Dear Sir/Madam,
I am working as a Management Trainee, in the HR Department, of a private manufacturing concern set up in Central India. The organization is a 48 years old and primarily deals with manufacturing steel castings, equipments and machinery parts for heavy machine industries including Steel Plants, Power Plants, Railways, Mining and Exports. However the organization fits into the Medium-Scale industry frame. It has a fairly good International presence and recognizable pioneering National presence. Its employee strength is 1400.

I am a 2008, MBA (HR) pass out; and in my internship I did “Competency Mapping” for a practice in a very well known software company based at Bangalore. The scope of my project was ‘Concurrent Cross Validation’, since the Mother Company has been implementing ‘Competency Mapping’ which it generated on its own a few years back. So my job was to check whether the generalized competencies as understood and implemented by Mother Company in all its divisions stands valid when performed individually on a particular division. For the purpose I was given a role profile, and I conducted a Repertory Grid. The final outcome was in agreement with that generated by the Mother Company; and that ended my project.

Now at this organization where I have recently joined as an MT, seeing my internship project; they have thought about implementing the full “Competency Mapping, Assessment and Development” programme. However it has never been implemented before and it shall be in experimental stages. Since I am well acquainted with the ‘Repertory Grid’ technique, I plan to implement it here as well; along with ‘Expert Panel’ technique. Also since I am aware I do not hold the competency to carry out ‘Observation’ technique and ‘Behavioural Event Interview’ or ‘BEI’ technique; due to lack of experience, exposure, and no prior training. And the high costs involved in the process.

The Mapping procedure I understand it pretty well, however am kind of lost when it comes to Assessment and Development. I have been reading books and material from the Internet, which explains how I shall go ahead about it. Yet am confused and feel a little directionless. I am not being able to understand what a Competency Model is, and how to develop it. What factors should I keep in mind before starting Assessment? Do I just focus on the managerial/executive division or do I execute it on the workers of that division too? How shall I define the whole of job role for the department/division I chose? Which departments do I chose, and whether it be just any one as per my choice; or some department/division mission-critical for the organization?

I do understand that Competency Mapping is in its infant stages in India, though many organizations are reconsidering and aligning themselves to the benefits of CM. The costs involved and the time consumption in implementing it just for one department can be pretty overwhelming to the organization; which leads to failure of the process. Thus a proper direction and an outline of what should be done, how it should be done, and being ready with all pros and cons; is the need of the hour.

I request for some help, direction and guidance from the HR people who are aware of ‘Competency Mapping, Assessment and Development’, and who have implemented in their respective organizations.

Thanking you

From India, Bangalore
Hi Akanksha,
I am currently working on a project on competency mapping & assessment. Can you pls tell me how you went about doing it in your company . Also can you share your student project.
Would also be delighted if you could shed some light on concurrent cross validation using repertory grid, and the BEI and Expert panel Techniques.
If you can mail me ur contact no at , I can call you if you wish.
Awaiting your assistance,

From India, Mumbai
Repertory Grid” – George Alexander Kelly was born in (1905-1967) Kansas, U.S.A. With the coming of World War II, Kelly entered the Navy as an aviation psychologist and was placed in charge of the program of training for local civilian pilots. Later he went to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery of the Navy in Washington and remained in the Aviation Psychology Branch until 1945. In that year he was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and in the following year a Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at the Ohio State University.

In 1955, the two-volume work, The Psychology of Personal Constructs, (PCT) was published and gained immediate recognition as a unique and major development in the study of personality. In 1965 he moved to Brandies University where he was appointed to the Riklis Chair of Behavioural Science. Even today no reading in personality theory is complete without the theory of personal constructs developed by Kelly.

The key points of PCT to remember are:
  • Perceptions influence expectations, and expectations influence perceptions.
  • The medium through which this happens is known as the construct system.
  • Construct systems are unique to the individual and develop throughout life.
Repertory Grid will help to draw out and make explicit the expertise that every manager has, and help lay out their problems in such a way that solutions may become more obvious. It allows the interviewer to get a mental map of how the interviewee views the world, and to write this map with the minimum of observer bias. Kelly’s practice is then not to have this map ‘interpreted’ by an expert, who judges where the problems and stresses are; rather Kelly’s approach is to discuss the map with the interviewee, to talk about things that perhaps the interviewee had not faced about himself before, to discuss with the interviewee the survival value of that particular map as a means of navigating around his or her life-space.

The theory of personal construct is being used in multiple applications and understanding it requires substantial reading. How it can be used in competency mapping is explained below from the experience of a famous software company in Bangalore. “In repertory grid technique, respondents were asked to think of the top ten performers and ten poor performers they have witnessed in a role. They were then asked to give behaviours that differentiate the best from the worst. These behaviours were used to create appropriate constructs for arriving at successful behaviours.”

In the repertory grid process the respondents will identify a set of superior performers and another group of ineffective performers. They to justify their identification of people will identify a set of variables:
  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Attitude
  • Ethic
  • Self Concept
  • Appearance, etc
which are associated with superior and average performers.

It is difficult to suggest which method is more useful or more accurate. Some methods are easy to use but quality of data may be inadequate. Some others may yield superior quality data but expensive and time consuming. Certain methods and tools are such that they cannot be used in all the cases. Some jobs may require the use of more than one method or tool for their mapping.

[Naik G P & Rahman S U [2005], Competency Mapping Assessment and Development, Institute of HRD, Bangalore]

Concurrent Cross Validation: The researcher can collect data on second set of sample subjects and have it scored to see if behaviours isolated in the first study about superior and average performers match with the behaviours identified in second study. This is called Concurrent cross validation.

From India, Bangalore
While implementing Repertory Gird, please take care as in first educating the employees, what exactly u r doing? what the technique is looking for, and what r the results expected. Since this is one technique where ppl will jump to conclusions n may feel that by naming people, they will be under the spot. They may also be worried of being punished or getting bad appraisals.[I have had such an experience!]

So u need to make the point very clear that u r looking for the underlying behaviour of superior performers, n NOT looking for people.

The name inclusion is just making ur job easier to identify people....n group the KSA's received for one person, n then for another, etc

Well I'm really sorry I don't have my student project report. My system crashed n I lost data somewhere last December. Also my company hasn't implemented the Competency Mapping procedure. It's first time for them as well. Its all internet n book help, we going to take; though we have changed our direction of working now....we won't be implementing any technique as such now!!! Its going to be like some research!!

From India, Bangalore
Hi Akanksha,
An article which discusses the processes involved in an intervention designed to assess the current organization culture and what might be required to develop competency maps suited to the future development of an organisation is at <link outdated-removed> and might be useful.
It addresses the issue raised by Akanksha concerning focus on what constitutes superior/inferior performance rather than the people.

From New Zealand, Nelson
hai Akanksha,

im haritha doing mba. im also doing a project on competency mapping for a department in an automobile company. frankly speaking, i didint have any knowledge regarding this topic when i started this project. i need ur help because im also in the same position where u are. plz help me. i have collected information regarding the company, then the process flow. then i have constructed the process flow chart and department structure chart. accordingly i have identified the employee and their job descriptions. these job descriptions are given by the company people as well few are my observations. now im stuck up with the assessment. im not able to find the competencies. i just found the skills and competencies that are required with the help of JD. now what should i do? how to find the core and supporting competencies and also how to analyze employee. im just a student now and the very big problem is im running out of time.i should finish my project by this month end. so can you tell some easy and good ways to continue in my project.plz help me.

with regards,


From India, Madras
Dear Haritha ,

You are almost through , just focus on the final assessment part. I found this article , lucid yet interesting and the PDF download link to the book

Article - Implementing competency mapping process, HR Download - Staffing & Compensation,Times Ascent Online <link updated to site home> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google )

Hand Book - the handbook of competency mapping: understanding, designing and implementing competency models in organizations - PDFQueen - PDF Search engine. Free unlimited pdf search and download.

Few more links:

<link outdated-removed> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google )

Mapping Tool - <link outdated-removed> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google )

A set of questions - Competency Mapping

When I was stuck at the assessment part , I spent some time to understand the intricacies of the job . Often employees cant express it and it is not mentioned in the Job Description. This further helped me while distributing the weightage to different competencies.

Wish you all the best.


(Cite Contribution)

From India, Mumbai

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