Benefits of a Generic Competency Dictionary

Generic competency dictionaries

are essential when developing multiple competency models within the same organization, to ensure that common skills and characteristics are always described with the same competency names. The organization reviews and revises a set of generic competencies, which then serve as building blocks for the construction of the individual competency models. Whenever a competency is used, it has the same general definition, but the behavioral descriptors can vary from one job to the next.

A generic competency dictionary has several uses in model building.

1) It provides a common conceptual framework or starting point for the model building team. The framework is useful in categorizing initial ideas about job requirements, and the model building team can modify or add to the framework.

2) The framework can be used in a resource panel by asking participants to rate the importance of a set of generic competencies selected for relevance to the job.

3) The framework can be used to guide the analysis of critical/behavioral event interviews.

Model builders can use a generic competency framework to note and record each instance of each generic competency. The analyst uses a spreadsheet to record the interviewer’s initials, the page number from the transcript, a paraphrase of the significant behavior, and the names and numbers of relevant generic competencies and behavioral indicators.

The data from each analyst’s spreadsheet is combined to create a database that can be sorted in multiple ways. A list of all instances of a generic competency and its individual behavioral indicators, and the number of instances of each element of the generic dictionary can be quickly tabulated. The final model is not limited to concepts from the generic competency dictionary. A competency can be conceptualized by drawing from more than one of the generic competencies; and some times new competencies unrelated to any of the existing generic ones are identified.

Details about Workitect’s Competency Dictionary


For additional information, call 800-870-9490, email or use the contact form at  Workitect.

2019-07-11T18:32:27+00:00September 25th, 2012|Competencies|2 Comments

About the Author:

Ed is President of Workitect, Inc. and has over forty years of experience helping companies effectively utilize their organizational and human resources. His experience includes senior consultant roles with Achieve Global and Hay/McBer. Workitect is the leader in competency-modeling and competency-based talent management.


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