Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

A Global Central Banker Competency Model

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

A Global Central Banker Competency Model

Article excerpt


Key focus of the study

Over the past 4-5 years, the role of central banks has grown increasingly important globally. Their role has shifted from national, micro regulation to global, macro regulation (Linde, 2012; The Economist, 2013; Vergara, 2012). In some quarters, it is contended that central bankers have become the most powerful players in the global economy. As stated in The Economist:

Before the financial crisis started in 2008 central bankers were often seen as back room technocrats: unelected, unexciting men in grey suits, who adjusted interest rates to keep prices stable on the basis of widely agreed rules. Today, the suits are the same, but not much else. Central bankers have become the most powerful players in the global economy. By providing massive liquidity to the financial system, they saved the world from economic collapse in 2008 (2012, p. 15).

Background to the study

Although many central banks agree on what the core functions of a central bank should be, there is little or no consensus globally about what constitutes a 'competent' central banker. The growing importance of the global role of central bankers, as well as the absence of a global competency model for central bankers provided the rationale for this study. More specifically, the study was intended to establish a 'common language' for central banks to converse globally about central banker competencies (Stevens, 2013).

Review of the literature

The literature reported here covers the following topics:

* competencies

* competency models

* competency modelling

* evaluating the effectiveness of a competency model.


A competency is a general description of the underlying knowledge, skills and attributes that people need to deliver worthy job performance (Stevens, 2013). According Buford and Linder (2002), LaRocca (n.d.) and Parry (1998), competencies pertain to behaviour of a certain standard required for successful performance that cover a set of related knowledge, skills and attributes. Wynne and Stringer (1997, p. 20) define competencies simply as 'those things employees have to be, know and do, to achieve job outputs'. For Dubois's (n.d.) competence are the personal characteristics that drive superior job performance. Competencies allow organisations to translate their business strategies, imperatives and objectives into performance requirements for their employees (Stevens, 2013).

For the purpose of this article, a competency is defined as a composite of the knowledge, skills and attributes that lead to worthy job performance. In addition to the term competency, the terms competency cluster and competency domain were also introduced in this study. A competency cluster is defined as a collective name for a set of related competency domains. A competency domain, in turn, is defined as being made up of related competencies.

Competency models

Competency models can provide organisations with a flexible and dynamic base from which to engender a competitive advantage (Soderquist, Papalexandris, Ioannou & Prastacos, 2010; Stevens, 2013). According to Garrett (n.d.), a competency model embodies a collection of the success factors necessary for achieving results in a specific job in the organisation, as well as the realisation of its strategy (Stevens, 2013). Mirabile (1997) describes a competency model as an enabler to distinguish between high and low performers. Since this study focused on the competencies required by occupational groups, a more accurate explanation of a competency model would be that it is a selection of competencies required by a specific occupational group at the individual, team and organisational levels (Stevens, 2013). A mere listing of competencies has more value for its users if similar competencies are grouped together to form a model (Parry, 1996).

For the purpose of this study, a competency model was defined as a set of competency domains, with their associated competencies, required by a specific occupational group. …

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