I'm looking for a good book that covers the dynamics of many different types of value chains. I've looked around a little bit, but I'm not seeing anything that jumps out at me. What I'd like to do is expand my knowledge of the different types of value chains and the drivers of various types. Help?


arun's picture

Hi Brian,

A bit late but ..

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance by Michael Porter.

gives a very brief outline.

I have read parts of the book for my course and it is a very interesting read.

bflynn's picture

Its never too late.

This is close, but not quite. I think I could have been clearer, but I'm thinking about something more real world. The Porter book is good and covers the same material that we went through in one of our MBA courses. Its a topic that I find facinating, but I haven't found much out there on the topic.

Jim Collins has a concept in his GTG and BLT books about finding the one thing that makes your company run. What he is talking about is value chains. I'm not aware of any book that gives real world examples of different types of value chains and makes them tick. Although I say company, that can also mean a sub organization, but thats a detail.

An example is the high level value chain for a service organization. You make money because you have customers that are thrilled and give recommendations and repeat business. They're thrilled because they got good service and they got good service because you had great employees. You have great employees because you trained them to be great and created the internal systems to support them in being great. So, if you boil the value chain down to the beginning and end, you make money because you train and support great employees. So, to spin your flywheel, you need to improve internal training and support systems.
There are very few organizations that "get" this.

This chain is not the same for every company. A CPG company has different drivers focued on product quality. A financial company has drivers focused on returns. I'm really looking for something that surveys the different types of industries and goes through the drivers for the industry.

Maybe it doesn't exist, its a pretty specific topic...


arun's picture


Now this would make a very exciting project for someone :) .

I know what you are saying but I don’t think there would be such a book out there. If there is I am interested. This really combines and integrates corporate strategy with culture, Knowledge Management and the interaction of these and the other organisational factors with internal/external environments.

This topic also fascinates me together with others such as Knowledge Management and is one of the topics that I would look at pursuing as a full thesis if I ever got around to doing my DBA! I am however at this stage starting to get a bit rusty with the concepts.

I recently listened to GTG and am now on BTL but I only have the audio books. Someone (I think Collins in the audio) was saying that the printed GTG has detailed analysis at the back of what companies were analysed as well as factors that were taken into account for their greatness.

My suggestion and I am sure you have already thought about this is to focus on a particular industry of interest and then narrow it down to one or two companies that have either been good in that field or alternatively bad and analyse them as you would have done for a business strategy class. Starting with SWOT, Porters ‘5’ forces etc to work out what makes them tick. This as far as I know is the only way. Happy to be guided by other more knowledgeable folk.

Another suggestion, if you are serious about this then I would be happy to team up with you and assist in the analysis work to take it further. I am “down under” however but it is all do able. Send me a PM if you want to pursue.