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Hr Competancies - Boyzatis (1982)

Essay by   •  August 1, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,153 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,646 Views

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Competencies were famously defined by Boyzatis (1982) as an underlying characteristic of a person which results in effective superior performance in a job. It describes behaviours or attributes that organizations want their employees to have on the assumption that it will generate results or superior performance in the job. Core competencies are the characteristics that organizations want everyone to exhibit, as they believe they are appropriate for all jobs levels and functions. Core competencies of an organization make a significant contribution to 'customer'- perceived value and 'customer' benefits and can give the firm a competitive advantage.

Human Resource (HR) professionals drew a distinction between competency(ies) and competence(s). Competency is more accurately defined as the behaviours that employees must have, or must acquire, to input into a situation in order to achieve high levels of performance. Competence on the other hand, refers to a system of minimum standards or is demonstrated by performance and outputs. 'Competency' is considered the American approach and 'competence', the British approach.

A competency framework is both a list of competencies but also a tool by which competencies are expressed, assessed and measured (Strebler et al., 1997). It describes the how in terms of sets of behaviours, from poor or negative to excellent or positive behaviours. Originally competency frameworks consisted mainly of behavioural elements. Increasingly however, competency frameworks have become broader and more ambitious in scope and include more technical competencies. Employers value this framework because it can be seen as a vehicle for organizational performance by focusing on an individual's capabilities and potential. According to a survey done by Wustemann (1999), the top two reasons for a competency-based approach were: -

* it will improve individual performance

* support corporate values and objectives.

There are a few a major problems when attempting to develop a competency framework. The competencies that are listed in the framework should be reflective of what is required by the organization. When developing the framework, incorporating all necessary competencies can prove to be a challenge. Proper information must be gathered on the firms operations and desires in order to know what competencies would be needed or required in the workforce.

According to Pilbeam and Corbridge, in the civil service there is a competency framework which covers only senior civil service and hundreds of specific frameworks for lower level staff. For one organization, the development of a framework may prove difficult. A framework would be needed to suit the organization to integrate all levels of staff.

Some competencies are also difficult to measure hence when constructing the framework one must know what to include and what to exclude. If these competencies are included, how does the organization measure if an employee has it or to what extent? These competencies are usually defined by the "softer" attributes. According to the technique used by the firm, a framework can be timely and costly to construct.

Competency frameworks can be developed in a number of ways. The company first needs to define competency requirements for tasks and roles, then place them into "families" and "levels". Job families refer to groups of jobs where the competencies are common irrespective of the location of the job within the firm. Levels relate to the hierarchical position of jobs and roles. Organizations previously used mechanistic ways to assess jobs by breaking them down into various aspects such as activities, processes, responsibilities, scope, identification of skills, and experience or qualifications needed for the job. Presently, job profiling emphasizes a more future oriented approach by including people skills that are harder to observe and measure. A competency approach is people-based rather than job-based.

It is possible to draw on the competency lists produced in support of occupational

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