Competence Building and Leveraging in Interorganizational Relations: Volume 11

Cover of Competence Building and Leveraging in Interorganizational Relations

Table of contents

(12 chapters)

This volume begins with a literature review of the different approaches to the management of competences in interorganizational relations. In Frédéric Prevot's paper, “The management of competences in the context of interorganizational relations,” the existing literature is structured in a two-dimensional model based on the nature of the relationship (cooperation or competition) and the actions taken on the competences (leveraging or building). Four objectives for the management of competences in the context of interorganizational relationships are thus derived: (1) sharing of competences, (2) protection of competences, (3) creation of competences, and (4) acquisition of competences. Each competence objective then requires specific management approaches to achieve.

The management of competences in interorganizational relations refers to two fundamental domains in strategy: competence and co-operation. Thus, it constitutes an area of research which is at one and the same time complex and promising. The synthesis presented in the form of a literature review in this article allows us to look at the current state of approaches in the management of competences in interorganizational relations in the context of the resource-based view and the competence-based management perspective. We then propose a model based on two dimensions: the first is defined by the nature of the relationship (considered to be a space where either co-operation or competition predominates) and the second by the actions taken on the competences in the context of the relationship (oriented either towards creating new competences or leveraging existing ones).

The first part of this paper discusses why and how organizations join collaborative arrangements in transforming business sectors. In order to address this research question from an organization–environment co-evolution perspective, the authors begin with working out a respective framework for analysis founded on competence-based theory under the umbrella of market process theory. The starting of point of the investigation are results from comprehensive qualitative research conducted within the currently highly turbulent German healthcare sector. Embedded into an interactive research design, the fieldwork reveals a taxonomy of three reasons to cooperate in volatile environments: (1) closing resource and competence gaps in so-called “gap-closing alliances,” (2) preparing for unexpected developments in so-called “option networks,” and (3) intending to exert influence on the relevant business environment in so-called “steering alliances.” Detailed findings and particularities for the field of competence research are briefly summarized. They emanate especially from an evolutionary angle and include timing (reacting adequately to strategic windows in the market), historicity, path dependencies (on both the firm and market/industry level), and an evolutionary interpretation of resource/competence specificity.

The central research question in the second part of the paper is whether and how competence-based management of alliances is applicable to the education sector and for deriving respective management implications. For this reason, an exploratory case study is conducted of the German MBA program “Net Economy,” featuring innovative teaching methods like blended learning arrangements, multimedia case studies, and transnational learning processes in an international learning network.

Mergers have increased at a fast rate in the last 10 years. Nevertheless, practitioners and consultants point out the low rate of success for mergers. Considering this paradoxical situation, it would appear opportune to question the possibility of developing a specific competence within an organization for carrying out mergers and acquisitions. This research aims to propose a model for analyzing the development of such a competence. This paper presents a study of competence-building according to two aspects: level of recognition by the organization and level of use. The study model defines four forms that competence may take: ad hoc responses, capitalization, institutionalization, and dynamic competence. This model is used for the study of the development by the Lafarge Group of a competence in managing cultural integration after international mergers and acquisitions.

Growth strategies exist, specifically for business divisions with a poor competitive position, by “orchestrating” value chains in external networks. The theory of competence development provides a basis for successfully developing new value architectures, since massive changes in a business division can take place only if they are based on durable competences. Four steps to orchestrating value chains can be deduced: (1) identifying changes in the value architecture as a possible growth strategy, (2) creating the organizational prerequisites for the deconstruction of value chains, (3) selling nonspecific value-added and (4) building networks around the core business that link (nonspecific) noncore activities to the firm.

In this conceptual paper we investigate how corporate venturing influences an organization's competences. The impact of various types of corporate ventures on the portfolio of strategic options of a firm's competence modes (Sanchez, 2004a; Sanchez & Heene, 2002) will be assessed by distinguishing two fundamentally different dimensions of corporate venturing: technology and product (Block & MacMillan, 1993). We argue that the level of product and factor market dynamism mediates the effect of corporate venturing on a firm's competence modes. Corporate ventures that significantly increase the level of product or factor market dynamics will increase the flexibility in all five competence modes. These ventures have a direct effect on the lower-order competence modes and an indirect, lagged effect on higher-order competence modes through feedback loops. The developed framework and the propositions contribute to managing the ability of a firm to change its coordination, resource, and operating flexibility in order to sustain value creation.

Innovation competence has become an essential requirement for technology-based organizations to survive in the new economy. Commitment to long-term objectives and learning are considered as indispensable for building innovation competence. Communication networks play a crucial role in both these aspects. In this context management faces the question of how the characteristics as well as the contents of communication present in the network will influence the innovation competence. In this paper a literature study is done to present an understanding of the relationships between communication networks and innovation competence. The paper proposes that the characteristics of communication (frequency, diversity, and centrality) along with the content of communication (shared vision, shared task knowledge, and shared social knowledge) significantly affect the elements necessary to build technological innovation.

Strategic resources are critical for the survival of organizations. One such critical strategic resource is the quality of leadership found within an organization. The competitive advantage provided by any intangible resource like leadership is predicated upon two bases – an adequate level of skill and the skill's relative rarity in the market. Just how rare are patterns of leadership skills within an organization, a multi-foci organization or even an industry? Leadership skills are assessed for these three contexts. We find great similarity of patterns within each type of entity and across all three contexts. This argues that some leadership patterns may indeed be effective in a variety of contexts but may not be the only strategic resource contributing to the competitive advantage of an organization since on their own they are not rare.

This paper explains how a variety of business units within a listed corporation have tried to define their strategic capabilities, as part of a process of developing independent business strategies within the corporation's corporate strategy. This paper describes the processes by which strategic capabilities were identified in each unit, the differences and similarities between the capabilities identified at the business unit level, and their consistency (or otherwise) with an overall corporate strategic positioning.

This paper is based on the author's consulting experience with both the parent corporation and its individual business units over a period of 15 years, and most recently on an intensive relationship with one division of the corporation and its 13 business units began three years ago. An objective of these relationships has been clarifying each business unit's strategy and any basis for sustainable competitive advantage of its strategic capabilities. What emerged from this process is a set of definitions of business unit strategic capabilities which are both similar to, but in some cases different from, the corporate parent's perceptions of the strategic capabilities of its business units.

This paper describes the process by which a first representation of “strategic capabilities” emerged in each business unit. For each unit, the agreed descriptions of strategic capabilities helped guide strategic decision making and implementation and assisted each unit in clarifying its strategic positioning in its markets. However, considerable differences remain in the articulation of each unit's capabilities and in what capabilities are considered to exist in the business units.

This paper is designed to give practitioners and academics a case study through which to consider practicalities involved in articulating and operationalizing strategic capabilities in general and in defining corporate strategies in particular.

Cover of Competence Building and Leveraging in Interorganizational Relations
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Advances in Applied Business Strategy
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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