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Core Competencies

Summary of the Core Competence Model. Abstract


(Hamel Prahalad)

The CC model of Hamel and Prahalad is an inside-out corporate strategy model that starts the strategy process by thinking about the core strengths of an organization.

Where the outside-in approach (such as Porter's five forces model) places the market, the competition, and the customer at the starting point of the strategy process, the CC model does the opposite by stating that in the long run, competitiveness derives from an ability to build, at lower cost and more speedily than competitors, the CC that spawn unanticipated products. The real sources of advantage are to be found in management's ability to consolidate corporate-wide technologies and production skills into competencies that empower individual businesses to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. As CC can be seen any combination of specific, inherent, integrated and applied knowledge, skills and attitudes.

In their article "The CC of the Corporation" (1990) Prahalad and Gary Hamel dismiss the portfolio perspective as a viable approach to corporate strategy. In their view, the primacy of the Strategic Business Unit is now clearly an anachronism. Hamel and Prahalad carry on to argue that a corporation should be build around a core of shared competences.

Business units should use and help to further develop the CC(s). The corporate center should not be just another layer of accounting, but must add value by enunciating the strategic architecture that guides the competence acquisition process.
Three tests to identifying a CC are:
1. Provides potential access to a wide variety of markets,
2. Should make a significant contribution to the perceived customer benefits of the end product(s), and
3. A CC should be difficult for competitors to imitate.

T I P : Here you can discuss and learn a lot more about Core Competences.

CC are built through a process of continuous improvement and enhancement (compare: Kaizen). They should constitute the focus for corporate strategy. At this level, the goal is to build world leadership in the design and development of a particular class of product functionality. Top management can not be just another layer of accounting consolidation, but must add value by enunciating the strategic architecture that guides the competence acquisition process.

Once top management (with the help of divisional and Strategic Business Unit managers) has identified an overarching CC, it must ask businesses to identify the projects and the people closely connected with them. Corporate auditors should direct an audit of the location, number, and quality of the people who embody the CC. CC carriers should be brought together frequently to trade notes and ideas.

E-Article: C.K. Prahalad, Gary Hamel - The CC of the Corporation

Book: Michael Goold, Andrew Campbell - Corporate-Level Strategy : Creating Value in the Multibusiness Company

Book: C.K. Prahalad, Gary Hamel - Competing for the Future


Compare with Core Competence:  Resource-Based View  |  Blue Ocean Strategy  |  Outsourcing  |  Delta Model  |  Porter  |  Parenting Advantage  |  Four Trajectories of Industry Change  |  Parenting Styles  |  Experience Curve  |  BCG Matrix  |  Greiner  |  Kay  |  Mintzberg  |  Management buy-out  |  M&A  |  Strategic Intent

Note: care must be taken not to let CC develop into core rigidities. CC are difficult to learn, but are difficult to unlearn as well. Companies that shave pared no effort to achieve a competence, sometimes neglect new market circumstances or demands and find themselves locked in by choices made in the past.

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