How would you define "Competence"?  I have not been able to locate any definitions and would like direction from ASQ.
10 Replies
Hi Emilie, I would say that competence is simply the ability to perform a skill in a repeatable manner.  You just do it.
Grace Duffy
111 Posts
Good point, Emiie. Competence is not solely a Quality term. I would go to Instructional Design organizations to benchmark definitions there. I do know that Education and Training is a segment of the CMQ/OE Body of Knowledge. We really should add that term to the Glossary. We can check ATD or ISPI documents to see if there is a standard identified in those disciplines. I will make a note. 
This is a ISO terminology. You can find definitions in

As an example, multiple standards define competency as "ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results".
We may have a competency expectation that is for a task that rarely occurs.  An employee can be trained, but how can we confirm "competency" without experiencing the event?
Govindarajan - Thank you for the link.  Although I had searched around the ISO site, I did not find the links this search provided.
Grace Duffy
111 Posts
Interesting thought about experience. Thinking about Bloom's Taxonomy, experience is for levels 3 and up. Do we want to force experience on the recognize and recall levels? Competence includes this, although I suspect goes beyond that scope. 
Emilie, You are welcome. Yes, this link is not widely known. Since I am a USTAG member, I was informed of this link during the international meetings. Happy to share. You can can search more things using the link besides the terminologies. 
Competence also implies that the individual can be trusted to perform the work independently, and under controlled conditions, the outcomes will be predictable and acceptable.

if a competent employee's work is off-spec, that may suggest a problem with the equipment.  For example, if a competent baker followed the correct steps and used the correct settings on the equipment, but burned the bread, that would isolate the cause to either the material or the equipment (i.e. incorrect temperature in oven).
ISO 9000 defines "Competence" as "ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results". You may also take a look at ISO 10018- "Quality management-Guidelines on people involvement and competence. 

Kindest regards-
Grace Duffy
111 Posts
Paul IpolitoDaniel Zrymiak‍ Both good inputs. The ISO definitions are very helpful, since they have been vetted through subject matter experts. Thank you. Also, using the ISO approach gets us closer to "quality" definitions, where my suggestion of ATD or ISPI would be more flavored to Instructional Design. 

You are VERY correct for competence having to do with the environment in which the task is being performed.