Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Competency-Based Human Resource Management

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Competency-Based Human Resource Management

Discover a New System for Unleashing the Productive Power of Exemplary Performers

Davies-Black Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Focus your human resource management on competencies.

auto-generated audio
auto-generated audio

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Overview


Traditionally, human resources departments and organizations have existed to fill jobs and manage the people who do jobs. Authors David D. Dubois and William J. Rothwell suggest a different approach: recruiting and managing competencies instead. The distinction is important, the authors say, because thinking of an organization as an aggregation of jobs makes it difficult to change quickly in response to new opportunities and threats. Much of what the authors suggest is plausible; some of it is even persuasive. On the other hand, their guide is as much an academic text as a manual for corporate use. Multiple references to other sources and dense definitions impede the clear path to practical, actionable advice. In that quest, the reader is grateful for the authors’ useful planning tools, checklists, worksheets and other task-related aids, which compensate for the jargon and repetition. While wishing for a slightly less academic approach, recommends this innovative take on human resources management to those staying abreast of changes in the field.


The Job Orientation

The traditional focus of human resource (HR) management is jobs. HR managers think about such issues as job turnover, job tenure, cutting jobs during business downturns, filling jobs during business upturns, writing job descriptions, interviewing job candidates, analyzing jobs and making plans for handling the jobs of the future. A job description, which is a typical document from an HR department, usually contains the following information:

  • Name of the job.
  • Purpose or activities of the job.
  • Number of people whom the jobholder supervises or manages.
  • Education or training required to do the job.
  • Experience, specials skills or expertise necessary for the job.

Consider all of the things that the job description leaves out. It does not tell you much about what the jobholder is supposed to produce, for example. It usually doesn’t say anything about the metrics that measure success in the job. Moreover, a job description has a short shelf life. Organizations are changing so rapidly that today’s job may not exist tomorrow. In fact, by the time a job description makes its way through the HR approval or updating...

About the Authors

David D. Dubois, Ph.D., L.P.C., is a consultant, author, counselor and workshop leader specializing in competency-based human resource management. His consulting clients have included Federal Express and Ford Motor Company. He is the author of Competency-Based Performance Improvement. William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR, is president of Rothwell & Associates, Inc., and professor of human resource development at Pennsylvania State University.

Comment on this summary