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Recursive advancement of competence-based business management and its conceptual modeling

A Focussed Issue on Identifying, Building, and Linking Competences

ISBN: 978-1-84950-990-9, eISBN: 978-1-84950-991-6

Publication date: 11 May 2010


An issue of managing a business (unit) as a whole successfully is perceived to belong to the fundamental issues within strategic management. This paper proposes that a business unit can be managed successfully in short and longer term in its focal contexts as a set of three recursive, competence-based, and process-based systems. Many elements of Stafford Beer's (1985) viable system model along the key competence-based theoretical bases are applied to this system design task. The outcome is an ideal, recursive template for advancing competence-based business management (CBBM) and its conceptual modeling. It is assumed that it is possible to design a business unit as a viable system that is capable of sustaining a separate existence at only three levels of hierarchy, as part of single or multi-business firms. Business-process models and their redesign processes are chosen as the 2nd-order, focal system which produces a business unit's competitiveness and solves longitudinal CBBM problems. One level of recursion down includes a unit's value creating, capturing, releveraging, and respective processes that enable to solve cross-sectional problems. One level of recursion up includes a unit's existential foresights and their crafting processes that solve existential problems. Recursivity is designed inside each system in terms of three kinds of subsystems for (a) primary value releveraging, process-model redesign, and business-foresight crafting, (b) the management of varieties in releveraging, modeling, and foreseeing, and (c) the monitoring and probing of all three systems. Systemic competences are incorporated inside respective systems. Such competences possess three flexibilities of absorption, attenuation, and amplification. At each level of recursion, a competence-based process is a unit of conceptual modeling of CBBM. A business unit is defined as a set of its purposeful processes. No thing or one is left outside them. Viability is ensured by real-time interaction and the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-order feedback loops between three systems. Overall, the suggested, recursive, 3-system template is intended to serve future, compatible modeling efforts among interested, pioneering firms, professional CBBM modelers, scholars, and alike. Its novelty is produced by choosing and designing the CBBM modeling as the 2nd-order system-in-focus with its two recursions, by designing and using systemic, competence-based processes as the units of conceptualization, and by choosing and drawing the figures to illustrate the 3-system template in the ways that allow also business managers comprehend and apply the suggested template in practice.


Huovinen, P. (2010), "Recursive advancement of competence-based business management and its conceptual modeling", Sanchez, R., Heene, A. and Ede Zimmermann, T. (Ed.) A Focussed Issue on Identifying, Building, and Linking Competences (Research in Competence-Based Management, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 175-202.



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