Distinctive Competencies Vs. Core Competencies


Every business has certain competencies it uses to generate profits. To the extent that those competencies are unique to a particular business, it may fend off competitors and maintain or increase its market share and continue generating profits well into the future. Developing and exploiting competencies is the fundamental means by which all businesses seek to maximize profits.


  • A competency is anything a business does well, and a business may have numerous competencies. For example, an advertising firm might do a superior job of managing internal talent and developing leaders from within, or a manufacturing company might be extremely successful in keeping its number of defects per thousand units produced extremely low.

Core Competencies

  • A core competency is a competency of the business that is essential or central to its overall performance and success. A manufacturing company with a low defect rate may not rely heavily on this low-defect rate as part of its primary business strategy. If this is the case, this low-defect rate is a core competency. If, on the other hand, this company held itself out to the market as a reliable manufacturer of quality products, this could easily be a core competency, because the ability to consistently provide quality products is a key to its business model.

Distinctive Capabilities

  • A distinctive competency is any capability that distinguishes a company from its competitors. While a distinctive competency can be any competency, core or otherwise, it is typically a core competency that truly distinguishes a company from the rest of the competition. For example, one of Google's distinctive competencies is its name recognition and status as the most notable search engine. This competency is difficult for competitors to imitate and sets Google apart from the rest of the market.

Competitive Advantage

  • When a company possesses distinctive competencies, it can transform these attributes into a competitive advantage. A company's competitive advantage over similar businesses in its market or industry allows it to be more profitable or capture more market share. Competitive advantage is crucial for a company to be successful in the long term. Without sufficient competitive advantages, a company eventually would be overtaken by companies that can compete more efficiently or effectively.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit rilueda/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How to Determine Core Competencies

    Core competencies are the source of an organization's competitive advantage in the marketplace. For example, an internationally renowned shipper's core competency would...

  • How to Map Competencies

    Competencies provide a way to observe and measure key skills and behaviors of employees. They offer an actionable list of abilities that...

  • How to Write a Competency Statement

    Competency statements are used to highlight your specific skills when applying for a job. They may be included as part of a...

  • Job Competency Examples

    Job competency skills are specific skills that an individual has that apply to a specific job in question. The competency skill set...

  • Definition of Distinctive Competencies

    Distinctive competencies are an element of Strategic Management and are also known by the term core competencies. The term core competencies was...

  • What Are Core Competencies?

    Authors C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel, in a 1990 "Harvard Business Review" article entitled "The Core Competence of the Corporation," defined core...

  • What Are Competencies?

    A competency, simply put, is something that a person or organization is competent in performing. Competencies are a mixture of natural talents...

  • List of Core Competencies

    Core competencies are factors or traits an employer will look for in new employees upon hire that will benefit the business. Some...

  • Differences Between Skills & Competencies

    “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get” is a Dale Carnegie adage that serves as mantra for...

  • List of Managerial Competencies

    As a manager, your primary responsibility is no longer simply to perform work, it is to direct, control and inspire those employees...

Related Searches

Check It Out

Are You Really Getting A Deal From Discount Stores?

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!