that, all activities ought to reinforce one another. Products are designed in a manner that is easy to manufacture and the manufacture be easy to service after sale. This kind of fit is far much difficult for competitors to imitate, this i9s based on the fact, it is much difficult to duplicate one practice or even a feature, but too hard to imitate the whole system. Both Porter and Sun Tzu are worried about the elimination of the downstream expenses that results due to poor fit. All of them look at good fit as a competitive advantage that is nearly impossible to imitate or duplicate. The differences that exist between the fitting together the internal operations in value chain and fitting the organizations' environment, are just need very different skill sets as well as decision making tool. In conclusion, the competitive elements in the article responds to the situation as Sun Tzu would have wanted.
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