Organizational competency

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Ability of an organization to meet its objectives effectively and efficiently through the interaction of: people having the appropriate explicit, implicit and tacit knowledge and skills, behaviours and culture, processes, procedures, systems and technology and organizational structure in its given environment. Combination of human capital, organizational capital and technical capital that it must possess.


Organizational competency can be viewed using an intellectual capital model. It consists of human, structural and relational capital. Each of these components of intellectual capital can exist on different levels starting from individuals and ending to core competences which are the organization's key success factors. These two ways of describing organizational competency are combined in Fig 2.


Core, collective and individual competencies

Each of the components of organizational competency described in the previous section can appear on different levels in the organization. Fig 1 depicts a model presented in Ref [1] where organizational competency is described in terms of strategic core competencies, collective competencies and competencies of the individuals.

Fig 1. Strategic, core and individual competencies

Strategic core competencies are the organization’s underlying key success factors. They include competencies that enable the organization’s good performance, e.g. the processes through which the organization learns, coordinates its tasks and utilizes its competencies. In terms of intellectual capital described in the previous section, strategic core competencies can be relational, human or structural capital or a combination of them.

The second competency level, collective competencies, is the team level competencies. These competencies include the technical competency related to team’s tasks, the interpersonal competency related to collaboration connected to the tasks and the knowledge sharing culture which is the interaction that has no direct connection to tasks but enables e.g. building trust in the team and between teams. Collective competencies can be e.g. the combination of the task related technical competencies in the team, the way work is coordinated, the way the team utilises its individual competencies or the way team communicates within the team and with the rest of the organization. Collective competencies also enable task related technical collaboration, e.g. via overlapping individual competencies, and trust building between the team members and with other teams. The collective competencies can be human, structural or relational capital.

The third competency level is individual or role-based competencies. Developing core competencies and collective competencies often requires developing individual competencies. This document does not, however, deal with managing individual competencies. They are dealt with in other IAEA documents [2,3,4]

The competency levels are not independent of each other. The upper levels affect the lower levels and vice versa. Developing the strategic core competencies will set needs for developing collective or individual competencies. The requirement for individual competencies should follow from the tasks of the working group or the organization and thus from the collective competencies or the core competency. The group or individual level competencies can also affect the upper level competencies. For example, the individual competency of a person with a wide experience from NPP processes can be the bases of a collective competency (people who act as connectors between different groups), or in an R&D-organization, the special individual competencies can be the bases for the success factors of the whole organization.

Combined model

The two models of organizational competency described in the previous sections view the same phenomena from different angles. Each component of intellectual capital can be a core, collective or individual competency. Fig 2 illustrates a combination of the two views.

Fig 2 Organizational competency


[1] Javidan, M., Core Competence: What Does It Mean in Practice, Long Range Planning,Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 60-71, (1998).

[2] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Workforce Planning for New Nuclear Power Programs, IAEA Nuclear Energy Series no NG-T-3.10 IAEA Vienna (2011).

[3] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Managing Human Resources in the Field of Nuclear Energy, IAEA Nuclear Energy Series no NG-G-2.1 IAEA Vienna (2009).

[4] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Analysis Phase of Systematic Approach to Training (SAT) for Nuclear Plant Personnel, IAEA-TECDOC-1170 IAEA Vienna (2000).

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