Competencies and workplace learning: some reflections on the rhetoric and the reality

Thomas N. Garavan, David McGuire

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    167 Citations (Scopus)


    The use of competency frameworks as a basis for workplace learning initiatives is now relatively commonplace in organisations. This is reflected in the emphasis given to competencies in the HRD literature. However, the terrain of the competency discussion is somewhat ill-defined. This article attempts to define the context within which the value of competencies as a basis for workplace learning can be considered and discusses the philosophical and epistemological perspectives found in much of the literature. Competency definition and competency measurement issues are explored, as is a range of other issues concerning the value of competencies in a workplace learning context. The article concludes that, in the interests of clarity, consistency and reliability of measurement, consensus needs to be reached on the basic parameters and definition of competency.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-164
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2000


    • workplace learning
    • competencies
    • rhetoric
    • HRD


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