Meaning of competence and competencies
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Meaning of Competence and Competencies. Terms pervade much of HRM literature Terms are often used confusingly Competence – ability to carry out a specific task Competency – refers to behaviour. Government Initiatives. Investors in people Sector Skills Councils (SSCs)

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Meaning of Competence and Competencies

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Meaning of competence and competencies

Meaning of Competence and Competencies

  • Terms pervade much of HRM literature

  • Terms are often used confusingly

  • Competence – ability to carry out a specific task

  • Competency – refers to behaviour


Government initiatives

Government Initiatives

  • Investors in people

  • Sector Skills Councils (SSCs)

  • Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs)


Competence movement

Competence Movement

  • Tension between what a trainee knows and what they can do after training

  • Knowledge rather than practical skills carries status

  • Government policy around schools – heightened emphasis on practical vocational skills


Meaning of competence and competencies

NVQs

  • Bringing together a range of vocational qualifications

  • Developed for all occupational areas

  • Five levels – basic to more complex


Training for competence

Training for Competence

  • Criterion related

  • Developing ability of trainees to perform tasks related to job

  • Expressed in terms of performance outcomes and specific indicators


Nvq standards

NVQ Standards

Divided into job roles

Key roles then subdivided into units of competence

Then subdivision into elements of competence with attached performance criteria and range statements


Example level three management standards

Example – Level Three Management Standards

Table 17.1  Level three management standards


Principles of competencies leading to national qualifications 1 of 2

Principles of Competencies Leading to National Qualifications (1 of 2)

  • Open access

  • Focus on what people can do

  • Qualification same wherever training takes place

  • Feature performance standards as basis of assessment

  • Flexibility and modularisation

  • Accreditation of prior experience and learning


Principles of competencies leading to national qualifications 2 of 2

Principles of Competencies Leading to National Qualifications (2 of 2)

  • Establishment of learning contract

  • Flexibility in assessment achieved by the portfolio principle

  • Continuous development

  • Standards determined by designated lead bodies

  • Assessment

  • GNVQs


Problematic aspects of nvqs 1 of 2

Problematic Aspects of NVQs (1 of 2)

  • Assessment process can be laborious

  • A lot of terminology around NVQs

  • Generality of standards leads employers to modify for own use

  • Difficult to measure satisfactory quality of assessment

  • Standards are reductionist

  • Functional approach can be narrow


Problematic aspects of nvqs 2 of 2

Problematic Aspects of NVQs (2 of 2)

  • Early management standards gave incomplete representation of management

  • Lack of attention to learning and cognitive processes

  • May not stimulate further development

  • Some resistance to idea that educators are not competent to set the training agenda


Characteristics of behavioural competencies

Characteristics of Behavioural Competencies

  • Trait

  • Motive

  • Skill

  • Self image

  • Social role


Threshold competencies 1 of 2

Threshold Competencies (1 of 2)

Table 17.2  The seven threshold competencies identified by Richard Boyatzis

Source: R. Boyatzis (1982) The Competent Manager. New York: John Wiley.


Threshold competencies 2 of 2

Threshold Competencies (2 of 2)

Table 17.2  The seven threshold competencies identified by Richard Boyatzis

Source: R. Boyatzis (1982) The Competent Manager. New York: John Wiley.


Clusters of management competencies

Clusters of Management Competencies

  • Goal and action

  • Leadership

  • Human resourcing

  • Focus on others

  • Directing subordinates

    (Boyatzis, 1982)


Goal action cluster

Goal & Action Cluster

  • Concern with impact

  • Diagnostic use of concepts

  • Efficiency orientation

  • Proactivity

    (Boyatzis, 1982)


Leadership cluster

Leadership Cluster

  • Conceptualisation

  • Self confidence

  • Oral presentations

    (Boyatzis, 1982)


Human resource management cluster

Human Resource Management Cluster

  • Use of socialised power

  • Managing group processes

    (Boyatzis, 1982)


Focus on others cluster

Focus on Others Cluster

  • Perceptual objectivity

  • Self control

  • Stamina and adaptability

    (Boyatzis, 1982)


Directing subordinates cluster

Directing Subordinates Cluster

  • Developing others

  • Spontaneity

  • Use of unilateral power

    (Boyatzis, 1982)


Typical content of a competency framework

Typical Content of a Competency Framework

Figure 17.1 Typical content of a competency framework (Source: This material is adapted from The Competencies Handbook by S. Whiddett and S. Hollyforde (1999), p. 14, with the permission of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD House, Camp Road, London, SW19 4UX.)


Advantages of behavioural competencies

Advantages of Behavioural Competencies

  • Way of expressing what is valued by an organisation

  • Provide a critical mechanism for integrating HR practices to strategic approach to HR

  • Competency framework can be used across HR practices

  • Employees can be given a consistent message about what is valued and expected


Problematic aspects of behavioural competencies

Problematic Aspects of Behavioural Competencies

  • Complex research processes required

  • Due to research process competencies will be backward looking

  • May not include every aspect critical to superior performance

  • A wider perspective needs to be taken

  • People’s behaviour may not always be consistent


Summary

Summary

  • IIP, SSCs and LSCs encourage the competence movement and NVQs

  • Competence is concerned with job standards and output

  • Competency refers to behaviour or input

  • Main vehicle for learning to achieve competence is NVQs

  • NVQs continually criticised


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