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Unformatted text preview: VIEWPOINT ABSTRACT. 110 Journal of Education for Business R ince its genesis in the mid-20th century, the study of business disciplines has become an established academic discipline. The proliferation of business curricula, journals, and aca- demic and professional associations is evidence of a dramatic growth in busi- ness education. Although the growth has improved the understanding of busi- ness and informed business practices, with growth comes various problems. For example, business practitioners, researchers, and educators are confused over important terms and concepts used pervasively in the field. An understand- ing of key concepts is critical for the foundation from which business practi- tioners and academics communicate and future research builds. In this article, I explore three important concepts: core competence, distinctive competence, and competitive advantage. Business experts, particularly in strate- gic management and marketing, are con- stantly advising firms in all industries to develop core competencies and distinctive competencies and create a competitive advantage. An examination of the use of these three concepts, however, reveals a problem. They have taken on somewhat of a buzzword status, whereby they are used so frequently that their meanings and interrelations are taken for granted and assumed to represent ideas that are not necessarily valid. Practitioners and researchers seem to underestimate the complexity of these concepts, perhaps because little guidance exists as to what these concepts mean and how they relate to each other. In this article, I review and synthesize the evolution of the use of three impor- tant concepts in the common business lexicon: core competence, distinctive competence, and competitive advan- tage. This analysis of business litera- ture serves as a foundation for offering comprehensive definitions, conceptual models, and examples with which the concepts can be understood and com- municated. This is a practical approach because these concepts are often a criti- cal part in the development and under- standing of business strategies. More- over, a clear understanding of the three concepts will help avoid research prob- lems stemming from ambiguity, thus allowing for a more rigorous conceptual foundation for future research. The Evolution of the Use of Core Competence, Distinctive Competence, and Competitive Advantage in Literature Core Competence Although Andrews (1971) intro- duced the concept of core competence as “the core of competence” (p. 46) and defined it as “what the company can do particularly well” (p. 46), an earlier work by Ansoff (1965) provided a rich Core Competence, Distinctive Competence, and Competitive Advantage: What Is the Difference?...
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- Fall '09
- Management, Prahalad & Hamel