Operant competence analysis and profiling: a reflection in action learning framework for articulating individual and managerial competences
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This study highlights the need to translate tacit knowledge into job tailored explicit operant competences that can allow the individual managers and their organizations improve performance. The study is built on the review of some the popular competence models used in management of performance in organizations. The study focus is on testing an operant competence analysis and profiling (OCAP) framework which purports to address some of the existing gaps in the reviewed competence models. The key constructs used to test the claims of OCAP include; reflection in action, competence mix, role clarity, job context, adaptability to work environment and performance. The study design was a quasi experimental, non equivalent group design. It involved a pretest (baseline measurement) for two groups (the treatment group and the comparison group) and a posttest. After the pretest the respondents in the treatment group were trained in operant competence analysis and profiling. During the posttest a third group (second comparative group) was included to control for the effects that may arise as a result of interacting with the other groups during the pretest. The study covered nine districts while focusing on all heads of departments and units in those districts. The sample comprised of 56 respondents in group one, 58 respondents in group two and 74 respondents in group three. Quantitative data was collected using a questionnaire. The results were analysed using Pearson product moment correlation, regression analysis, t-test (independent sample and paired sample) and ANOVA. All the hypotheses tested showed that the variables were positively related and significant. When the means of the treatment group at the pretest stage were compared with the means at posttest stage using the paired sample test, the results showed a significant difference with a greater eta effect on all variables. The results indicated that reflection in action enables managers to determine a mix of relevant competences, perceive the work clearly and act proactively when faced with work environmental challenges. Qualitative results generated by the OCAP intervention were managed using Miles and Huberman (1994) qualitative displays and Gibbs (2006) memos of concepts and ideas. The OCAP intervention allowed managers to put emphasis on examining the past experiences, reflect on their actions and modify their operant competences to address the challenges in their work environment as a way of improving performance. The study recommends that employers should regularly provide their employees with continuous opportunity to reflect on actions in their past experiences. In addition employees should periodically review their competence profiles and redefine or modify their job descriptions according the current organization job demands and objectives.