These “templates” gained the name “competency models”.
Competency modelling approach originated about 30 years ago, the first competency model was developed in the early 1970’s by David McClelland and his colleagues as a response to a problem of proper selection of junior Foreign Service Information Officers in the U.S. Department of State. From this initial study the methodology has evolved, partly in response to changes in organizations and the workplace, and partly in response to the needs of people using the competency models to address specific needs in organizations.
Spensor and Spensor (1993) define competency as an underlying characteristics of an individual that is causally related to criterion that referenced effective and / or superior performance in a job or situation. Mansfield (1996) gives the following definition: “a competency model is a detailed, behaviorally specific description of the skills and traits that employees need to be effective in a job” (p.7). Mansfield (1996) asserts that “any competency approach must define a consistent set of levels for the building block competencies to distinguish the extent to which a competency is required in different jobs” (p.13). He argues that it should be the same number of levels for each competency, and each level should has a consistent name, e.g. Not Demonstrated, Developing, Capable, Outstanding. Rating an employee for this competency involves selecting the level that best describes the employee (Mansfield, 1996). Thus, briefly stated, the competency assessment method is based upon the assumption that the best way to identify current level of employee’s competencies is to compare the employee’s knowledge, skills and abilities against knowledge, skills and abilities of the “effective performer” on the same position.
Today more than half of the Fortune 500 companies are using the competency modelling in