Competency Mapping

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The New Wave in Competency Mapping -
Process-Based Knowledge Mapping

The reason why most people miss the opportunity when it comes knocking is because it usually comes dressed in overalls, disguised as hard work.
-Thomas Edison

Abstract

Throughout the years competency-based management approaches have proved to be a critical tool in human resource management, vocational training and performance management. As a result competency-based approaches are often adopted as the key paradigm in both formal and informal educational and training programs. HR management practitioners are expected to be experts on leveraging human talent within their organizations for the purpose of achieving competitive advantage. They must demonstrate new sensitivity to the full range of human capabilities (including emotional intelligence), align HR efforts with strategic objectives, and integrate various HR activities so that people are consistently encouraged to achieve desired results. To this end, there exist a number of open issues such as: how can we model competencies; how can we assess competencies; how can we develop training resources and training activities that target specific competencies. The scope of this paper is to contribute to this field by addressing the issue of Process-Based Knowledge Mapping.

The Imperative for Change
Human resource (HR) management is undergoing a major transformation in today's organizations. Once upon a time—and not all that long ago—HR management practitioners were expected to be the traffic cops of their organizations. It was their responsibility to note legal noncompliance or departures from organizational policies and then punish transgressors, just as traffic cops watch for and issue tickets to drivers who exceed speed limits. As a direct consequence of this compliance orientation, some HR management practitioners became risk averse—and some remain so to this day. They oppose innovative actions taken to leverage the talents of organizational members for the simple reason that treading on new ground means taking new risks, which could possibly cause deviations from external legal requirements or internal policy standards. The new role of HR management demands an outlook that differs considerably from the compliance mind-set. HR management practitioners are expected to be experts on leveraging human talent within their organizations for the purpose of achieving competitive advantage. They must demonstrate new sensitivity to the full range of human capabilities (including emotional intelligence), align HR efforts with strategic objectives, and integrate various HR activities so that people are consistently encouraged to achieve desired results. For many practitioners, traditional writings on HR management do more to stand in the way of progress than to facilitate it. One reason is that traditional college textbooks on the field continue to define "jobs," "job descriptions," and "work analysis" as making up the foundation for most HR efforts where “jobs are dead". Traditional textbooks on HR management, although important because they build expectations among HR professionals about the nature of their role, do not address the critical importance of individual differences, which create exemplary performers, who may be many times more productive than others with the same job titles, education, and experience. And yet the importance of individual characteristics, or competencies, is well known to CEOs, operating managers, and others. Recognizing critical differences in individual productivity implies that more work might be done by fewer people, or that better work might be done by the same number of people. Of course, that can only happen if HR practitioners become savvier about finding the best-in-class performers, discover what makes them different from their fully successful counterparts, and reorient HR toward recruiting, selecting, training, developing, rewarding, appraising,...
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