Summary of Competency-Based Human Resource Management

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

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Competency-Based Human Resource Management book summary
Focus your human resource management on competencies.


6 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

3 Style


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.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to think of human resources in terms of competencies rather than jobs;
  • Some of the distinctions between competency-based HR and traditional HR; and
  • Reasons and methods for implementing competency-based HR management.


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...
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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.

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