A Study of Competencies and Competency-Based Human Resource Management: Exploring Practices and Perspectives of Selected Senior Human Resource Leaders/Practitioners

Open Access
Stern, Deborah Jo
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
April 21, 2010
Committee Members:
  • William J Rothwell, Committee Chair
  • Edgar I Farmer Sr., Committee Member
  • Judith Ann Kolb, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • human resource management
  • business
  • competency-based
  • competencies
  • competence
  • David C. McClelland
ABSTRACT The purpose of this research study was to explore competencies and competency- based human resource management (CBHRM) practices and perspectives of selected senior human resource leaders/practitioners and thought leaders. The key characteristics of competencies, critical components of competency work, topics related to working with competencies, applications, results, the future, and lessons learned were identified, explored, and described. The study included a review of the literature. An examination of historical perspectives and theoretical concepts that serve as foundational components of competencies and competency-based human resource management was conducted. The work of five Harvard professors was addressed including some of the many contributions of Professors William James: The Field of Psychology, Gordon W. Allport: Personality Psychology, Henry A. Murray: Psychogenic Needs, Robert W. White: The Concept of Competence, and David C. McClelland: The Concept of Competencies. Significant studies of the field were covered. The study was qualitative although there was also a quantitative component. Telephone interviews were conducted of the participants. Three research questions provided the framework for the study, and several themes emerged from the categories of information. An analysis of the findings was provided, and an overview, conclusions, and recommendations were offered.