What Is Wrong with Competency Research? Two Propositions

  •  Rossilah Jamil    


The theory and practice of competency approach has remained significant even decades after its conception. However despite its omnipresence, its validity has been repeatedly questioned. For it to be a truly useful tool, these criticisms and their roots must be critically analyzed to identify improvement measures. To find the solutions, a proper analysis of the competency subject must be first conducted. This paper aims to revisit the prevailing competency theories and backgrounds, with the intention to identify gaps and propose corrective measures. This paper starts by reviewing the theoretical foundations underpinning the competency approach, its origins, frameworks and key criticisms. Based on the reviews, it was found that the approach suffers two limitations. Firstly, its frameworks tend to be bias towards achieving utilitarian objective whereby definition of competent managers is limited to their contribution to organizational economic performance. Secondly, its research were mainly conducted from the positivistic lenses which over-simply the complex nature of managerial work. Based on these findings, the author then proposes epistemological and ideological turns that researchers should consider in researching the competency subject.

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