The Model of Cohesions between Career and Competence


  • Virginija Chreptaviciene Kaunas University of Technology
  • Jovita Starkute Kaunas University of Technology


career, contemporary and traditional career, competence, competence levels.


In the concept of traditional career the success is measured by objective criteria (status, the position taken, obtained income, etc.). The contemporary success of career is defined by more subjective criteria – satisfaction with the activity performed, implementation of inner potential, implementation of life goals, etc. the realisation of the latter career is related to the quality of person’s competence, its development, re-qualification. Only when possessing the competence of proper level, a person, according to Bridges (1994, will be able ‘to change the course’ in his / her life by considering market needs as well as the goals of personal self-realization.Environmental changes adjusted the system of organization’s and employees’ values, and especially the viewpoint to career. Contemporary career is treated as sequence of individual’s roles based on the work, experience, increased responsibility (Baruch, 2006), regular interaction with other people, production of new knowledge and work forms as well as generation of ideas (Arthur, Rousseau, 2001), independence from a particular organization (Greenhouse, 2000). Such changes in understanding career, as Brown, Scase (1997) state, require universal technical, social and personal competences, but not specific skills. The latter do not lose their importance, but are treated only as one part of individual’s competence. As activity environments get more complex, the successful activity cannot be explained only by collection of possessed specific skills. Complex unique situations provoke premeditated and conscious behaviour. In this case, the person’s competence is considered because, according to Jucevicius (1998), unstable not-established model of contemporary career in an organization requires individual’s autonomy; however it is meaningful only when it is based on competence. Autonomy at work, according to Norman (1983), is understood as the case when the greatest satisfaction of person’s life is found in performing certain activity, for which a person has to use all his / her creative abilities, to show emotions, solidarity. Grin (1991) states that becoming autonomous at work is the process when the personality integrates because it sees all activities as elements of personal planning and reviews all its experiences as giving the basis for the implementation of personal expectations and goals. In respect of contemporary career individual’s autonomy is one of the conditions of career success because self-knowledge, independence, sense of responsibility and development ensures not only harmony of person’s and environment’s interaction but also the possibility of career development. Thus, in striving for career competence is the main requirement.A person striving for career at an organization faces the complex assignments possessing elements of tactics and strategy, to perform which he / she has to show abilities to handle increasing information flow, to think appropriately, to fast and qualitatively solve complex problems. This needs the competence of a certain level: the more complex activity (for example, requiring analytical thinking), the higher competence level is.Considering the importance of competence level in respect of career, competence is defined as ability to apply for practical situations principles and techniques of certain activity (Nickols, 2000), a wide list of high-level skills and behaviours, which determines the ability to successfully act in complex unforeseen situations (Westera, 2001) as well as the set of personal traits, behaviour and features, which is necessary for successful performance of the work (Abraham, 2001).Thus, the changing concept of career allows offering appropriate perspectives for career estimation referring to competence levels. At each career stage employee’s competence is evaluated: readiness to perform an assignment / activity as well as competence level. The career based on the identification of competence levels shows that it is not enough to possess only certain competence, it is important to determine a competence level as well as to identify what competences lack.In a career process a constant growth of employee’s competence initiates emergence of a new activity or creation of the new work, which requires from an acting person to apply the possessed competence for the conditions of the new activity or to be able to critically evaluate own experience and to learn if an activity situation changes. Thus, these levels emphasize not only results but also in striving for a higher level possibilities of development of new activities – competence – emerge. The level of employee’s competence depends not only on the functions being performed, activity results achieved, improvement of the work process, abilities constantly being developed, sharing of new knowledge, experience with organization’s employees, but also on obligations for the organization, the level or responsibility manifestation, the degree of the responsibility taken by an employee. In this case the identification of the levels of career and competence is purposeful and necessary.In order to theoretically substantiate the change of competence levels as well as to distinguish the criteria characteristic for each level, every competence level is equated to career stages. All career stages, according to Greenhous, Callanan, Godshalk (2000), show that an employee advances by constantly moving through all stages, which present appropriate assignments and challenges. The competence levels distinguished by Bowden, Marton, (1998, 2003), Jucevičienė, Lepaitė (2000) correlate with the fours career stages distinguished by Dalton, Thompson (1986), in which the relation between the age of an individual and the position taken is emphasized, it is shown how employees move from one stage to another within an organization (fours stages). Such movement conditions activity changes, the change of functions as well as competence growth. The growth of a competence level is ensured by career possibilities.The designed model of interface of competence levels and career stages (see Figure 2.) reflects how competence enables acting in different contexts of the activity as well as constantly changing activity conditions and it influences individual’s career. Competence levels correlate with four career stages, in which the relation between the age of an individual and the position taken is pointed out, it is shown how employees move from one career stage to another within an organization. As employee’s competence grows, the possibilities for career increase.Thus as conditions change and new activities emerge, which require from an acting person to adjust the possessed competence under conditions of a new activity or to be able to critically evaluate own experience and to learn if the activity situation changes; the competence level also changes. Each career stage needs assessment of employee’s competences: readiness to perform the work and a competence level. The greater it is, the better career planning skills and greater possibilities for career are.

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