Book Review: Competency-based Human Resource ManagementMost organizations nowadays are deeply exploring myriad approaches to adapt to an increasingly changing corporate landscape and achieve sustained competitive edge. Such level is not easily achieved and requires the creation and delivery of products or services that are valuable, distinct, rare and hard to imitate. Like products or services, human assets are equally important mix and companies understand that knee-weak workforce cannot drive growth or sustainability for organization. Then the role HR plays in an organization should be regarded as an important element to discovering qualified, zealous, and committed people who can carry out tasks and aid in the delivery of company’s value proposition in a unique way.
Competency-based human resource management, one of the new, emerging schools of thought in the field of HR that is now gaining adopters in many organizations globally, is one such approach that is discussed and suggested in Competency-based Human Resource Management (2004) authored by David D. Dubois and William J. Rothwell. In more than 300 pages, its authors championed job competencies instead of the job descriptions and job analysis models, the foundations of traditional HR efforts (i. e., including planning, training, recruiting, and performance development).
This paper ought to review and explore among the context of other HR practices, literatures and trends this seminal book to derive its impact, influence and dynamics in the field of Human Resource Management practice. Traditional HR Management vs. Competency-based HR Management, ComparedTo further construct a better understanding of the differences and similarities of competency-based HR with the traditional, we shall refer to competency to the way the Development Dimensions International (DDI) has defined the term, thus: “the descriptions used to refer to clusters or groupings of behaviors, motivations, and knowledge pertaining to job success of failure under which data on motivation, knowledge, or behavior can be reliably classified” (Byham 2006).
One similarity between the traditional or conventional and competency-based HR is that both may be integrated well around fundamental HR activities such as selection, training and development and performance management built around competencies. As a result, the platform for HR practice in an organization will be reinforced since there will be an increase in the number of information that the organization will obtain from employees.
In both approaches, the HR practitioners who will implement the human resource development approach will require that managers must be trained. In both the conventional and competency-based HR, the trainers are required to have set of skills and must be equipped to conduct HR subsystems such as training. It may also be viewed that in the two approaches, more accurate predictions about the future prospects for the employees or staff to be contributing their capabilities and effectiveness as human resources may be determined using the instruments employed whether job analysis/description for the traditional and conventional model and competency-determining tests or training for the competency-based model.
Yet one difference between traditional and competency-based HR practice is that the work results in the former cannot be measured or observed, accounting this to the fact that in conventional HR, the fulfillment of job descriptions are mere records to clarify activities job incumbents are supposed to perform.