Core Competence, Distinctive Competence, and Competitive Advantage: What Is the Difference?

by Ann Mooney
Journal of Education for Business ()


Core competence, distinctive competence, and competitive advantage are 3 of the most important business concepts that managers, researchers, and educators rely on for decision making, pedagogy, and research. However, little attention has been paid to defining these concepts. As a result, they have become buzzwords that are used so frequently that their meanings are often taken for granted but are not fully understood. In this article, the author reviews the evolution of these concepts in business literature and provides comprehensive definitions, conceptual models, and examples to help clarify and distinguish the concepts so that failures of communication can be avoided.

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