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What is Competency and Competency Framework?


Post no.1

Competency is described as a person’s attributes and actions that reflect ability to conduct given tasks in an exceptional way (Boyatzis, 1982 cited in Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010:62). It is difficult though for managers to simply point out one’s competency level. Example, competency can be divided into two categories; one dealing with “behavior” and the other with one’s performance “ability”. Organizations therefore need a ‘weighing scale’ to associate one’s competency level. The measure used in this case is known as a competency framework (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010:63). By effectively using this tool, an organization portrays clarity since the staff is aware of what is expected and the management is attentive to the key aspects that promote performance triumph (Sutton and Watson, 2013).


Competencies are one of the key ingredients to an organization’s competitive advantage because they are unique to a particular organization. A competency framework helps management to establish the fundamental competencies required to increase performance, apply them as part of the business strategy and also identify individual staff competencies. Additionally, these tools are designed to suit any type of business thus giving room for flexibility. This further aids in shaping the organization’s path (Cardy and Selvarajan, 2006).

Similarly, competency frameworks are used as a basis for Human Resource practices, which range from choosing potential candidates to employ, interviewing and hiring them; monitoring their performance; identifying which areas are lacking and conducting training; job appraisal and staff rewards (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010:81-83). 


Based on the above, competency frameworks are a necessity but unfortunately, there are numerous challenges associated to the construction of these measures, such as those presented below;

One of the major issues linked to constructing such frameworks is an organization’s lack of proper structure and strategy. Pilbeam and Corbridge (2010:71), mention that an organization can have different kinds of models but the key aspect is to have a tool that reflects what is essential and how to achieve it. Not all organizations are well structured and organized. Some have unclear strategy and lack a sense of direction. An example of such is where the management’s actions conflict with the organizations objectives.

Secondly, is the cost and intricacy involved in the actual construction. Organizations need expertise in developing these tools because of the techniques used and resources need. Some find the process very costly, time consuming and complicated to follow (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010:76).

Despite the advantage of these frameworks being custom-made to fit each setting, it still becomes difficult to get it right in terms of exact measures to include and how to explicitly analyze whether the framework is followed or not. Organizations at times may need to improvise additional methods, such as technology to ensure accurate valuation of the process (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010:76).

Lastly, is the issue of change. With the rapidly and constantly changing business environment, competency frameworks need to be flexible enough to move with the times. However, this is may not be the case; they have been criticized for being rigid and could be obsolete faster than they can be adjusted or changed (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010:85).

Advantages of Competency Frameworks


With all the positives these frameworks have to offer, they are still not used as regularly as they should, especially in some developing countries. This is mainly due to the issues mentioned above coupled with the fact that some organizations simply do not follow protocol and will run the business in any manner deemed fit. This is manifested through nepotism, corruption, affordable labor force, et cetra. In such situations, competencies are clearly not a priority and thus lack measuring tools.


A competency framework is advantageous to a business because it provides a map of where the company wants to be and how to get there. It also promotes personal development and can be used as a general guideline within the Industry, locally and internationally (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010:85). It is therefore important that all businesses incooperate such frameworks so as to maximize their potential in achieving the desired success factor.

Post no.2

Throughout this week, it is interesting to realize the distinction and connection between peoples’ competency and the job competencies within the organization. We can relate competency to the behaviors and performance capabilities (including the knowledge and skills within employees’) while competencies refer to the skills sets and experience required for effective performance for a job (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010). As we go further into understanding HRM resourcing, we already understand that value is added through human capital, as the HRM strategist evaluates the competences required to add value, and working on the continuous development of the human capacity to build competitive advantage and ensure effective performance (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010).

“Some leaders might have possessed certain traits but the absence of them did not necessarily mean that the person was not a leader (Mindtools, 2015).” Since every individuals have distinct behaviors, different attitudes and behaviors and most importantly as we go deeper into a globalized world, setting one right competency framework will be complex and biased to matching one competency as there can be more than one accurate competency for grouping with the job competencies (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010). The competency framework defines the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed but is unable to realize other skills that may be required to the changing environment and long-term success of the organization. If the people who are involved in the development of the competency framework are unable to answer all the questions to what competences would and would not be valuable for effective work performance, then it is important to gain further input even from employees to ensure the correct implementation of the framework (Mindtools, 2015). Thus without the correct construction and implementation of the competency frame work and linking it to the competencies required to deliver value and effective job performance, the entire H.R strategy would fail to succeed.

The more data collected for building the competence framework, the more flexible and straight forward the frame work can initially be and will facilitate the competences with the job competencies. It will also enable HR professionals to better measure work performance and ensure that competences still meet with the job competencies and still adding value to gain competitive advantage (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2010).  How ever various perspectives can share different quality aspects perspectives that would have different influence on peoples’ development. A great challenge then is translating the competences and grouping it with job competencies. If the construction of the competency framework is not accurate, that means the initiative to align the H.R strategy with business strategy will get more complicated and will complicate all HR practices.

Challenges of Competency Frameworks

 Regardless what competencies are required for being an effective performer, job competencies should not continuously dictate how people should perform, but sometimes must construct the job competencies to suit the competences that can best perform the job and build value for the organization, thus the job competencies can be innovated and re-orderd by the employees who fit best practice and keep the organization goal in mind. In that matter, constructed frameworks will slow down development process and be outdated if not continuously analyzed and updated to ensure that competences still fulfill the competencies and add value for the organization (Bolden, R., Gosling, J., Marturano, A. and Dennison, P. 2003).

Creating and developing a competency framework is indeed a great way to asses, understand, and evaluate individual’s knowledge and skills within the organization. Having a simple

Straightforward flexible framework is essential to facilitate the organizational culture and work structure and adapt to the best reward practices to maximize efficiency and motivate employees. Finally the competency framework will ensure that employees carry the skills and knowledge required to add value and enable employees reach their full potential thus facilitating them to understand the training needs for every employee.

Post no.3

In this current state, businesses may not need to depend or look at culture as the major factor in relation to their proceedings or performance. That is to say international businesses may not base on culture in order to start business. This is because people have different cultures reason being that they come from different societies. For example in the Muslim community, it would be very hard to sell pork as a way of raising income. However because of modernization, one would carry out the business because the major goal of the business formation is profit maximization but not cultural formation.

Cross-cultural competence

Cross-cultural competence can be defined as cultural awareness of one’s self or the other party, that is to say, the norms, believes, ways of behavior or practices that emerge among different societies of business and understanding the implications that may arise from enforcing judgments based on assumptions in regard to cultural differences (Goodman, 2012). For example in Uganda, the majority population is Christian, and because of this, some businesses are highly prohibited for example sports betting is perceived as gambling and evil since it is a business that is biblically condemned. However, it has its advantage in that it provides jobs for the people and helps to reduce the pressure on government because it is an obligation for the government to provide jobs for the people (Goodman, 2012). Meanwhile, the business was later enforced with high level of cultural consciousness, that is to say, whoever carries out business of sports betting is required to open after mid-day as enforced by the law because Uganda’s major source of income is agriculture and people are expected to work early morning to be able to raise the money for sports betting.

The following are the challenges that may arise when attempting to introduce cultural intelligence into the workforce:

Adaptability of Competency Frameworks

Difference in negotiation style: This results from the fact that each person or staff, may need to promote his / her culture for example a shareholder with high level of shares over others may insist to promote his culture knowing that others may abide  because of his influence. In addition, the communication style should basically be considerate of the cultural consciousness since different cultures have different believes (Magala, 2005).

Communication style:  Some cultures may endure criticism and others may not.  For example, if the small scale company wants to emerge with the bigger one, it will have to bare and agree with the terms and conditions for the merge (Moule, 2012).

Difference in perception and decision making:  Different cultures perceive things differently  for example some are profit oriented  and others are friendship oriented ,  in addition, some cultures may look at maximum use of capital intensive labor as the best way of improving productivity while others may look at labor intensive as the best since it  sustains jobs in the market. On the other hand, if principles of cultural competence are not considered in business planning, organisations may face challenges in line to competitive advantage since different workers come from diverse societies (Magala, 2005).

With respect to the given post about competencies and its utility in the current business environment, it has been rightly stated that that organizations can obtain the optimum productivity only if their members possess certain level of competencies. It is widely used in the human resource practices as these measure the competitive advantages of the employees in a way (Firescu, 2014). The post provides a clear picture about the advantages and disadvantages of the competencies within an organization. The conclusion drawn is a perfect fit to the concept of competencies.

The second post reflects upon the concept of competencies elaborately including that of its utility within the organizational context. The post provides details in favor of the construction of the competency framework and how this is crucial in the accuracy of implementing strategies in human resource practices (Iranshahi, Ghasemi and Noori Motlagh, 2013). It has been rightly stated that with an effective construction of a competency framework, it becomes easier to assess, understand, and evaluate the knowledge and skills of employees. The post highlights effectively upon need for such a measure within organizational context.

Post 3:

The third post highlights upon the cross-cultural competencies, and these may be utilized to gain the positive outcome. It is widely used in the human resource practices as these measure the competitive advantages of the employees in a way (van Driel and Gabrenya, 2012). The post provides some of the challenges which may arise on attempting introducing the concept of cross-cultural competencies. These challenges need to be addressed significantly to attain the benefits of the highlighted concept of cross-cultural competencies.


Firescu, V. (2014). Research Regarding the Optimization of Work Relationships within Supply Chain by Defining and Evaluating Job Competencies. AMM, 555, pp.805-810.

Iranshahi, M., Ghasemi, M. and Noori Motlagh, A. (2013). A study on relationship between female employees’ organizational citizenship behavior and job satisfaction within organization.10.5267/j.msl, pp.2483-2488.

van Driel, M. and Gabrenya, W. (2012). Organizational Cross-Cultural Competence: Approaches to Measurement. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(6), pp.874-899.

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