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Core competency beyond identification: presentation of a model

Urban Ljungquist (School of Management and Economics, Växjö University, Växjö, Sweden)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 10 April 2007




The purpose of this paper is to outline a model that is conceptually and empirically applicable by practitioners in contexts extending beyond mere core competence identification.


This paper presents a conceptual review of a model.


This paper demonstrates that the associated concepts (competence, capability, and resources) have characteristics that differ both conceptually and empirically. The findings also indicate that competencies are central to core competence matters; it is possible to distinguish them analytically by three criteria. Furthermore, the notions of hierarchy suggested in previous research could not be verified which implies that the associated concepts all reside at the same hierarchy level.

Research limitations/implications

The findings advance core competence theories that better serve the needs of practicing managers and consultants, by initiating a specific research agenda in conceptual and empirical reviews and discussions. By proposing a model, the study provides a point of departure for core competency research that goes beyond matters of identification.

Practical implications

The dissimilar characteristics of the associated concepts offer great opportunities to core competency management, by means of the different influences they have on core competencies. Their influence makes organizational change and rejuvenation not only comprehensible, but also manageable. This is of particular importance to organizations that need ongoing renewal of core competencies, for example, when facing dynamic business environments. Competence improvements manage and change core competencies; capability supports reinforce and create structure before, during, and after a change process; resource utilizations are operative, and need daily attention.


The paper initiates a new research agenda for core competency matters by acknowledging specific features of the concepts associated with core competence. This makes a significant contribution to the existing literature in terms of practical and scholarly applicability.



Ljungquist, U. (2007), "Core competency beyond identification: presentation of a model", Management Decision, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 393-402.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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