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Can competencies at selection predict performance and development needs?

Sutton, AM and Watson, S (2013) Can competencies at selection predict performance and development needs? Journal of Management Development, 32 (9). pp. 1023-1035. ISSN 0262-1711

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the utility of an organisation-wide competency framework, linking competency ratings at selection to later development needs and job performance. Design/methodology/approach – Candidates’ scores at a management selection event were compared to their performance appraisal scores on the same competencies six to 12 months later (n=58). Scores on numeracy and profit and loss tests were also collected at the selection event and related to subsequent performance (n=207) and development needs. Findings – Competency ratings at performance appraisal were significantly lower than at selection interview. Correlations between ratings at interview and at performance appraisal were generally weak, though one (Understanding the Business) showed significant relationships with five of the seven performance appraisal competencies. In addition, competency ratings were related to employee turnover and managerial development needs. Research limitations/implications – Although competencies were clearly defined, inter-rater variations may have occurred which obscure the relationships. However, it is of interest that a single competency at selection (Understanding the Business) seems to have the greatest effect on performance, employment outcome and development needs. Practical implications – A competency framework that is embedded in both selection and performance ratings can provide the organisation with a clearer understanding of what determines managerial success, as well as informing better selection decisions. This study also raises the issue that performance ratings may be influenced more by a manager's ability to understand the business than by any other competencies. Originality/value – The use of a longitudinal design provides unique evidence of the relationship between competency ratings at selection and later performance, employment outcome and development needs.

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