Core Competencies of a Company

In dictionaries, the word competence means “the ability to appreciate and resolve certain subject, do a certain thing; ability, skill, fitness, suitability”. In business, competence is a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that generates a competitive advantage for the organization and generates distinctive value perceived by customers – a difficult set to being emulated. On the other hand organizational skills, according to Ruas et. al. (2005), are collective skills which appear in the form of production and service processes, in which are embedded tacit and explicit knowledge, systems and work procedures and other less visible elements such as principles, values and dominant culture in the organization. Core competencies of the organization are, according to Prahalad and Hamel (2005), “a set of skills and technologies that allows a company to provide a particular benefit to its customers”.

So what individual skills should be incorporated into the company processes, and into the way it acts, to prevent that the loss of one or more contributors may affect its results and performance on the market?

Companies insist on investing and considering only the key competencies derived from the main activities of their business and the activities that involve some sort of technology. Training in logistics, marketing, information technology and sales are very common in business today. Even with this large portfolio of skills, organizations breaks and missteps abound across the globe. It turns out that the answer to the question raised at the end of the previous paragraph lies in the unfolding of the 4 P of business management and in the knowledge and practices that the company must have and maintain on each of the pillars of these topics.

On the topic Planning, the company must develop their strategies periodically, structured within a plan that goes all the hierarchical pyramid of the company, from its directors with its strategic objectives to the shop floor with their action plans; shall provide to their employees a systemic view of the segment in which it operates, through research and periodic reviews of the external environment, and also a systemic view of the company itself, through the dissemination of its mission, vision, Value Chain and its business and operational processes, and further fostering the exchange of experience among the various areas. Anyway, it should encourage through activities and programs the planned action and not the movements in spasms and hiccups caused by an act based on trial and error.

On the topic Processes, the company should be devoted to the management of its business, operational and support processes, discovering where lie their strengths and weaknesses, improving critical processes that are directly related to the Critical Success Factors of the organization, in order to operate with lower and feasible costs, with the appropriate level of quality to the segment in which it operates and in the shortest possible time; must control its operations through performance indicators in order to know the deviations from what was planned, in time to be corrected, and disseminate best practices among the company’s units; should invest in the company’s organizational architecture, what generates changes in the organizational structure every time the strategies change dramatically, preventing that the bureaucracy and the organization’s hierarchy imprison and create obstacles to the realization of good business. In short, it should devote itself less to the functional and regulatory matters of the company and more to its dynamic performance, to the control of its processes and to the management of organizational changes.

On the topic People, the organization must develop the leadership of the company with respect to its relationship with subordinates, its ability to influence his players – inspiring them to a shared vision -, its negotiating skills, its ability to appoint a way – and encourage its staff to follow it -, the balance of its substantive rationality (act correctly, ethically) with its instrumental rationality (achieve a purpose, a goal); should invest in the conscious motivation of its employees, that is, make the employees to realize high productivity as the way that leads them to personal goals, creating a loop that takes them to be proud to work in the organization; should encourage teamwork not only as a means of integration of employees and different areas of the company but as a way of stimulating creativity and the feeling of belonging to a group, which are basic human needs. In short, should pursue the improvement of its employees as people, partners in a project to take the organization to a level of excellence – and them together with it -, and not treat humans as simple resources.

On the topic Projects, the company must make their employees understand that projects do not apply to the routine work of the company but are linked to a change or an innovation. A project is also an opportunity to work horizontally, or work by processes for a certain time. It’s a kind of training for the future work environment that will have the role of the people more by processes (sales, delivery, storage) than the function of the organization (marketing, engineering, procurement). As projects always involve people and changes within a short time, it requires that its management is carried out by people with the skills of a change agent: facilitator, risk-taker, proactive behavior, flexible in accepting changes and easy living with uncertainty. However, this management towards the new has its limits. According to Brandão and Crema (1998), “here worth the rule that we can only make it easier for others growth if we’ve had it in ourselves; we can only lead them to the point we arrived. We cannot illuminate on others a part that is darkness in ourselves”. In conclusion, the company should encourage the use of projects by solving its most acute problems and improving its internal processes.

So there is a common set of skills to all companies – no matter what segment it belongs – that has not been well developed in most of them and that involves the 4 P of business management. If these skills are the domain of their managers and the company’s key personnel – such as supervisors, and senior analysts responsible for critical activities of the organization -, the probability that their activities are developed creatively, controlled and previously studied increases, and leads the company to a higher level of performance and better results.


BRANDÃO, Dênis, M. S. e CREMA, Roberto. Visão Holística Em Psicologia e Educação. São Paulo: Editora Summus, 1991.

PRAHALAD, C. K., & Hamel, G. Competindo pelo futuro: estratégias inovadoras para obter o controle do seu setor e criar os mercados de amanhã. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Campus, 2005.

RUAS, Roberto L.; ANTONELLO, Claudia S.; BOFF, Luiz H. (Orgs.). Os Novos Horizontes da Gestão: Aprendizagem Organizacional e Competências. Porto Alegre: Bookman, 2005.

GASSENFERTH, Walter. Blog Gestão Empresarial em Gotas. Disponível em

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