The New Wave in Competency Mapping – Process-Based Knowledge Mapping The reason why most people miss the opportunity when it comes knocking is because it usually comes dressed in overalls, disguised as hard work. -Thomas Edison Abstract Throughout the years competency-based management approaches have proved to be a critical tool in human resource management, vocational training and performance management. As a result competency-based approaches are often adopted as the key paradigm in both formal and informal educational and training programs.
HR management practitioners are expected to be experts on leveraging human talent within their organizations for the purpose of achieving competitive advantage. They must demonstrate new sensitivity to the full range of human capabilities (including emotional intelligence), align HR efforts with strategic objectives, and integrate various HR activities so that people are consistently encouraged to achieve desired results. To this end, there exist a number of open issues such as: how can we model competencies; how can we assess competencies; how can we develop training resources and training activities that target specific competencies.
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The scope of this paper is to contribute to this field by addressing the issue of Process-Based Knowledge Mapping. The Imperative for Change Human resource (HR) management is undergoing a major transformation in today’s organizations. Once upon a time—and not all that long ago—HR management practitioners were expected to be the traffic cops of their organizations. It was their responsibility to note legal noncompliance or departures from organizational policies and then punish transgressors, just as traffic cops watch for and issue tickets to drivers who exceed speed limits.
As a direct consequence of this compliance orientation, some HR management practitioners became risk averse—and some remain so to this day. They oppose innovative actions taken to leverage the talents of organizational members for the simple reason that treading on new ground means taking new risks, which could possibly cause deviations from external legal requirements or internal policy standards. The new role of HR management demands an outlook that differs considerably from the compliance mind-set.
HR management practitioners are expected to be experts on leveraging human talent within their organizations for the purpose of achieving competitive advantage. They must demonstrate new sensitivity to the full range of human capabilities (including emotional intelligence), align HR efforts with strategic objectives, and integrate various HR activities so that people are consistently encouraged to achieve desired results. For many practitioners, traditional writings on HR management do more to stand in the way of progress than to facilitate it.
One reason is that traditional college textbooks on the field continue to define “jobs,” “job descriptions,” and “work analysis” as making up the foundation for most HR efforts where “jobs are dead”. Traditional textbooks on HR management, although important because they build expectations among HR professionals about the nature of their role, do not address the critical importance of individual differences, which create exemplary performers, who may be many times more productive than others with the same job titles, education, and experience.
And yet the importance of individual characteristics, or competencies, is well known to CEOs, operating managers, and others. Recognizing critical differences in individual productivity implies that more work might be done by fewer people, or that better work might be done by the same number of people. Of course, that can only happen if HR practitioners become savvier about finding the best-in-class performers, discover what makes them different from their fully successful counterparts, and reorient HR toward recruiting, selecting, training, developing, rewarding, appraising, and otherwise managing these exceptional people.
In the chaos of fast-paced significant changes, leaders must face the unknown, deal with paradox, be out of control and deal with normal human resistance to change their own and that of employees. Being present is made possible by recognizing one’s emotions and sustaining one’s emotional experience, as a compassionate witness, without acting out the emotion or denying or avoiding it. Up until recently, however, and despite the complexities and scale of the business, evelopment and succession to senior levels relied very much on a ‘traditional’ methodology ~ the most technically talented rose to the top within their business function, and were accordingly ‘noticed’. As needs at board level arose, this population were the first resource, supplemented by external candidates when necessary. Selection, either internally or externally, followed a well-worn pattern based on classic interviewing processes coupled with internal intelligence where available.
At the October 2002 KM World Conference, French Caldwell (VP of Information and Knowledge Management at the Gartner Group) predicted that there will be “an increased emphasis over the next few years on taxonomies, and knowledge maps. ” Caldwell classified “knowledge maps” into three types: ? Procedural knowledge maps, show knowledge (and the sources of knowledge) mapped to a business process. This could be any process for a business or organization — for example, a process for a R&D function / organization, or a selling process, etc. One major use of this type of map is for planning and implementation of knowledge management efforts. Conceptual knowledge maps, which Caldwell calls a “taxonomy,” a method of hierarchically organizing and classifying content. In knowledge management, taxonomy is used for content management within a Web site or some other repository. ?Competency knowledge maps, document the skills, positions, and even career path of an individual — to create a competency profile, enabling employees to find needed expertise (skills, techniques, and/or job tasks) in people within an organization. Another type of commonly used mapping is called Social Network Mapping or Social Network Analysis.
Social network analysis shows networks of knowledge and patterns of interaction among group members, organizations, and other social entities. One use of a social network map is for analysis of information sharing within a social context. “Unless we review our past, we will not know what we need to build upon and from where we need to dismantle to rebuild”. -Bridge Tracey Process-Based Knowledge Mapping A process-based knowledge map is essentially a map or diagram that visually displays knowledge within the context of a business process.
In other words, the map shows how knowledge should be used within the process and sources of this knowledge. The overview of the business process is prepared before the knowledge and the sources are mapped to this process. Any type of knowledge that drives the process or results from execution of the process can be mapped. This could include tacit knowledge (knowledge in people such as know-how, experience, and intuition) and explicit knowledge (codified knowledge such as that in documents); customer knowledge; knowledge in processes; etc. Process based Knowledge Management is really about recognizing that regardless of what business you are in, you are competing based on the knowledge of your employees” -Cindy Johnson Constituents of Process-Based Knowledge Mapping The process-based knowledge map is created in workshops in a span of two or three day. If the high-level business process needs to be defined or substantially revised, then the workshop could take longer. Five-ten people collaborate in the workshop. Their main tasks Process-Based Knowledge Mapping fall into three phases: 1. Mapping Phase.
Create the knowledge map by mapping knowledge and sources of knowledge to the business process. 2. Analysis Phase. Analyze the map in response to probing questions, such as: — What knowledge is most critical to the business? — Identify where the procedure starts and ends — What knowledge is missing? – walk them through the procedure and extract information (ie. What they do, who supports them and / or contributes). — What knowledge adds value to the business? 3. Application Phase. Apply the map to: — Planning programs, projects or sets of activities – Developing KM processes or improving knowledge flows, map the identified activities against responsible roles in sequence, including decisions and approvals — Providing a framework for efforts such as a knowledge audit, technology design, after-action review, competency development program, etc. Uses of Process-Based Knowledge Mapping? INFOSYS Ltd follows Process-Based Knowledge Mapping There are many uses of process-based knowledge maps. for example: ? A small company or start-up can use knowledge mapping to identify knowledge that is strategic or critical, or to determine what intellectual assets are essential to their business.
At the same time mapping might identify knowledge priorities in a merged company (combining the most critical knowledge from each company) or in a restructured corporation. ?Knowledge mapping can be used to effectively plan the implementation of a knowledge management strategy-for a business unit, department, or a team. The knowledge map can become the basis for a knowledge management program, a set of knowledge management activities within a business initiative, or a knowledge management project (such as a community of practice or a collaborative workspace).
Needed competencies can be captured on a knowledge map. The map is then used for a competency/ skill development plan. ?As a component of a KM effort, the knowledge map serves as input to the design of a knowledge Web or knowledge system. The knowledge map can also define the initial parameters for a knowledge audit, or a series of knowledge maps can constitute the audit. A knowledge audit is an inventory of key knowledge and locations of this knowledge. It can also be expanded to include definitions of owners, users, and uses of this knowledge.
A knowledge map can provide the context for an after action review. An after action review is a structured session designed to collect key learning and collateral at major milestones in an internal project or on an external client engagement. ?To define a knowledge management process or illustrate knowledge flows, a special knowledge map needs to be created for use as the basis for a KM process. Some examples of knowledge management processes are: sharing knowledge, retaining knowledge, knowledge capture and packaging, etc. Knowledge flows are traced within the context of a knowledge map. For other initiatives that are not exclusively focused on knowledge management, knowledge mapping can be used to develop consulting services and customer solutions. The mapping workshop outlines the selling and delivery methodology, defines associated tools and collateral, and profiles roles needed to sell and deliver the service or solution. And then the workshop participants assess the scope, knowledge and management activities that improve the competitive edge and increase selling and delivery effectiveness for the service or solution. The knowledge map also can be used for planning ny type of new initiative or project. Benefits of Using Process-Based Knowledge Mapping Technique? The Process-Based Knowledge Mapping technique has several advantages. First, the knowledge map is represented in a simple, clear visual format that is easy to understand, is easy to update and evolve, and is easy to use by the users in the organization. The map becomes a valuable tool over the life of the project. Second, the mapping methodology forces participants to identify key knowledge areas that are most strategic and/or critical to their business.
Third, the analysis of the knowledge map generates ideas for sharing and leveraging knowledge that are most suited to the organization and the business context. Meanwhile, the workshop approach is particularly effective. Results can be achieved quickly in a workshop setting. If workshop participants come from diverse positions and represent a variety of experience and expertise, they can tap their diversity to create a robust knowledge map. The collaborative approach then facilitates agreement among the participants on common knowledge priorities and common plans, processes, and approaches.
Procedures Ensure: •Repeatability •Completeness •Consistency •Compliance •Elimination of the Duplication of work/activities •Clear identification of owners and custodian •Knowledge retention Key Elements in Process Mapping •Fixation of Process Boundaries •Process owners, customers and suppliers •Sub-Processes •Input/ Output •Data collection points •Assess Value addition activities •Determination and fixation of the cycle time. Key Success Factors in Process-Based Knowledge Mapping? The technique of process-based knowledge mapping yields the best results when you ensure the following: 1.
The facilitator is central to the success of this technique. He or she needs to be expert in both group facilitation and knowledge mapping techniques. Ideally, the facilitator should also have expertise in the development of business processes. The facilitator should have a detailed methodology for the entire knowledge mapping effort, and be able to customize each knowledge mapping assignment to the needs of the client. 2. Client ownership for the knowledge mapping workshop and result is essential to the success of the effort.
Before the workshop is planned and designed, the business must assign a senior person as the sponsor/owner for the end-deliverable (the knowledge management program plan, for example). This person should be committed to achieving the result, and be willing to allocate resources (people and money) both to the workshop and the work after the workshop. 3. The purpose of the knowledge mapping must be clearly articulated in terms of objectives and scope of effort. The deliverable likewise requires concrete definition. 4. The knowledge mapping effort needs to be comprehensively scoped.
The approach is only successful if the effort includes planning for the workshop, the workshop itself, and then follow-up to achieve or refine the deliverable. 5. The knowledge that is mapped should include current knowledge and future needed knowledge. The map is both present and strategic. 6. The analysis phase of the workshop is crucial to the success of the effort. The facilitator needs to formulate questions that provoke answers that enhance the knowledge map and also help to define and develop the deliverable. 7. The application phase of the workshop is also important.
Some deliverables (such as a knowledge management process) can be completed in the workshop; others (such as a technology design) are begun in the workshop, but mostly developed after the workshop. 8. All workshops should conclude with an action plan (documenting tasks, owners, and timeframes) Ultimate Value of Process-Based Knowledge Mapping? Since its inception, knowledge management frequently has been described abstractly, overly strategize, and weak in implementation. Conversely, process-based knowledge mapping is concrete and tactical.
The knowledge mapping makes tacit and explicit knowledge graphic and visual; the analysis and application phases of process-based knowledge mapping are oriented toward the definition and planning of a pragmatic project or activity, or toward implementation of a knowledge management strategy or program. And the entire technique has a business focus. The knowledge is mapped and analyzed within a business process. In addition, the knowledge can be prioritized in terms of its relevance to a business or knowledge management objective. Managerial Implications of Process-Based Knowledge Mapping: . The Process-based knowledge mapping describes what the steps are, how they are interrelated, and general information flow. 2. Help develop Recommended Practices (RPs) for training and certification. 3. Help define what, why and how of a task, so that we don’t continually reinvent the wheel and generate additional unnecessary work. 4. Provides an A-B-C linked approach to complete project tasks efficiently and correctly in a standard approved manner removing a large amount training with time and money. 5. Ensure consistency, efficiency and repeatability of business operations. 6.
Help create standardized benchmark and performance measurement between projects. 7. Process mapping is a team effort and benefits from external facilitation ensuring impartiality and provides focus to the team Conclusion: Knowing what to do about it all’ is not a bad outcome, given the complexities, risks and high political profile of the agenda. It says a lot about the power of competencies to offer solutions to business problems. Many organizations and human capital management software vendors are talking about competencies; however, very few companies have successfully implemented a companywide competency initiative.
Competency initiatives that produce the most significant change are applied systemically across a range of human capital acquisition and management processes. Integrating a competency model with the various component applications that make up the next generation human capital management system is a challenge. No single vendor offers an integrated suite of products that provides . best-in-class. Capabilities for the range of human capital management applications that may require access to the new competency model Throughout the years ompetence-based management approaches have proved to be a critical tool in human resource management, vocational training and performance management. As a result, competence-based approaches are often adopted as the key paradigm in both formal or informal education and training programs. However, despite the fact that competences are an important tool for various fields of application, the communities of researchers and the practitioners have not agreed to a commonly accepted definition of the term competence, resulting to multiple interpretations.
On the other hand, this is essential for developing a generic competence model, as a core step for Competence Development. This is a major drawback for achieving interoperability between various systems that deal with competence-related in- formation. In Technology-enhanced Competence-based Learning the process of competence modeling requires appropriate technological infrastructures for storing, organizing, sharing and mapping the various instances of competence models. This is essential for representing competence instances in an interoperable manner using a single, globally agreed format.
To this end, international efforts are already in place towards defining specifications for competence descriptions are intended as the means for facilitating interoperability across systems that deal with competence-related information by allowing them to refer to common definitions with commonly recognized values. As a result, it appears that further investigations are in order, so as to facilitate the development of technology-enhanced competence-based training systems, and process based knowledge mapping. References: . Ulrich, D. “HR Roles: Business Partners Whose Time Has Come”. The Future of Human Resource Management. I. H. Risher & Co (eds. ). In Press,1997. 2. Gorsline, K. A Competency Profile for Human Resources: No More Shoemakers Children. Human Resource Management Journal, 35(1):53-66, 1996. 3. Kochanski, J. T. (Ed. ). Human Resource Management, Special Issue on Human Resource Competencies. 35(1), 1996. 4. Jacek Lipiec; Human Resources Management Perspective at the Turn of the Century, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 30, 2001 5. Marcus Buckingham, Richard M.
Vosburgh, The 21st Century Human Resources Function: It’s the Talent, Stupid! Identifying and Developing Talent, One Person at A Time, Becomes Our Defining Challenge, Human Resource Planning, Vol. 24, 2001. 6. Edmund J. Metz, Designing Succession Systems for New Competitive Realities, Human Resource Planning, Vol. 21, 1998. 7. Gerald M. Groe, Jay J. Jamrog, William Pyle; Information Technology and HR, Human Resource Planning, Vol. 19, 1996. 8. Vicere, Albert A. , Leadership and the Networked Economy, Human Resource Planning, Vol. 25, 2002. 9. Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover, et. al. Competency-Based HR Applications: Results of a Comprehensive Survey, Society for Human Resource Management and Arthur Andersen, 2000. 10. Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover, Implementing Competencies: A Best Practice Approach, Schoonover Associates, Inc. 2002. 11. Gregory C. Kesler, Julia A. Law, Implementing Major Change In The HR Organization: The Lessons of Five Companies, Human Resource Planning, Vol. 20, 1997. 12. Ulrich, D. W. , Brockbank, A. K. , Yeung, A. , Lake, D. G. Human Resource Competencies: An Empirical Assessment. Human Resource Management 34(4), 473-496, 1995.