What is Competency Mapping? Methods of Competency Mapping

To study Competency Mapping, we need to understand what is Competency? The basic meaning of competency is as follows-


What is Competency?

  • The ability to do something successfully or efficiently.
  • State or quality of being able and fit.
  • capability, ability, proficiency, knowledge, expertness, skill, resources, talent, aptitude.
  • Competency -an important skill that is needed to do a job
  • Competency refers to person’s fitness with reference to his or her job. (Palan, 2003)
  • Any underlying characteristic required performing a given task, activity, or role successfully can be considered as competency.
  • Competency may take the following forms: (KASOs)
    1. Knowledge- Understanding acquired through learning. It is a body of information relevant to job performance. It is what people have to know to be able to perform a job, such as knowledge of policies and procedures for a recruitment process.
    2. Attitude- Your View Point towards the job
    3. Skill- Capabilities acquired through practice. It can be financial skill – budgeting, or a verbal skill ; making a presentation.
    4. Other characteristics of an individual includes:
      • Motives
      • Values
      • Traits- Inherent characteristics brought to the job, the essential foundation upon which knowledge and skill can be developed.
      • Self Concept
  • Currently, KSAOs are commonly referred to as competencies (Schippmann, 2000)

What is mapping ?

  • Chart, plot, draw, portray.

Definition of Competency

  • According to Office Of Personal Management, USA Govt, ” A competency is a measurable pattern of KSAOs that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully.
  • Competencies specify the “how” of performing job tasks, or what the person needs to do the job successfully.
  • General Definition of a Competency-– A competency is a characteristic of an employee that
    1. Contributes to successful job performance
    2. The achievement of organizational results.

    These include measurable or assessable KASOs that distinguish superior performers from average performers (Shippmann et.al. 2000; Spencer, McClelland, & Spencer 1994)

  • Hogg B (1989) defined competencies are the characteristics of a manager that lead to the demonstration of skills and abilities, which result in effective performance within an occupational area. Competency also embodies the capacity to transfer s kills and abilities from one area to another.

So in summary, The definitions of competencies reveals:

1.The characteristics of a employee.

2.Competencies lead the demonstration of skills/ abilities. Therefore, competency must be demonstrated and, hence, must be observable and not be inferred.

3.Competencies must lead to effective performance. It must be significantly better than that of a person without it. It should differentiating success from merely doing the job.

4.Competency also includes the capacity to transfer skills/ abilities from one area to another.

What is Competency Mapping?

  • It is the process of identification of the competencies required to perform successfully a given job or role or a set of tasks at a given point of time.
  • It consists of breaking a given role or job into its constituent tasks or activities and identifying the competencies needed to perform the same successfully.
  • Also called competency profiles or skills profiles.
  • Two Approaches to do it-
    • Organization oriented – Organizational aims given more importance rather than starting with the job as a point of analysis
    • Training oriented- The analyst first identifies what the organization needs to be effective
  • Difference Bwetween Job Analysis & Competency Mapping
  • Job Analysis Competency Mapping
    ApproachBottom upTop down
    ForStandard performanceSuperior performance
    PurposeFor jobFor organization

History of Competency Mapping Movement 

  • Lead by Benjamin Bloom in the USA in mid 1950s.
  • David McClelland
    • Harvard Psychologist, pioneered the competency movement across the world.
    • His classic books on “Talent and Society”, “Achievement Motive”, “The Achieving Society”, “Motivating Economic Achievement” and “Power the Inner Experience’
    • McClelland (1973) titled where in he presented data that traditional achievement and intelligence scores may not be able to predict job success.
    • ‘Latter McBer’  a Consulting Firm founded by David McClelland.
  • McClelland & his associate Berlew have specialized in mapping the competencies of entrepreneurs and managers across the world. They even developed a new and yet simple methodology called the Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) to map the competencies
  • Douglas Brey where in they presented evidence that competencies can be assessed through assessment centers an on the job success can be predicted

Areas of Competencies

  • According to Daniel Katz’s Harvard Business Review, he grouped them under three areas which were later expanded in to the following four:

1.Technical / Functional Competencies – KASOs associated with the technology or functional expertise required to perform the role);

2.Managerial – KASOs. required to plan, organize, mobilize and utilize various resources;

3.Human – KASOs required to motivate, utilize and develop human resources

4.Conceptual – abilities to visualize the invisible, think at abstract levels and use the thinking to plan future business.

Methods of Competency Mapping

  • Interviews,
  • Group work,
  • Task Forces,
  • Task Analysis workshops,
  • Psychometric Questionnaire,
  • Use of Job descriptions,
  • Performance Appraisal Formats etc.


  • Thornton G.C. , Rupp D.E.-Assessment Centers in Human Resource Management_ Strategies for Prediction, Diagnosis, and Development-Psychology Press (2005)
  • https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/assessment-and-selection/competencies/

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