Core Competence
(Hamel Prahalad)

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Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

Core CompetenceThe Core Competence model of Hamel and Prahalad is a corporate strategy model that starts the strategy process by thinking about the core strengths of an organization.

Inside-out Corporate Strategy

The Outside-in approach (such as the Five Forces model from Porter) places the market, the competition, and the customer at the starting point of the strategy process. The Core Competence model does the opposite by stating that in the long run, competitiveness derives from an ability to build a Core Competence, at lower cost and more speedily than competitors. The Core Competence may result in 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, through which individual businesses can adapt quickly to changing circumstances. A Core Competence can be any combination of specific, inherent, integrated and applied knowledge, skills and attitudes.

In their article "The Core Competence 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 argue that a corporation should be built around a core of shared competences. Compare: Horizontal Integration.

Business units must 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 articulating the strategic architecture that guides the process of competence building.

Three tests for identifying a Core Competence

  1. Provides potential access to a wide variety of markets.
  2. Makes a significant contribution to the benefits of the product as perceived by the customer.
  3. A CC should be difficult for competitors to imitate.

Building a Core Competence

A Core Competence is built through a process of continuous improvement and enhancement (compare: Kaizen). It 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, but must add value by articulating the strategic architecture that guides the process of competence building.

Once top management (with the help of Strategic Business Units managers) have identified an all-embracing Core Competence, it must ask businesses to identify the projects and the people that are closely connected with it. Corporate auditors should perform an audit of the location, number, and quality of the people related to the CC. CC carriers should be brought together frequently to share ideas.

Core rigidities?

Care must be taken not to let core competencies develop into core rigidities. A Corporate Competence is difficult to learn, but is difficult to unlearn as well. Companies that have spared no effort to achieve a competence, sometimes neglect new market circumstances or demands. They risk to be locked in by choices that were made in the past.

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

Book: Michael Goold, Andrew Campbell - Corporate-Level Strategy -

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

Special Interest Group

Core Competence Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (218 members)


Forum about Core Competence.

People are our Greatest Asset
How practical are Prahalad and Hamel (1990) when they suggest that the general managerial epithet, “people are our great (...)
2 reactions
Is There Any Difference Between a Competence and a Competency?
Is there any difference between an organizational / strategic competence and a competency? In other words are competence (...)
3 reactions
🔥 NEW The Role of AI in Core Competence
Do you think Artificial Intelligence (big data, self-learning software, digital networks, algorithms) can be a core comp (...)
0 reactions
Best Practices

The top-rated discussion topics about Core Competence. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 Why Protect Core Competence?
Why should a firm ensure its core competence is hard to imitate? The whole market should be made aware about a firm's C (...)
0 reactions

🥈 CC as an Organisational Trait(s)
Try to define your organisation's Core Competency and you find yourself with the same problem as trying to identify your (...)
3 reactions

🥉 Identifying a Core Competence
How can a firm identify its CC? (...)
5 reactions

Core Competency versus Corporate Competency?
Is there any difference between core competency and corporate competency? If yes, then please explain. (...)
3 reactions

Imitation of Core Competence
How can a firm ensure that its core competence(s) are hard to imitate? (...)
6 reactions

The Virtual Company and Core Competences
It's interesting to consider a when you are thinking about Core Competences: 1. The Virtual Company focuses as much as (...)
2 reactions

Utilizing a Core Competence
Once an organization has defined its Core Competence, finding or creating new markets to leverage the CC becomes a cruci (...)
3 reactions

Always link Strategy to CC
Core competencies are the activities in which any organization does exceedingly well and they are always built over time (...)
1 reactions

Financial Valuation of a Core Competence
How can a firm determine the financial valuation of individual CCs? How can we measure the value of a core competence? (...)
3 reactions

Core Competences and Porter's 5 Forces
Core competencies are like one pole of a magnet, opposite poles always attract each other. The other pole is customer's (...)
0 reactions

Is CC REALLY Different from FF?
The trouble with this article and concept is that it begins by suggesting that CC is opposite to Porter's FF approach in (...)
2 reactions

Leadership & Core Competence
Resources that might be easily available will not enable a business to achieve a competitive advantage over rivals. If a (...)
0 reactions

Core Competency Should be Challenged
A Core Competency should be difficult for competitors to imitate. But I would like to add that it should also be challen (...)
0 reactions

Integrating the Core Competence
Having identified the core competence of the organisation, the real challenge - particularly in knowledge intensive orga (...)
1 reactions

Outside- in vs. Inside-out
I think the debate on the wisdom of an "outside- in" vs. "inside-out" approache is misplaced. CC is clearly the latter b (...)
3 reactions

Core Competences Change due to ICT
(In what way) Did core competences change after the ICT evolution? (...)
0 reactions

Defining New Services / Capabilities
How can we come up with ideas to develop new services, based on current internal strength of existing services and capab (...)
0 reactions

Examples of Core Competences
Here are few examples of Core Competencies you frequently see in literature on CCs: Apple: user-friendly design of elec (...)
1 reactions

Collaboration and CC
How can a firm avoid that its core competence(s) are threatened when it is collaborating with other firms such as in dem (...)
2 reactions

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Core Competence. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Developing Core Competencies

Strategy (...)

Uses (Advantages) of Core Competencies

Strategy (...)

Customer Centricity: Success Factors for Customer Intimacy

Value Disciplines, Customer Strategy, Customer Intimacy, Customer-oriented, CRM (...)

A Corporate Theory: Long-term Handhold and Guidance in Turbulent Times?

Inside-out Corporate Strategy, Corporate Visioning (...)

Qualities of Core Competences

What is a Core Competence and What isn't? (...)

The Key Role of the Strategy Competence in Creating Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Business Strategy, Corporate Strategy, Competitive Advantage, Strategy Education (...)

How to Change a Firm's Core Business?

A 7-Step Process (...)
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Core Competence. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Definition, Differences and Relationships between Resources, Capabilities, Competencies and Core Competencies

Core Competencies (...)

A Service-Dominant Logic on the Firm

Service-Dominant Logic, Perspectives on Marketing (...)

Core Competence

Short explanation (...)

Porter's Industrial Organization Versus Barney's Resource Based View

Business Strategy, Value Chain Management (...)

Core Competence Diagram

Inside-out Strategy (...)

Perspective: Biography Prahalad (1941-2010)

Developing a Broader Perspective towards the Ideas of Prahalad (...)

Core Competencies. What are They, Inventory and Test

Discovering Core Competencies (...)

Compare with Core Competence:  Resource-Based View  |  Blue Ocean Strategy  |  Outsourcing  |  Delta Model  |  Vertical Integration  |  Porter  |  Strategic Types  |  Parenting Advantage  |  Four Trajectories of Industry Change  |  Forget Borrow Learn  |  Parenting Styles  |  Experience Curve  |  BCG Matrix  |  Growth Phases  |  Distinctive Capabilities  |  Organizational Configurations  |  Centralization and Decentralization  |  Management Buy-out  |  Acquisition Integration Approaches  |  Co-Creation  |  Strategic Intent

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