Competencies and competence-based strategy are issues that managers must devote time to as part of their strategic management. However, methods and theories that can be applied in strategic management change at an almost constant rate. Every day seems to bring new management fads conveniently abbreviated to three letters—hence the odd title of this chapter. But are these “new” management fads really something new, or are they merely reflections of each other?
In the introduction it is argued that competence-based strategy should be part of the strategic management of all firms. Nonetheless many theoretical areas that evolve affect the way we perceive and understand competencies and competence-based strategy. Business process reengineering, benchmarking, total quality management, lean production, and vision management are just a few examples of areas that help to evolve competence-based strategy.
At the same time it is clear that new theoretical areas keep emerging. Some prefer to call many of the new areas management fads. E.Shapiro (1966) has written an excellent book on that subject and argues that most of the “new” areas are in fact not new at all. Still, there are areas of a more stable nature with more than 20 years of evolution behind them. Those areas can hardly be labeled “fads,” but they still shape our perception of competence-based strategy and need to be considered in a discussion of the alphabet soup that surrounds competence-based strategy.