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Title: Internal processes influencing organisation-level competence
Author: Knott, Paul J
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis concerns the concepts associated with 'organisation-level competence'. Its focus is on the internal nature of organisation-level competence and with its application to company strategic management. The topic generated considerable interest in the early to mid 1990s amongst practitioners. This interest reflected the increased importance of the internal resource perspective on company strategy arising through increased global competition and the influence of rapidly developing technology. However, this interest generated much confusion as the concepts were often poorly defined, and although a prior theoretical base existed this was poorly linked to the practical use of the concept. This thesis demonstrates the theoretical roots of the concept and shows how it has been interpreted from the perspective of different research paradigms. It reports on research that has challenged the concept empirically and shown how it can be operationalised in several contrasting technology-based organisations. The focus of the work was an internal approach to the analysis of competence, in contrast to much of the literature on competence which concentrates on its external application. In view of the undeveloped status of the topic, and the desire to build theory and understanding rather than to make empirical generalisations, the research was concentrated on idiographic case studies. One of the outcomes of the research has been to provide a foundation for further work which can now build on better established concepts. The central theme of the research was to establish an improved understanding of the nature of competence in organisations. The concept has been delineated more precisely than hitherto and a framework has been derived for integrating related concepts. This is important since vagueness has arguably been limiting to the application of the concept. Competence has been delineated in terms of the new concepts of 'potential competence' and 'realised competence'. In doing so the paradox has been addressed that competence appears to be both a persistent and a contingent property. Another paradox, between competence and rigidity, has been addressed by proposing the unifying framework of a 'Resource utility matrix'. In addition the way in which the factors influencing competence can interact has been described. The research also provides an empirically derived and theoretically informed basis for techniques of applying the competence concept to the practice of strategic analysis. The questions of language and definition have been addressed. Limitations have been identified with analysis approaches in common use that are based on a hierarchical breakdown and a new approach has been proposed and tested which avoids such a breakdown. The approach makes use of a framework which has also been found to form a successful representation of company competence, within certain limits. A set of complementary representations has been suggested. The studies have also produced implications for the management of competence in organisations, including the potential and limitations of managerial action and the transferability of competence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available