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Why Has the Idea of Competency Become So Important and Outline Its Application to Staff Undertaking International Assignment?

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Why has the idea of competency become so important and outline its application to staff undertaking international assignment?


Competency has been an important focus in the working industries as it comprises of working abilities, styles and behaviours in different contexts. Definitions of competency vary from different settings and in all sorts of occupational fields. As mentioned by Nankervis et al. (2010), competency in human resource context, is defined as a cluster of intellectual and physical qualities that lead to superior work performance. This critical aspect in the organization has assisted the management to carry out tasks with adequate efficiency. On top of that, a competency framework which is being illustrated further in the report provides the relevant information to understanding what competency is all about.

The importance of competency

To ensure consistency in human resource management, core competencies are widely applied in various administrations, for instance, training and development. This simplifies the work roles and reduces the occurrence of doing repetitious work. Alan Clardy (2008) mentioned that 'Capabilities that provide sustained superior organizational performance are core competencies; they are skilled organizational routines that create superior performance' (Clardy 2008, p. 186). As stated from the text, inference can be made of competencies being beyond the defining of skills and working characteristics, but the requirements of integrated skills, knowledge and attributes which are essential in an efficacious performance. Such competencies scale provides a constant identification, as well as a measurement of both the employees' performance and working ability at all phrases of employment. (Houston et al. 2002, p.3). Competencies are also immensely related to job analysis and the design of work (Nankervis et al. 2010, p. 170.) The requirements have set the standards for workplace competencies to be applied effectively with efficiency.

Furthermore, Nankervis et al. (2010) suggested that the process of developing competencies is essential in analyzing job. Not only it is integral to job analysis process, it is also an essential key to job recruitment which involves a job description, a list of job requirements and specifications. This enables the organisation to find the suitable candidate to match the nature of the job scope. In another words, it is called job congruence which will minimize the skills gap (Jackson 2009, p. 31 - 32).

Reliance on competency

In this contemporary society, the number of labour is not a greater concern when compared to the number of quality workforce. As world's business is going globalized, it is about quality services and goods versus quantity of services and goods to meet the competitive market demands. Competitive markets have been created due to the increment in workforce diversity, with the pool of talents scattered in different companies. Thus, idea of competency has become an essential key to sustain business in this highly competitive working society.

As organisations do business globally, the need for competencies becomes requisite. This calls for a demand of an international standard in work performance. To sustain the expectation of the global markets, organisations see competencies as an important aspect. Competencies are used to measure the skills gap between expected performance and actual performance. In most workplace settings, employees do possess competencies, but such competencies are constrained and may not be related to their job scopes (Jackson 2009, p. 30 - 31).

Competency Framework/Profiling

A competency framework helps in better understanding of the qualities and requirements needed for people within the organization. Each competency framework is unique to the companies as they have different goals and venturing in different fields. There is much research to be done; reviewing the past approaches towards competencies, incorporating new elements (such as behaviours) and making changes according to the specific requirements and nature of the business. What Nankervis et al. (2010) suggested is, in order to develop a framework, to primarily determine the main objectives and identify the organization's mission. Next, it is to integrate the needed competencies which support the organization's identified objectives and mission. Following step involves the applications of strategic approaches to ensure consistency in employee's behaviours. This would also influence the other employees to act in accordance to these competence behaviours. Rewards must be given based on the individual's competency which is valued to the organization. It is crucial for the organization to constantly keep track with competency framework and to evaluate the framework from time to time in order to follow the pace of the business and industries. Competency framework would not be useful if the management fails to continue with the reward system which perks the employees to sustain their competencies at work.

International Assignments

A person can acquire competency through development training, learning or by past working experience (Li & Kan 2008, p.354). In retrospect, there are 4 determinants that can sum up the construe of competency. As categorized by McClelland, endowments (i.e., genetics and physical characteristics given to one), social attitudes (i.e., cultural and social perspectives) theoretical knowledge (i.e., received education) and practical skills (i.e., experiences) are the four main focus of competency. It also consists of personal knowledge, the cognitive ability to transit one's capacities into a situation and perform with accords (Eraut 2000, pg 114). With the codified knowledge (i.e., assumed general knowledge) gained, personal knowledge integrates the relevant procedures, processes, past experiences and the formed notions into application. Competency is also positively linked with tacit knowledge, which is an acquired knowledge that is nontransferable.

Competencies in Job Knowledge

Knowledge about the company

A competent performance requires a good grasp of knowledge about the company and a clear understanding about their job roles. Every affiliated partners, shareholders and organizational profit should be ingrain into the workers' mind. The employees should be able to utilize their financial knowledge of the organizational budget in order for planning and allocating of work. Understanding the hierarchical structures is not an



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