There are various definitions given for the term competency. Combining the basic ideas embedded in all definitions, competency can be defined as:
“ A combination of knowledge, skills, attitude and personality of an individual as applied to a role or job in the context of the present and future environment, that accounts for sustained success within the framework of Organizational Values.”
Sometimes competencies are also defined as “ cluster of successful behaviors.”
FIVE TYPES OF COMPETENCY CHARACTERISTICS:
1. Motives: the things a person consistently thinks about or wants that cause action. Motives “ drive, direct, and select” behavior toward certain actions or goals and away from others.
E.g. Achievement-motivated people consistently set challenging goals for themselves and use feedback to do better.
2. Traits: physical characteristics and consistent response to situation or information.
E.g. reaction time and good eyesight are physical trait competencies of combat pilots.
3. Self-concept: A person’s attitude, values, or self-image.
E.g. Self-confidence, a person’s belief that he can be effective in any situation is a part of that person’s concept of self.
4. Knowledge: Information a person has in specific content areas
E.g. A surgeon’s knowledge of nerves and muscles in the human body.
Skill: The ability to perform a certain physical or mental task.
E.g. A dentist’s physical skill to fill a tooth without damaging the nerve.
The type or level of a competency has practical implications for human resource planning. Knowledge and skills tend to be visible and relatively surface, characteristics of people. But attitude, trait and motive competencies are more hidden “deeper” and central to personality. Surface knowledge and skills are relatively easy to develop. But core motive and trait competencies are at the base of the personality iceberg and are more difficult to assess and develop as shown in the figure