What is distinctive competence?  

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Distinctive competence refers to the core skills and practices that increase the competitiveness of an organization and make it different from its competitors. An organization's competitors cannot imitate this competence (at least in the short term), allowing an organization to gain an advantage over others. An organization must protect its...

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Distinctive competence refers to the core skills and practices that increase the competitiveness of an organization and make it different from its competitors. An organization's competitors cannot imitate this competence (at least in the short term), allowing an organization to gain an advantage over others. An organization must protect its distinctive competence to retain its competitive edge.

To determine its distinctive competence or competences, an organization should conduct an internal and external review and find those areas of skill and technology that are in demand in the marketplace. If these skills are not in demand, they are not areas of competence. An organization must also consistently change its distinctive competence in a changing business environment to keep its competitive edge, and its competence must become part of its corporate strategy. Examples of distinctive competence are fast delivery and the extremely high quality of an organization's product.

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Distinctive competence refers to some characteristic of a business that it does better than its competitors. Because the business is able to do something better than other businesses, that business has a competitive advantage over other businesses. Distinctive competence can occur in various areas, including technology, manufacturing, consumer relations, marketing, or the people that work for the business.

Companies with a distinctive competence are ones that have an advantage that is difficult for other businesses to copy. In order for a company to develop a distinctive competence, it must do a very thorough internal and external review of its corporate environments.

Companies must constantly be monitoring conditions in the business environment. Failure to do this could cause the company to lose their distinctive competence because of changes in the business environment.

There are a few examples of companies with a distinctive competency. GE has a distinctive competency in management development. Toyota has one in lean manufacturing.

A distinctive competence can give a business a big advantage over its competitors.

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