Re: Competences LO2802

Adelaide Wilcox King (
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 22:02:46 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO2778 --

My name is Adelaide Wilcox King. I am a doctoral candidate in strategy at
UNC-Chapel Hill who has been lurking on this list for an inexcusably long
time (4+ months) before introducing myself. My most pressing research
interest (read: dissertation) is on top and middle managers' perceptions
of competences and firm performance so it's no surprise that Bernard's
note (in full below) piqued my interest.

One of the fundamental goals of my research is to explore whether
managers' agreement on their companies' competences (which I define using
Leonard-Barton's definition of "knowledge-based sources of competitive
advantage") is related to firm performance.

It seems that understanding this may be an important precursor to
evaluating whether employees 'have' the right competencies or obsolete
competences (meaning I am assuming that there is a good chance that top
managers who evaluate employees may not share the same minds on what are
the "right competences" and which are "obsolete"). I would obviously be
interested in others' assumptions and views toward this as well as their
experiences in companies regarding Bernard's questions.

Second, this may be simple semantics but I would bet the ranch
that 100% (not the unfortunate 10%) of the workforce at the French data
processing companies had competences that were obsolete or useless to the
firm. The more pertinent issue is whether the individuals have the (cost
effective) ability to acquire skills or knowledge to contribute to
competencies that the firm values.

Thanks to Bernard and all who contribute to this list-- I enjoy it
thoroughly and find it very interesting.

On Wed, 13 Sep 1995, Bernard Girard wrote:

> I had yesterday a lunch with the boss of a french data processing company
> (about 2000 persons). He is reorganizing his company along competence
> centers. In the process, he discovered that 10% of the workforce had
> competence that was of no use to the company. He dismissed most of them.
> My qquestion is :
> - would this be a fact in most companies?
> - do companies have feedback that tell them that the people who work for
> them have obsolete competences?
> - could we design a system to get this feedback?

Adelaide Wilcox King
Doctoral Candidate in Strategy
Kenan Flagler Business School
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
phone:  919-962-4446