The world of business continues to change and transform to align with the demands and intricacies of a globalized economy. The need to establish a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage is a constant theme in most executive-level management meetings.
Most competitive advantages in business are short-term. The advantage is quickly mitigated by competitors that duplicate the innovator's business strategies. However, a sustainable competitive advantage is long-term, less susceptible to external competitive duplication.
Determining potential sources of a sustainable competitive advantage is an interesting and highly researched business topic in the domain of strategic management. Historically, the framework for a sustained competitive advantage includes a variety of sources. The implementation of strategies that exploit internal strengths while neutralizing external threats is one such framework.
Yet another framework, a resource-based model, may hold the key to establishing a sustainable competitive advantage in today's globalized economy. This model holds that a source of sustainability for competitive advantage can be indigenous to firm resources, ones that are valuable, rare, imperfectly imitable and not easily substituted (Barney, 1991).
These attributes can often be applied to various resources in a given organization. However, the most valuable resource in most companies is the people who work there. Hence, the new paradigm of getting the most out of your “human capital” is a growing trend in today's business world.
Progressive organizations no longer see employees as “worker bees” tending to day-to-day activities. Rather, they are viewed as “knowledge workers,” able to transform data and information into actionable knowledge that is shared within the workplace via computers and technology, creating expert systems. This evolution of employees into knowledge workers can also be facilitated by motivating them to new creative and innovative heights, with the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively.
The ability for managers, executives and business leaders to become catalysts for changing the workforce involves a significant shift in skillset and knowledge, to say the least. An attempt to understand and influence corporate culture can be daunting.
The School of Business at California Southern University understands the complexities of establishing a meaningful and ethical corporate culture. Courses in our MBA and DBA degree programs address this topic. Our MGT 86500 Business Organization and Management course in the MBA program highlights a study in organizational culture and its influence on behavior, employee attitudes, business productivity and operations. Additional topics pertaining to organizational design, motivation, team-building, leadership, change management, globalization and social responsibility are also presented.
In the DBA program, BUS 87305 Ethnography of Corporate Culture incorporates an innovative study of how ethnographic methods can be used to analyze information-based work practices to design business and corporate systems that are sensitive and responsive to those who utilize them. The course examines the complexities of corporate culture in terms of its distribution, and how it can affect the function of organizations' infrastructure.
In summary, human capital is the most important and complex of an organization's resources, and is a potentially valuable source of a sustainable competitive advantage. If managed correctly, an organization can harness the power of its workforce to drive business intelligence and leverage knowledge-based strategies.