Competence Development and Innovation—Between
Invention and Routine
WOLFGANG H. GÜTTEL
Since the paradigmatic shift within strategic management theories and practices from a market-based to resource-based view, intracorporate potentials— referred to as competences—have been seen as the crucial element for achieving a sustainable competitive advantage (see Barney, 1991, 2001; Grant, 1991; Cool et al., 2002; Heene and Sanchez, 1997). Competences are mainly based on knowledge and established through organizational learning processes. The major objectives of knowledge production within organizations can be divided into the internal development of organizational competences (capability of change) and the external utilization of the newly generated knowledge in terms of improved products and services (capability of innovation). The intention of this chapter is to explain the process of competence development (the change aspect) and generation of new products and services (the innovation aspect) as well as the alternatives available for modifying the innovation and change capabilities of organizations.
In the second section, organizational competences will be defined, and the interrelation between invention, innovation, and change routines with regard to the development of competences and the generation of new products and services will be analyzed. In addition, the impact of dynamic capabilities on the modification of organizational competences will be explained. In the third section, I will discuss alternatives for the modification of organizational innovation and change capabilities in order to stimulate knowledge production processes.