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Competition Based Management Published: Sunday, September 3, 2000 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Governmental organizations have and need competent managers to reach their objectives efficiently and effectively. People enter to work in the government to serve a mission. Management in this type of setting is very complex because of the conflicting demands of this mission and efficiency. The paradoxical nature of such a titanic task is that of developing and maintaining values, policies, practices and change ventures serving the society yet juggle limited resources to work toward unlimited social objectives.

All this paradoxical dynamic occurs in the context of an organization. The organization has policies and processes reflected in the internal culture, structure and systems. It also has a direction in the form of purpose and strategy. The institutional system exits in the context of a larger economic, social and political community. All of these factors contribute to the internal work environment.

Regardless, if we are talking about government or enterprise organizations effective performance is an imperative. This means that the manager is responsible for achieving specific results required by the job through specific actions while coupling with policies, processes and conditions of the organizational environment. Certain abilities of the person enable him or her to demonstrate the appropriate specific actions. These abilities are called competencies. People use their competencies to respond to the demands of a job.

Effective performance occurs, as the distinguished, Rafael Ríos has instructed for more than a decade, when four critical components are synchronize: (1) The individual`s competencies. (2) The job`s demands. (3) Effective specific actions or behaviors. (4) The requirements of the market, customer base or simply the environment. Although it is possible that effective performance may result when only two of the components are congruent, the likelihood is less.

A job competency is an underlying characteristic of a person in that it may be a motive, skill, aspect of one`s self image or social role or a body of knowledge that he or she use to undertake tasks. What is very interesting is that the existence and possession of these abilities may or may not be known to the individual. Because job competencies are underlying characteristics, they can emerge in a variety of actions. Therefore, to define a competency it is fundamental to determine what the actions were and the intent or meaning of the actions.

It is important to distinguish competencies from tasks, or functions, which are required in the job. A function such as organizing resources requires a person to use a variety of competencies, such as analytical and planning skills, to perform it effectively. In communicating a particular organization of resources to others, additional interpersonal skills would be needed such as influencing others. The point is that selecting staff, decision making, delegating responsibility, and repairing a machine are all functions and are not skills.

The competencies needed and the mix of them are vital to superior and high performance. The game is that of defining the organizations by what you know rather than by what you do.

 


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