We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Distinctive Competencies?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Also known as core capabilities or core competencies, distinctive competencies are the talents and collective experience that are inherent within the work force of a given company. These essential characteristics are considered highly desirable, since they provide the business with what it needs to be competitive in the marketplace, provide value to customers, and ultimately achieve the goals and aims of the company. There is no one ideal combination of these talents and experience, since the tools needed by different companies will vary.

In order to assess if the distinctive competencies necessary for allowing the business to compete in the marketplace and reach its goals, each talent or ability must be assessed. In order to be of value to the business effort, it must be one that increases the potential for providing benefit to the customer. While the competency does not have to directly lead to this end, it must contribute to the process at some point in the fulfillment chain.

Distinctive competencies are also somewhat difficult for the competition to copy or imitate. This difficulty may stem from finding it hard to attract employees with similar levels and types of competency, or an inability to obtain individuals who can also bring the same level of experience to the business effort. In either case, competitors find it hard to create the same mixture of resources, and thus are not able to execute the same type of business plans with similar success.

One of the ways that a business continues to evolve is by constantly evaluating the extraordinary abilities or distinctive competencies needed to take the operation to the next level. As a company expands its client base, needs that were not present in the past are likely to arise. By seeking out people who have the talents needed to meet those needs, or cultivating those talents among the existing workforce, the business is able to position itself to not only hold on to its current customers, but also reach into new sectors of the consumer market, allowing it to go places that the competition has yet to discover.

Any successful business will involve the presence and the efficient utilization of distinctive competencies. Small businesses may exhibit core abilities such as a strong customer service ethic that helps them compete with larger and more established businesses. Mail order companies may hire people with a talent for creating an outstanding order process that ensures quick delivery to customers. Manufacturing plants may have people who are especially gifted in designing a process control strategy that eliminates waste of raw materials and allows the business to lower the overall cost of production. As long as the talent or expertise is considered crucial or key to the function of the operation, it can rightly be considered a distinctive competency.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By B707 — On May 25, 2011

This may be just me, but to me the whole idea of distinctive competencies kind of sounds like a personality assessment for businesses. Though I know it's much more complicated and in-depth than that, I think that it kind of works, because people do tend to get a "feel" from businesses.

For example, I often have a tendency to think of larger businesses as cold or smaller businesses as friendly or trustworthy. Perhaps this could be an interesting angle for a marketing specialist to explore?

By PinkLady4 — On May 24, 2011

I'm sure that companies, big or small, need to pay close attention to the abilities that people have when they are interviewed for a job. They have to be competent in specific job requirements. Just as important, most need to have good people skills. Being able to work well with co-workers and also with customers or clients really makes a difference.

I think that when companies go in a different direction, they should try to train the employees they have in the new competencies. I think this is better than replacing them with new employees.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.