Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Competency Modeling in an Undergraduate Management Degree Program

Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Competency Modeling in an Undergraduate Management Degree Program

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Competency models have been adopted in many organizations to focus systems for employee selection, training and development, and work engagement on the competencies identified by the organization as most important to its operations and strategic direction. Similarly, competency models can be employed in business schools to guide the development of students with the goal of developing their abilities consistent with demands in the marketplace. In this paper, we draw on the literature on competency models in the human resource management field and higher education to demonstrate that competency models can be helpful in developing the knowledge and abilities of business students. We also discuss the experience of developing of a competency model for an undergraduate business program and the benefits and challenges of moving to a competency-based approach.

JEL: M10

KEYWORDS: Business Education, Competencies, Student Learning, Assessment

INTRODUCTION

Many organizations have adopted a competency-based approach to deal with the dynamic nature Mof business (Boyatzis, 2008) and address a variety of factors, including the need to change and adapt to a changing business environment, the need for greater empowerment of employees, and the desire for more engagement in work and organizations, among other factors. As organizations modify and develop new products, change productions systems, or adjust work processes, they need to select, train and develop employees whose skills and knowledge align with these changing demands of work. The impact of technological change and quality management, for example, require changes in the work environment that require employees to have different skills and knowledge. The need to delegate and empower employees requires more broadly designed jobs; pushing decisionmaking to lower levels to increase the organization's responsiveness and efficiency requires a more general set of work qualifications and certainly a broader awareness of the purposes of the work. Finally, making work more engaging requires that workers invest their cognitive and emotional capabilities in the work, rather than just their rote behaviors.

Given the prevalence of competency models in business organizations, their efforts may provide insights to higher education about developing educational experiences to prepare students for professional success after graduation. In this paper, we draw on the literature on competency models in higher education and the practice of competency modeling in the human resource management field to demonstrate how competency modeling can be helpful in business education.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. The next section presents a review of the literature relevant to a competency-based approach in higher education. Next, we present the literature that addresses how competency modeling has been practiced in the human resource management field. In the following section, we discuss the development of competency models, their benefits, and the potential benefits and challenges of a competency-based approach in higher education, specifically business education. The development of a competency model for an undergraduate business program in a large Midwestern university and the benefits and challenges of adopting a competency-based approach is presented in the following section. The paper then presents some concluding comments.

LITERATURE REVIEW

This section summarizes the literature on competencies and competency modeling in higher education and human resource management. Competencies have also been a subject of interest and research for educators at multiple levels of the educational process. The literature identifies a number of motivations for competency modeling, including developing accreditation and assessment standards and aligning educational outcomes with the needs of employers and professions (Boritz and Camaghan, 2003, Wolf, 1995). …

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