What is Competency Mapping and How Can It Help?

A relatively recent development in job analysis involves mapping or modeling competencies of job positions and job incumbents.  Competencies are defined as characteristics required of the incumbent to successfully fulfill assigned responsibilities of the position.  Competency statements include descriptions of behavior (tasks performed), mastery of subject and task knowledge associated with the behavior, skill in any cognitive or psychomotor activity required, a degree of affective involvement in the outcome of the tasks (such as valuing quality, timeliness, or customer satisfaction), and demonstrated experience in successfully performing the tasks within the competency.  Competency statements may also include some measure of licensure or certification by a professional or regulatory agency external to the organization.  Viewing jobs in terms of competencies takes into account not only the individual, but also, the context within which the individual must perform successfully.

While a competency is viewed as containing a number of components, the focus of attention is on the competency as a whole, not on the incremental parts.  Consider this scenario.  A particular job requires the incumbent possess a particular competency at the expert level.  That competency is made up of, lets say, three tasks which share some general knowledge and skill.  If the incumbent can only perform two of the three tasks at the expert level, perhaps never having had an opportunity to perform the third task, we would not consider the incumbent as possessing the competency at the mastery level required for the position.  The incumbent will possess the competency only when all behaviors of the competency can be performed at least to the mastery level required.  The results of competency-based job analysis provide a more robust impact on human resource management that incremental job analysis at the task level often doesn't provide.

In this application, the job analysis and competency modeling is intended to identify key job requirements of incumbents in the upper tier of leadership of the enterprise.  For the purposes of this application, competencies are operationally defined as having four levels of mastery:

Ultimately, however, we come back to the begining: Surveys are constructed with the end in mind.  Almost anyone can combile competency data, but the Art and Science of responsible, effective Competency Mapping requires substantial education, training and experience.  Independent Job Analysis is available today to consult with you on the best way to address your Job and Occupational Analysis needs.

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