Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The essence of the competence concept: Adopting an organization's sustained competitive advantage viewpoint

  • Hai Ming Chen (a1) and Wen Yen Chang (a1)

Abstract

Previous scholars considered competence a ‘fuzzy concept’ and addressed confusions such as ‘competency vs. competence’ and ‘competence vs. core competence’. However, the issue ‘What is the essence of employee competence?’ remains unclear. By inference, the essence of competence is addressed in adoption of an organization's sustained competitive advantage viewpoint different from the traditional viewpoint of enhancing individual employability. This paper contends that employee competence is strategically driven by organizational core competence. Psychologically, employee competence and organizational core competence are similar and linked in terms of person–organization fit and person–job fit. A contextual competence framework is established enlightening the essence of employee competence and redefines competence as a ‘temporary asset’ rooted in the interactively organizational context. Contextual variables including shared values, mutual trust and mutual investment bolster the alignment between employee competence and organizational core competence and develop employee competence as firm-specific, thus becoming a source for sustained organizational competitive advantage.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Argyris, C. (1998). Empowerment: The emperor’s new clothes. Harvard Business Review, 76(3), 98105.
Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99120.
Bergenhenegouwen, G. J., Horn, H. F. K., & Mooijman, E. A. M. (1996). Competence development–A challenge for HRM professionals: Core competences of organizations as guidelines for the development of employees. Journal of European Industrial Training, 20(9), 2935.
Blumberg, M., & Pringle, C. D. (1982). The missing opportunity in organizational research: Some implications for a theory of work performance. Academy of Management Review, 7(4), 560569.
Bowen, D. E., Ledford, G. E. J., & Nathan, B. R. (1991). Hiring for the organization not the job. Academy of Management Executive, 54, 3551.
Boyatzis, R. E. (1982). The competent manager: A model for effective performance. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Brown, R. B. (1993). Meta-competence: A recipe for reframing the competence debate. Personnel Review, 22(6), 2536.
Brown, R. B. (1994). Reframing the competency debate: Management knowledge and metacompetence in graduate education. Management Learning, 25(2), 289299.
Burgoyne, J. (1989). Creating the managerial portfolio: Building on competency approaches management development. Management Education and Development, 20(1), 5661.
Canning, R. (1990). The quest for competence. Industrial and Commercial Training, 122(5), 1216.
Capaldo, G., Iandoli, L., & Zollo, G. (2006). A situationalist perspective: To competency management. Human Resource Management, 45(3), 429448.
Cappelli, P., & Crocker-Hefter, A. (1996). Distinctive human resources are firm's core competencies. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 722.
Cardy, R. L., & Selvarajan, T. T. (2006). Competencies: Alternative frameworks for competitive advantage. Business Horizons, 49, 235245.
Cheng, M. I., Dainty, A. R. J., & Moore, D. R. (2003). The differing faces of managerial competency in Britain and America. Journal of Management Development, 22(6), 527537.
Cheng, M. I., Dainty, A. R. J., & Moore, D. R. (2005). Towards a multidimensional competency-based managerial performance framework: A hybrid approach. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 20(5), 380396.
Clardy, A. (2008). Human resource development and the resource-based model of core competencies: Methods for diagnosis and assessment. Human Resource Development Review, 7(4), 387407.
Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95S120.
Collis, D. J. (1994). Research note: How valuable are organizational capabilities? Strategic Management Journal, 15, 143152.
Defillipi, R. J., & Arthur, M. B. (1994). The boundaryless career: A competency-based perspective. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15, 307324.
Delamare Le Diest, F., & Winterton, J. (2005). What is competence? Human Resource Development International, 8(1), 2746.
Dimmock, K., Breen, H., & Walo, M. (2003). Management competencies: An Australian assessment of tourism and hospitality students. Journal of Management and Organization, 9(1), 1226.
Drejer, A. (2002). Strategic management and core competencies: Theory and application. London: Quorum Books.
Dubois, D. D. (1993). Competency-based performance improvement: A strategy for organizational change. Amherst, MA: HRD Press.
Dubois, D. D., & Rothwell, W. J. (2004). Competency-based human resource management. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black.
Dutton, J. E., & Dukerich, J. M. (1991). Keeping an eye on the mirror: The role of image and identity in organizational adaptation. Academy of Management Journal, 34, 517554.
Dutton, J. E., Dukerich, J. M., & Harquail, C. V. (1994). Organizational images and member identification. Administrative Science Quarterly, 39, 239263.
Elkin, G. (1990). Competency-based human resource development. Industrial and Commercial Training, 22(4), 2025.
Ergeneli, A., Ar1, G. S., & Metin, S. (2007). Psychological empowerment and its relationship to trust in immediate managers. Journal of Business Research, 60, 4149.
Fiol, C. M. (1991). Managing culture as a competitive resource: An identity-based view of sustainable competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 191211.
Fleury, M. T. L., & Fleury, A. C. C. (2005). In search of competence: Aligning strategy and competences in the telecommunications industry. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(9), 16401655.
Garavan, T. N., & McGuire, D. (2001). Competencies and workplace learning: Some reflections on the rhetoric and reality. Journal of Workplace Learning, 13(4), 144163.
Grzeda, M. M. (2005). In competence we trust? Addressing conceptual ambiguity. Journal of Management Development, 24(6), 530545.
Hafeez, K., & Abdelmeguid, H. (2003). Dynamics of human resource and knowledge management. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 54(12), 153164.
Håland, E., & Tjora, A. (2006). Between asset and process: Developing competence by implementing a learning management system. Human Relations, 59(7), 9931016.
Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (1989). Strategic intent. Harvard Business Review, 67(3), 6376.
Hamilton, R. D. I., Eskin, E. D., & Michaels, M. P. (1998). Assessing competitors: The gap between strategic intent and core capability. Long Range Planning, 31(3), 406417.
Hayes, J. (1979). A new look at managerial competence: The AMA model for worthy performance. Management Review, 59, 23.
Hayton, J. C., & Kelley, D. (2006). A competencybased framework for promoting corporate entrepreneurship. Human Resource Management, 45(3), 407427.
Hayton, J. C., & McEvoy, G. M. (2006). Competencies in practice: An interview with Hanneke C. Frese. Human Resource Management, 45(3), 495500.
Holmes, L., & Joyce, P. (1993). Rescuing the useful concept of managerial competence: From outcomes back to process. Personnel Review, 22(6), 3752.
Iles, P. A. (1993). Achieving strategic coherence in HRD through competence-based management and organization development. Personnel Review, 22(6), 6380.
Javidan, M. (1998). Core competence: What does it mean in practice? Long Range Planning, 31(1), 6071.
Jaw, B. S., & Liu, W. (2003). Promoting organizational learning and self-renewal in Taiwanese companies: The role of HRM. Human Resource Management, 42(3), 223241.
Jones, G. R. (2004). Organizational theory, design, and change: Text and cases. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Kennedy, P. W., & Dresser, S. G. (2005). Creating a competency-based workplace. Benefits & Compensation, 42(2), 1923.
Kiffin-Petersen, S. (2004). Trust: A neglected variable in team effectiveness research. Journal of Management and Organization, 10(1), 3853.
Kilcourse, T. (1994). Developing competent managers. Journal of European Industrial Training, 18(2), 1216.
Kochanski, J. (1997). Competency-based management. Training and Development, 51(10), 4044.
Kochanski, J., & Ruse, D. (1996). Designing a competence-based human resources organization. Human Resource Management, 35, 1934.
Kristof, A. L. (1996). Person-organization fit: An integrative review of its conceptualizations, measurement, and implications. Personnel Psychology, 49, 149.
Lahti, R. K. (1999). Identifying and integrating individual level and organizational level core competencies. Journal of Business and Psychology, 14(1), 5975.
Lawler, E. E. (1994). From job-based to competency-based organizations. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15, 315.
Lawler, E. E., & Ledford, G. E. (1992). A skillbased approach to human resource management. European Management Journal, 10(4), 383391.
Lei, D., Hitt, M. A., & Bettis, R. (1996). Dynamic core competences through meta-learning and strategic context. Journal of Management, 22(4), 549569.
Leonard-Barton, D. (1992). Core capabilities and core rigidities: A paradox in managing new product development. Strategic Management Journal, 13, 111125.
Leonard-Barton, D. (1995). Wellsprings of knowledge: Building and sustaining the sources of innovation. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Lepak, D. P., & Snell, S. A. (1999). The human resource architecture: Toward a theory of human capital allocation and development. Academy of Management Review, 24(1), 3148.
Lepak, D. P., & Snell, S. A. (2002). Examining the human resource architecture: The relationships among human capital, employment, and human resource configurations. Journal of Management, 28(4), 517543.
Lindgren, R., Henfridsson, O., & Schultze, U. (2004). Design principles for competence management systems: A synthesis of an action research study. MIS Quarterly, 28(3), 435472.
Lopez-Cabrales, A., Valle, R., & Herrero, I. (2006). The contribution of core employees to organizational capabilities and efficiency. Human Resource Management, 45(1), 81109.
Mansfield, R. S. (1996). Building competency models: Approaches for HR professionals. Human Resource Management, 35(1), 718.
Martin, G., & Staines, H. (1994). Managerial competences in small firms. Journal of Management Development, 13(7), 2334.
McAllister, D. J. (1995). Affect and cognitionbased trust as foundations for interpersonal cooperation in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 38(1), 2459.
McClelland, D. C. (1973). Testing for competence rather than for ‘intelligence’. American Psychologist, 28, 114.
McEvoy, G. M., Hayton, J. C., Warnick, A. P., Mumford, T. V., Hanks, S. H., & Blahna, J. M. (2005). A competency-based model for developing human resource professionals. Journal of Management education, 29(3), 383402.
Moore, D. R., Cheng, M. I., & Dainty, A. R. J. (2002). Competence, competency and competencies: Performance assessment in organizations. Work Study, 51(6), 314319.
Motowidlo, S. J., & Van Scotter, J. R. (1994). Evidence that task performance should be distinguished from contextual performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 475480.
Muchinsky, P. M., & Monahan, C. J. (1987). What is person-environment congruence? Supplementary versus complementary models of fit. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 31(3), 268277.
Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23(2), 242266.
Nordhaug, O. (1998). Competence specificities in organizations. International Studies of Management and Organization, 28(1), 829.
Norris, N. (1991). The trouble with competence. Cambridge Journal of Education, 21(3), 111.
Nybø, G. (2004). Personnel development for dissolving jobs: Towards a competency-based approach? International Journal of Human Resource Management, 15(3), 549564.
Post, H. A. (1997). Building a strategy on competences. Long Range Planning, 30(5), 733740.
Prahalad, C. K., & Hamel, G. (1990). The core competence of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68(3), 7991.
Reed, R., & DeFillippi, R. J. (1990). Causal ambiguity, barriers to imitation, and sustainable competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 15(1), 88102.
Rothwell, W. J., & Lindholm, J. E. (1999). Competency identification, modeling and assessment in the USA. International Journal of Training and Development, 3(2), 90105.
Rotter, J. B. (1967). A new scale for the measurement of interpersonal trust. Journal of Personality, 35(4), 651665.
Rowe, C. (1995a). Clarifying the use of competence and competency models in recruitment, assessment and staff development. Industrial and Commercial Training, 27(11), 1217.
Rowe, C. (1995b). Incorporating competence into the long-term evaluation of training and development. Industrial and Commercial Training, 27(2), 39.
Sandberg, J. (2000). Understanding human competence at work: An interpretative approach. Academy of Management Journal, 43(1), 917.
Schein, E. H. (1983). The role of the founder in creating cultures. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28, 414437.
Schermerhorn, J. J. R., Hunt, J. G., & Osborn, R. N. (1994). Managing organizational behavior. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40, 437453.
Shippmann, J. S., Ash, R. A., Battista, M., Carr, L., Eyde, L. D., & Hesketh B. (2000). The practice of competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 53, 703740.
Simpson, B. (2002). The knowledge needs of innovating organizations. Singapore Management Review, 24(3), 5160.
Smircich, L. (1983). Concepts of culture and organizational analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28(3), 339359.
Smith, T., & Sheridan, A. (2006). Organisational careers versus boundaryless careers: Insights from the accounting profession. Journal of Management and Organization, 12(3), 223234.
Spector, P. E. (2006). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Spencer, L. M., & Spencer, S. M. (1993). Competence at work: Models for superior performance. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Stuart, R., & Lindsay, P. (1997). Beyond the frame of management competenc(i)es: Towards a contextually embedded framework of managerial competence in organizations. Journal of European Industrial Training, 21(1), 2633.
Suseno, Y., & Ratten, V. (2007). A theoretical framework of alliance performance: The role of trust, social capital and knowledge development. Journal of Management and Organization, 13(1), 423.
Svyantek, D. J. (1999). Person–organization fit and contextual performance: Do shared values matter. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 55, 254275.
Tate, W. V. (1995). Developing managerial competence: A critical guide to methods and materials. Aldershot: Gower.
Thomas, K. W., & Velthouse, B. A. (1990). Cognitive elements of empowerment. Academy of Management Review, 15(4), 666681.
Tsui, A., & Wu, J. B. (2005). The new employment relationship versus the mutual investment approach: Implications for human resource management. Human Resource Management, 44(2), 115121.
Ulrich, D., & Lake, D. (1990). Organizational capability: Competing from the inside out. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Van der Heijde, C. M., & Van der Heijden, B. I. J. M. (2006). A competence-based and multidimensional operationalization and measurement of employability. Human Resource Management, 45(3), 449476.
Vroom, V. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Wallace, J., & Hunt, J. (1996). An analysis of managerial competencies across hierarchical levels and industry sectors: A contemporary Australian perspective. Journal of Management and Organization, 2(1), 3647.
Werbel, J. D., & DeMarie, S. M. (2005). Aligning strategic human resource management and person–environment fit. Human Resource Management Review, 15, 247262.
Wiener, Y. (1988). Forms of value systems: A focus on organizational effectiveness and cultural change and maintenance. Academy of Management Review, 13(4), 534545.
Winter, D. G. (1996). Personality: Analysis and interpretation of lives. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Wood, R., & Payne, T. (1998). Competency based recruitment and selection: A practical guide. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
Wright, P. M., Dunford, B. B., & Snell, S. A. (2001). Human resources and the resource based view of the firm. Journal of Management, 27, 701721.

Keywords

The essence of the competence concept: Adopting an organization's sustained competitive advantage viewpoint

  • Hai Ming Chen (a1) and Wen Yen Chang (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed