Competency Management Information Systems

Competency Management Information Systems

Alfonso Urquiza (Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-883-3.ch022
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Abstract

One of the greatest surprises of the Internet economy is that far from replacing people, the use of advanced technology is confirming that talent is the most valuable asset in today’s organizations. In this context, competency management (CM) automation practices are becoming the most valuable approach within the e-HRM domain to manage this new business scenario, in which a very high percentage of the total workforce is comprised of knowledge workers (Nordstrom & Ridderstrale, 2000). The ability to effectively manage human capital investments becomes essential to ensure business success. Organizations gain real advantage by applying Internet technology to the measurement and management of its talent needs: the human capital of the organization. The evolution introduced by the e-business transformation (Hartman & Sifonis, 2000) in human resources management (HRM) practices, has meant a change from a pure functional, to a process-oriented approach in which all those activities associated with the management of employment and work relations are included (Boxal & Purcel, 2003). And technology innovation and new e-HRM strategies are affecting organizational effectiveness (Wang, 2005). Traditionally, organizations of any size or activity, used to focus primary attention in automating payroll and basic administrative functions. Other administrative- required functions (recruiting, training, etc.) where largely assumed and performed, in a non-automated way, thus creating large staff departmental units in these areas, often disconnected from the organization’s primary goals. IT implementations were not designed to manage knowledge assets; interest was driven to manage physical assets. Individual employees typically required functions such as tracking and processing personal information, as compensation, benefits, and so forth. Managers required HR to provide adequate information on topics as recruitment or training services.
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Introduction

One of the greatest surprises of the Internet economy is that far from replacing people, the use of advanced technology is confirming that talent is the most valuable asset in today’s organizations. In this context, competency management (CM) automation practices are becoming the most valuable approach within the e-HRM domain to manage this new business scenario, in which a very high percentage of the total workforce is comprised of knowledge workers (Nordstrom & Ridderstrale, 2000). The ability to effectively manage human capital investments becomes essential to ensure business success. Organizations gain real advantage by applying Internet technology to the measurement and management of its talent needs: the human capital of the organization.

The evolution introduced by the e-business transformation (Hartman & Sifonis, 2000) in human resources management (HRM) practices, has meant a change from a pure functional, to a process-oriented approach in which all those activities associated with the management of employment and work relations are included (Boxal & Purcel, 2003). And technology innovation and new e-HRM strategies are affecting organizational effectiveness (Wang, 2005).

Traditionally, organizations of any size or activity, used to focus primary attention in automating payroll and basic administrative functions. Other administrative-required functions (recruiting, training, etc.) where largely assumed and performed, in a non-automated way, thus creating large staff departmental units in these areas, often disconnected from the organization’s primary goals. IT implementations were not designed to manage knowledge assets; interest was driven to manage physical assets. Individual employees typically required functions such as tracking and processing personal information, as compensation, benefits, and so forth. Managers required HR to provide adequate information on topics as recruitment or training services.

It is during the last 6-9 years that competency management has became a valuable new strategy for HR management, largely due to the new e-business context ability to transform and automate most HR operations, generating additional efficiency: process flows are handled like ‘automated transactions,’ self-service functions appear, simplifying individual employee/manager relations within the organization, automating administrative tasks, and enhancing task-driven routines formerly performed by HR departments. New managers and employees relations are established and performance management (PM) is established in a way that business objectives became drivers to assess a person’s job labor results. Employee competencies development—usually trough e-learning corporate sponsored initiatives—ensures business improvements, although comprehensive competency management software based practices are still slow and expensive to implement in large size organizations. Core business related competency frameworks need to be defined (Yang, Bu, & Shu, 2006), but as some investigations shows, this is due to the fact that conceptual ambiguity still remains in practical competence framework definitions and organizational implementations (Grzeda, 2005). In the North American context, competence has been usually understood as a combination of skills, knowledge, and individual attitudes that affects results. In the UK, competence is addressed as the basis for professional credentials.

Key Terms in this Chapter

HRM: Processes directed from organization’s dedicated staff, focusing on devising practical, effective ways to manage employer-employee relations. Functions directed but not limited to recruiting, selection, hiring, training, and compensating employees.

Competency: A specific, identifiable, definable, and measurable knowledge, skill, ability, and/or other deployment-related characteristic (e.g., attitude, behavior, physical ability) which a human resource may possess and which is necessary for, or material to, the performance of an activity within a specific business context. (HR-XML consortium, http://ns.hr-xml.org/2_0/hr-xml-2_0/cpo/competencies.pdf )

Learning Management System (LMS): A system that totally or partially automates the creation, management, and execution of learning activities and their related processes of design, auditing, and assessment.

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