Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

The Study of Competency-Based Training and Strategies in the Public Sector: Experience from Taiwan

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

The Study of Competency-Based Training and Strategies in the Public Sector: Experience from Taiwan

Article excerpt

"Competent employees don't remain competent forever. Skills deteriorate and can become obsolete. That's why organizations spend billions of dollars each year on formal training" (Stephen, 2001, p. 480). The term training, according to The ASTD Reference Guide to Workplace Learning and Performance (American Society for Training & Development, 2000), "is intended to build on individual knowledge, skills and attitudes to meet present or future work requirements." Competency comprises the specification of knowledge and skills. The application of knowledge and skills to the standard of performance requires completing a task.

In the 1980s, human resource development (HRD) introduced competency-based training, which was implemented worldwide later. Competency-based training aims to not only improve employees' knowledge, abilities, and skills, but also upgrade their organization's performance. In both the private and public sectors, competency-based training is a popular method. However, since training often takes place in complex organizational environments, it is common for training practitioners to neglect certain steps and principles, especially in the public sector.

Purpose and Statement of the Problem

Based on a literature review and content analysis, this article examines four research problems related to competency-based training and strategies in the public sector:

Research Question 1: Why is competency-based training important? Why not traditional training?

Research Question 2: What are the critical success factors in competency-based training in the public sector?

Research Question 3: What are the strategies for competency-based training in the Taiwanese public sector?

Research Question 4: How can critical success factors and competency-based training strategies be linked in the public sector?

The purpose of this article is to provide some practical suggestions for training practitioners in the public sector by examining competency-based training and strategies in Taiwan's public sector. It consists of four sections: The first presents the concept and critical success factors of competency-based training, the second section examines competency-based training and strategies in Taiwan's public sector, the third section demonstrates the research findings concerning the link between critical success factors and practice strategy, and the last section elaborates research suggestions for training practitioners in the public sector. Future research is also discussed in this section.

Method and Data

This article is based on a literature review and the government documents that it uses to analyze competency-based training and strategies in the public sector. The literature used in this article was identified through a search of previous related studies.

The data selected from government documents comprise (a) official documents in Central Personnel Administration (1) (CPA) websites, (b) interviews with two practitioners in Taiwan's public sector who deal with government training affairs, (c) internal meeting data provided by meeting participants, and (d) research reports commissioned by the CPA and available in the library.

Literature Review

The Concept of Competency-Based Training

As the concepts and practices of competency-based training have recently been applied to HRD policies in the private and public sectors, it is first necessary to understand the definition of "competency-based." When searching for the origin of competency, researchers generally cite McClelland's (1973) "Testing for Competence Rather Than for Intelligence," an article that appeared in American Psychologist (pp. 423-447). McClelland's concept of competency has been the key driver of the competency movement and competency-based education. The term competency comprises the specification of knowledge and skills, and the application of that knowledge and skill to the standards of performance required in the workplace (Electrotechnology Training Package [UEE07], 2011). …

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