L. Rajarajeswari
Asst. Professor
Department of Business Administration
Arul Anandar College
Karumathur-625514, Madurai District


The word competency is derived from Latin words "competere" which means to be suitable. The competency concept was originally developed in psychology denoting individual's ability to respond to demand placed on them by their environment. Ulrich defined competency as knowledge, skill or ability of employees relevant for organizational performance.

Competence management is becoming increasingly important in today's dynamic context since it is becoming the only competitive advantages the organization actually has which cannot be complicated easily by the competitor. Competence management will have various aspects under it like competence profiling and finding what the company is good at, building that is building new competence to match the market demands, recruitment based on competences etc.

Competency mapping is processes of identify key competencies for an organization and a job and incorporating those competencies throughout the various process (evaluation, training, recruitment) of the organization.

Competency mapping play a significant role in recruiting and retaining people as it gives a more accurate analysis of the job requirements, the candidates capability of the difference between the two, and the development and training needs to bridge the gaps.

Competencies enable individuals to identify and articulate what they offer regardless of the job they happen to have at the time so that the organization can see value and utilize what capability is actually available.


Competency is the vital behavioral skills, knowledge and personal attributes that are translations of organizational capabilities and are deemed essential for success. They distinguish exemplary performers from adequate performers.

In that regard, competencies offer a highly descriptive means of discussing job performance. They go beyond traditional job descriptions because they focus on how employees perform their jobs, not simply on what they do. While job descriptions detail specific tasks, competencies encompass the tangible and intangible abilities employees possess.  For instance, a necessary competency for a marketing professional might be the ability to perform detailed market analysis while another competency might be leadership qualities, as evidenced through the ability to build consensus.

UNIDO (2002) - A Competency is a set of skills, related knowledge and attributes that allow an individual to successfully perform a task or an activity within a specific function or job.

Albanese (1989) - Competencies are personal characteristics that contribute to effective managerial performance.

Dubois (1993), - A leading expert in the applied competency field, defines competence as "the employee's capacity to meet (or exceed) a job's requirements by producing the job outputs at an expected level of quality within the constraints of the organization's internal and external environments


To know the levels of competency such as:

1. Practical competency: An employee's demonstrated ability to perform a set of tasks.

2.  Foundational competence: An employee's demonstrated understanding of what and why he/she is doing.

3. Reflexive competence: An employee's ability to integrate actions with the understanding of the action so he/she learns from those actions and adapts to the changes as and when they are required.

4. Applied competence: An employee's an employee's demonstrated ability to perform a set of tasks with understanding and reflexivity.


  • Effectively match individual competencies to position, project team and job requirements
  • Prioritize competencies by job, project, or position, and track individual's  abilities to fulfill requirements
  • Integrate training and administration applications to focus training efforts
  • Run gap and match analysis between individuals , jobs , teams and positions
  • Increase skill set to meet your organization scope and growth
  • Increase their ability to attract, develop, retain and utilize co-workers
  • Lengthen the time that staff stay with a company by allowing staff member to discover individual career paths within the company
  • Increase capacity by achieving a more holistic view of the accumulated competence of the entire organization
  • Achieve access to appropriate competence at the right time and place
  • Establish an overview of the accumulated resources of the organization and the demand for the resources.
  • Find candidates with the right profile, from anywhere in the organization, to fill an unexpected vacancy
  • Identify key positions for which you have no candidates
  • Reconcile the aspiration of your key people with the opportunities available
  • Check how closely your development activities are aligned with the needs of your business
  • Ensure you are building the appropriate talent pool to support your future needs
  • Make hiring  #1 terms of focus, priorities, and action
  • Align corporate objectives and strategies to each person in the company.

    Broadly the area of business and people competence management can be divided into three main subdivisions:

    1. Resource and capacity tracking and planning:

    This is more on the operational front. Various projects required different skill sets depending on the criticality of the project, the client importance and so on. Competence management has to consider the project modalities and accordingly allocate the resource so that the overall optimization of the people competencies can take place.

    2. Defining the competencies requires for particular jobs:

    Until now, the HR department used to define only the skills required for a Particular job. But as we now know, what we actually require goes beyond the just technical or soft skills requirements. We need a combination of Intelligence, education, Experience, Ethics, Interest. Hence a re-look is requires at the existing job profiles to take into consideration the other parameters like interests and ethics, which were so far ignored.

    3. Rating the performance of individual employee skills:

    A person might be comfortable with say java language but might not be excellent at it. So the level of skill competence needs to be measured and recorded. Prepare a skill profile containing the core skills for their job and add appropriate historical and specialty skills. This is followed by a self – assessment against a skills glossaries describing skills on a scale from 1(training or light experience) to 5 (industry expert; strategic skill leadership). Ability for the assigned manager, supervisor or coach to assess the person's skills separately also needs to be done.

    3. Manage skills inventories as well as management and technical competencies:

    Once the above steps are complete the system should have some way of maintaining the database of this information. This will help in the having the required information at the fingertips of the HR department.

    4. Candidate searches to find the right people for the right assignment:

    A competence management system needs to be able map the right people to the right job. For this above steps prove very useful. We need to know what the job entails and what the capabilities of the people working for us are. The database enables us to match the profile perfectly.

    5. Organizational and unit skills Gap Analysis to determine recruitment needs:

    The organization may be working on a project for which it does not have the requisite skills within the company, so they may have to hire from outside or maybe even recruit. A competence management system should be able to understand this need and help plan how the interview should be carried out and what competencies in a desired candidate.

    Interactive career Development and Training:

    This is looking the future, but at the individual level. Competence management also has to look into the aspiration of each individual and asses him/her to find out what competencies will he require to advance to the next set of hierarchies, what additional train would he requires, is he fit promotion etc. the elements of this division are:

    1. Compare skills to other job titles to see what a person has to improve:

    The database of job profile will help the individual to assess where he needs to improve; what competencies are required for the next level. This will also motivate him top learn newer skills by himself and nominate himself for additional training needs. The competence management system needs to be open enough to be able to allow the employees to understand what is expected of them for being promoted.

    2. Development plan summaries showing all of the skills people need to work on:

    This provides a measurable rationale for training budgets and a mean to identify people to attend course openings. Here we need to also provide individuals with the ability to view and enroll in training and development activities, etc. this will help individuals to be able to plan their work accordingly. The schedules for training dates and prerequisites need to be displayed so as to allow the individual to take cognizance of the same.

    3. Predict Training Demand:

    The above step will help the HR department to calculate the training staff required based on the summation of individuals plans, which have come in.

    4. Identify individuals who are eligible to be considered for promotion:

    A good competence management system has to be able to determine which competencies need to be promoted and who has them so that the overall competence level of the organization can grow. Also on the other hand, we also need to know potential replacements for an unexpected vacancy are so that planning can be done accordingly.

    5. Succession planning:

    The competencies required for the top management should be completed in the job profiling, but further who should be groomed; what competencies will be needed and hoe to develop the same would require a good system.

    Strategic Competence Development:

    This area is looking at the future, but at a more macro level. Competence management also has to look beyond today and at the changing face of tomorrow's market to identify the skills required for tomorrow. It has a more strategic outlook and is looking at the strategic position of the organization in the future.

    The elements of this division are:

    1. Providing an overview of the total competence in the organization.
    2. Integrating competence development with business strategies.
    3. Identifying shortfalls and surpluses in competence in addition to revealing unexploited resources.
    4. Assess trends and developments in competency levels overtime.
    5. Giving support to strategic business and personnel planning.
    6. Unleashing the company's intellectual capital.
    7. Helping the company to attract, develop and retain co-workers.


    The movement was originally propelled by dissatisfaction among researchers about the value of personality traits tests in predicting job performance. For instance, Ghiselli (1966) and Mischel (1968) found that testable personality traits have little correlations with job performance, and consequently research on these variables was of questionable value.

    Simultaneously, an increasing number of studies were published which showed that traditional academic aptitude and knowledge content test, as well as school grades and credentials did not predict job performance; and were often biased against women and persons from lower socioeconomic strata.

    These findings led McClelland (1973) to conduct research in order to identify "competency" variables which
    did predict job performance and which were not biased by sex or socioeconomic factors.


    Use of criterion sample: compare people who are clearly successful in jobs with less successful persons to identify those characteristics with success

    Identification of operant thoughts (knowledge) and behaviors causally related to these successful outcomes. That is, competency measures should involve open-ended situations in which individual has to generate behavior.


    There are four   major components of competency:

    1. Skill: capabilities acquired through practice. It can be a financial skill such as budgeting, or a verbal skill such as making a presentation.

    2. Knowledge: understanding acquired through learning. This refers to a body of information relevant to job performance. It is what people have to know to be able to perform a job, such as knowledge of policies and procedures for a recruitment process.

    3. Personal attributes: inherent characteristics which are brought to the job, representing the essential foundation upon which knowledge and skill can be developed.

    4. Behavior: The observable demonstration of some competency, skill, knowledge and personal attributes. It is an essentially definitive expression of a competency in that it is a set of action that, presumably, can be observed, taught, learned, and measured.



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    Source: E-mail December 17, 2010


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