Often, the terms competence and skill are used to describe the same thing. Recently, I have read an Academic article describing an equation to proxy the construct of competency, showing that skills as they are currently defined are only one component to calculate competence as the ability of an individual to (out)perform on a given task (e.g. Fulfillment of requirements to fit onto a particular Job-description). I believe the variables included could be manifold. However netter starting with a few first constructs that can be broken down into smaller – but actionable and more tangible – pillars, than not starting…
Skills are normally understood as a learned capacity to carry out a certain tasks within the limits of a particular resource (e.g. time, energy) to maximum certainty and efficiency. Competencies however are more a set of of behaviors or actions needed to be successful in a given context.
as defined above, can be understood as an ability trough knowledge or experience / practice.
Generally three different areas of skills are distinguished:
- Personal / Life-skills
- e.g. Persuasion, Commitment, Networking, Communication, Digital Literacy, Numeracy
- Professional / Entrepreneurial Skills (are normaly divided between Domain General and Job Specific skills
- Domain General: e.g. Time Management, Leadership
- Job Specific: e.g. Design, Community Management
- Functional Skills
is the practical or theoretical understanding of a subject. First one needs to be aware of something, than one can become familiar of something (e.g. how to use something), and then eventually understands how something works. The knowledge function is especially important if we look further into the hierarchy of different levels of skills.
An attitude is “a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols” (Hogg, & Vaughan 2005, p. 150). While attitudes include a behavioral component, there is not necessarily a fix outcome relationship between these.
Attitudes are formed by three pillars (The so called ABC Model of Attitudes):
Affective component: how a individual feels about something (e.g. “I am afraid of job interviews”)
Behavioral component: the way the attitude we have, influences our behaviour (e.g. “I am all swett and start to shiver when I enter the interview room”)
Cognitive component: this is about a person’s belief and/or knowledge about an attitude object. (e.g. “I believe I don’t have the right profile for this position”)
Attitudes can have several functions they serve an individual:
Knowledge function – predict an outcome
Self- / Ego-espressive function – communicate (who you are or what you want to be)
Adaptive function – social status / acceptance
Ego-defensive function – protect (one-self)
The basic idea behind the functional approach to attitudes is, that these can help a person to mediate between their own inner needs (e.g. expression, defense) and the outside world (adaptive and knowledge).
Competences are heavily influenced by experience, self-esteem, and reflection.
Depending on a given combination oft he above mentioned aspects, a competence as a set of behaviors can be seen as an asset. Competences are however combined into domains. E.g. in order to be employable, an individual needs to show a combination of competences. As eventually tons of external “noise” and individual interests may have an impact on how these assets are deployed in a given situation, employability is (and all other competence bundles are) context dependent.
Hogg, M., & Vaughan, G. (2005). Social Psychology (4th edition). London: Prentice-Hall.