The previous primary value chain activities are facilitated by support activities, organised by Porter in four generic categories, detailed according with the firm´s specificity.
- Firm Infrastructure, includes general management activities such as planning, finance, legal, accounting, quality management, organisational structure, control systems, firm´s culture, etc;
- Human Resource Management, includes the activities associated with recruitment, hiring, training, development, retention and compensation of employees and managers;
- Technology Development, includes technology development to support the value chain activities, such as research and development, process automation, design, redesign;
- Procurement includes activities of purchasing the raw materials, servicing, spare parts, buildings, machines and other inputs used in the value-creating activities.
Support activities habitually are seen as "overhead", but some firms have used them to build up a competitive advantage, for example, to develop a cost advantage through innovative management of information systems.