Michael E. Porter

Bishop William Lawrence University Professor

Michael Porter is an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher. Throughout his career at Harvard Business School, he has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment, and health care. His extensive research is widely recognized in governments, corporations, NGOs, and academic circles around the globe. His research has received numerous awards, and he is the most cited scholar today in economics and business. While Dr. Porter is, at the core, a scholar, his work has also achieved remarkable acceptance by practitioners across multiple fields.

Dr. Porter’s initial training was in aerospace engineering at Princeton University. He then earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard’s Department of Economics. His research approach—applying economic theory to complex systemic problems—reflects these multidisciplinary foundations.  In 2000, Harvard Business School and Harvard University jointly established the Institute for Strategy & Competitiveness to provide a home for his research.

Research & Scholarship

Michael Porter’s early work was on industry competition and company strategy, where he was the pioneer in utilizing economic theory to develop a more rigorous understanding of industry competition and the choices companies make to compete. In addition to advancing his home field of industrial organization economics, Dr. Porter’s work has defined the modern strategy field.  His ideas are taught in virtually every business school in the world as well as extensively in economics and other disciplines. He continues to write about competition and strategy today. His November 2014 article, How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition, addresses the role of information technology in strategy. Dr. Porter’s original work on industry structure, the value chain, and strategic positioning has informed much of his other research.

Dr. Porter next turned to economic development and competitiveness, where his work focused on the microeconomic underpinnings of national and regional economic development. This large body of work includes numerous theoretical and empirical papers on the concept of clusters and their impact on economic performance. He also created the Cluster Mapping Project, which pioneered the rigorous measurement of economic geography and has become the standard in the U.S., Europe, and a growing number of other countries. His theories are widely applied by both government policymakers and economic development practitioners globally.

In environmental policy, Dr. Porter proposed the “Porter Hypothesis” in the early 1990s, which put forward the novel theory that strict environmental standards were not in conflict with company profitability or national competitiveness, but could enhance both. The Porter Hypothesis has given rise to several hundred scholarly articles in the literature on environmental economics.

Dr. Porter also developed a body of work on the role of corporations in society. His ideas have changed the way companies approach philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. His 2011 paper with Mark Kramer, Creating Shared Value, highlights the power of capitalism as the best route to real solutions to many social problems. 

Finally, since the early 2000s, Michael Porter has devoted considerable attention to the economics of health care, with a focus on building the intellectual framework for realigning the delivery of health care to maximize value to patients (patient health outcomes achieved per dollar spent). In Redefining Health Care (with Elizabeth Teisberg) and a series of articles, Dr. Porter and colleagues have introduced the core concepts for reorganizing health care delivery organizations, measuring patient outcomes and the actual cost of care by medical condition, designing value-based reimbursement models, and integrating multi-location health systems, among others.  This work, known as value-based health care delivery, is diffusing rapidly in the literature and among practitioners.

Other Activities & Honors

Michael Porter has taught generations of students at Harvard Business School and across the entire University, as well as business, government, and health care leaders from around the world. He serves as an advisor to business, government, and the social sector. He has been strategy advisor to leading U.S. and international companies, served on Fortune 500 public boards, and played an active role in U.S. economic policy at the federal and state levels. He has worked with heads of state from around the world on economic development strategy. 

Michael Porter has founded or co-founded four non-profit organizations growing out of his scholarly work: The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, which addresses economic development in distressed urban communities; the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which creates rigorous tools for measuring foundation effectiveness; FSG, a leading non-profit strategy firm serving corporations, NGOs, and foundations in improving social value creation; and the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM), which develops global patient outcome standards and risk factors by medical condition and drives their adoption globally.

Michael Porter is the author of nineteen books including Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, Competitive Advantage of Nations, On Competition, and Redefining Health Care, as well as over 125 articles. He has won many scholarly awards and honors including the Adam Smith Award of the National Association of Business Economists, the John Kenneth Galbraith Medal, the David A. Wells Prize in Economics from Harvard, and the Academy of Management’s highest award for scholarly contributions to management. He is also an unprecedented seven-time winner of the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article of the year.

Professor Porter is the recipient of twenty-one honorary doctorates and several national and state honors. He received the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce for his contribution to economic development, and has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and other honorary societies. In 2000, he was named a University Professor by Harvard University, the highest recognition that can be awarded to a Harvard faculty member.

For further information, see the web site of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (www.isc.hbs.edu).

 

  1. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2013 from the Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in Paraguay.

  2. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2012 from the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla in Mexico.

  3. Won the first place 2011 McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review for “Creating Shared Value” with with Mark R. Kramer.

  4. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2011 from the Illinois Institute of Technology in the United States.

  5. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 from the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru.

  6. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 from the University of Toronto in Canada.

  7. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

  8. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 from the Nyenrode Business Universiteit in The Netherlands.

  9. Received the first Lifetime Achievement Award in Economic Development from the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2008.

  10. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2008 from the Leipzig Graduate School of Management in Germany.

  11. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2007 from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.

  12. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2007 from the Universidad Deusto in Bilbao, Spain.

  13. Winner of the 2007 James A. Hamilton Book of the Year Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives for Redefining Health Care with Elizabeth O. Teisberg (Harvard Business School Press, 2006).

  14. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2006 from the Háskóli Islands (University of Iceland) in Reykjavik.

  15. Won the first place 2006 McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review for “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility” with Mark R. Kramer.

  16. Awarded the 2005 John Kenneth Galbraith Medal by the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) for his “breakthrough discoveries in economics and outstanding contributions to humanity through leadership, research, and service.”

  17. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2005.

  18. Elected a charter member of the Fellows of the Strategic Management Society in 2005.

  19. Received the 2005 Distinguished Contributor to Case Research and Teaching Award from the North American Case Research Association (NACRA).

  20. Won the 2003 Academy of Management Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Management.

  21. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2003 from Handelshøyskolen BI (the BI Norwegian School of Management) in Oslo.

  22. Received the Order of José Dolores Estrada, Batalla de San Jacinto, with the rank of Great Cross, from the government of Nicaragua in 2002.

  23. Won the second place 2002 McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review for “The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy” with Mark R. Kramer.

  24. Won the first place 2001 McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review for “Strategy and the Internet.”

  25. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 2001 from the Universidad de San Martín de Porres in Lima, Peru.

  26. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1999 from the Ecole des hautes études commerciales et Paris (HEC School of Management) in France.

  27. Received the Creu de Sant Jordi in 1998 from the Government of Catalonia, Spain

  28. Received the 1998 Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Management from the International Academy of Management.

  29. Won the 1997 Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics.

  30. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1996 from INCAE Business School in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

  31. Won the second place 1996 McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review for “What Is Strategy?”

  32. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1995 from the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago, Chile.

  33. Selected as a Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Science in 1995.

  34. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1994 from Mount Ida College in the United States.

  35. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1994 from the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa in Portugal.

  36. Received the 1994 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Competitiveness from the American Society for Competitiveness.

  37. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1993 from Erasmus University in The Netherlands.

  38. Received the 1993 Irwin Outstanding Educator Award from the Academy of Management.

  39. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1991 from Johnson & Wales University in the United States.

  40. Won the 1991 Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Marketing and Strategy from the American Marketing Association.

  41. Elected in 1991 as a foreign member of the Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademien (Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences) in Sweden.

  42. Received an Honorary Doctorate in 1989 from Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden.

  43. Won the first place 1987 McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review for “From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy.”

  44. Winner of the 1985 George R. Terry Book Award from the Academy of Management for Competitive Advantage (Free Press, 1985).

  45. Elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Management in 1985.

  46. Competitive Strategy (Free Press, 1980) was selected as one of the Outstanding Academic Books for 1980–1981 by Choice Magazine.

  47. Won the first place 1979 McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review for “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy.”

  48. Winner of a 1980 Graham and Dodd Scroll Award from the Financial Analysts Journal for "Industry Structure and Competitive Strategy: Keys to Profitability" (1980).

  49. Winner of the 1973–1974 David A. Wells Prize in Economics from Harvard University for “Consumer Behavior, Retailer Power, and Manufacturer Strategy in Consumer Goods Industries” (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, 1973).

  50. Distinguished as a Baker Scholar in 1971 at Harvard Business School.

  51. Received a BSE with High Honors, Princeton University, 1969.

  52. Phi Beta Kappa, 1969.

  53. Sigma Xi, 1969.

  54. Tau Beta Pi, 1969.

  55. Member, NCAA Golf All-American Team, 1968.

  56. Winner of the 1968 Eastern Intercollegiate Golf Championship.

  57. Member, All State Football Team, New Jersey, 1965 and previous years.

  58. Member, All State Baseball Team, New Jersey, 1965 and previous years.