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Student Project

In: Business and Management

Submitted By KIANWEI
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Core competencies, however, are characteristics of the organization as a whole. Libraries can utilize core competencies as a tool to develop and provide superior services. A description and review of the concepts of core competencies are included and a framework for their development and use is given.

The concept of core competencies was developed in the management field. Prahalad and Hamel (1990) introduced the concept in a Harvard Business Review article. They wrote that a core competency is "an area of specialized expertise that is the result of harmonizing complex streams of technology and work activity." As an example they gave Honda's expertise in engines. Honda was able to exploit this core competency to develop a variety of quality products from lawn mowers and snow blowers to trucks and automobiles.

It is important to distinguish between individual competencies or capabilities and core competencies. Individual capabilities stand alone and are generally considered in isolation. Gallon, Stillman, and Coates (1995) made it explicit that core competencies are more than the traits of individuals. They defined core competencies as "aggregates of capabilities, where synergy is created that has sustainable value and broad applicability." That synergy needs to be sustained in the face of potential competition and, as in the case of engines, must not be specific to one product or market. So according to this definition, core competencies are harmonized, intentional constructions.

Coyne, Hall, and Clifford (1997) proposed that "a core competence is a combination of complementary skills and knowledge bases embedded in a group or team that results in the ability to execute one or more critical processes to a world class standard." Two ideas are especially important here. The skills or knowledge must be complementary, and taken together they should make it...

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