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Definition: Hamel, Gary from The AMA Dictionary of Business and Management

Management expert who introduced the concept of core competencies, and who stressed the need for strategizing as an ongoing, radical, and inclusive process for shattering assumptions about corporate governance.

Summary Article: Hamel, Gary
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US management consultant and academic. After teaching at the London Business School for ten years from 1983, he moved back to California to found Strategos, an international consulting firm specializing in strategy. Hamel has challenged traditional strategic thinking, believing that management is too narrow in its outlook. He argues that a company should become the ‘architect of industry transformation not simply of corporate transformation’ and that constant innovation and change are crucial to survival.

Hamel is the best-selling co-author (with Indian-born professor of management C K Prahalad) of Competing for the Future: Breakthrough Strategies for Seizing Control of Your Industry and Creating the Markets of Tomorrow (1994). Hamel and Prahalad's concept of the core competences of a company has established a firm foothold in business strategy. In Leading the Revolution (2000), Hamel says that although technology can play a role, it is innovation in the way it is applied that will determine the real winners in the corporate world.

Hamel received a BSc from Andrews University in Michigan and an MBA from the University of Michigan. After working as a hospital administrator, he was awarded a PhD in international business, also from Michigan, in 1977. There he met Prahalad, who was a newly appointed associate professor of strategy.

Hamel and Prahalad collaborated on a series of influential articles for the Harvard Business Review, including ‘Strategic Intent’ and ‘The Core Competence of the Corporation’, both published in 1989. They argued that the ‘core competences’ or ‘collective learning’ are skills or technologies that give a company its competitive advantage: they are perceived to result in added value by the customer; they allow the company to move into new markets; and they are hard for competitors to imitate.

Described by The Economist as the ‘world's reigning strategy guru’, Hamel is chair of Strategos, whose clients include Shell, General Motors and Nokia. He is a Thomas S Murphy Distinguished Research Fellow at Harvard University Graduate School of Business, a visiting professor of strategic and international management at the London Business School, a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, and a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society.

Competing for the Future was US magazine Business Week's management book of the year in 1995. His most recent book, The Future of Management, was published in 2007. He has continued to contribute articles to the Harvard Business Review and has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, The Financial Times, and many other business publications around the world.


Hamel, Gary

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