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ERIC Number: ED530307
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 387
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-0223-0
Ohio State University Extension Competency Study: Developing a Competency Model for a 21st Century Extension Organization
Cochran, Graham Ralph
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
The literature on competency-based human resource (HR) management provides a strong case for moving from a jobs-based to a competency-based approach to human resources. There is agreement in the literature (Dubois, Rothwell, Stern, & Kemp, 2004; Lucia & Lepsinger, 1999) on the benefits of using competencies throughout HR systems and impact has been documented through research with organizations using competencies. Within the Cooperative Extension System, several authors (Maddy, Niemann, Lindquist, & Bateman, 2002; Stone & Bieber, 1997) have recommended using competencies. Competency modeling is a critical first step in implementing a competency-based approach to HR management. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a competency model for a state Extension organization that was transitioning from a jobs-based to a competency-based approach to HR management. Specific research objectives were to: (a) identify and describe competencies required for Extension professionals in Ohio to be successful now and in the future; (b) construct a competency model that includes core competencies, describes what they look like in practice, and reflects organizational preferences; and (c) ensure that the competency model created is a valid one. This study was designed as action research and took place in Ohio State University Extension. Methods were highly participatory and relied on a criterion group of exemplary performers and key internal stakeholders for idea generation, model refinement, and validation. Mixed methods were used with an emphasis on qualitative approaches, including reviews of existing research and gathering data from employees through interviews and group processes. Peer debriefing and survey research were used to validate and further refine the results. The research design included multiple cycles of data gathering, analysis, integration, and peer debriefing in four phases: background review and initial data collection, model development, model refinement and validation, and final review. The findings from this study are represented by two key pieces of information, a list of trends and their implications for Extension work and the "OSUE Competency Model." Five trends (changing and complex conditions, increased competition and limited resources, changing complex organizational structures, changing demographics, and technology and life in the e-world) and seven implications associated with those trends are identified and described. The "OSUE Competency Model" identifies and describes a set of core competencies (including definitions and key actions that further illustrate each), relevant across job groups, that are important now and in the future for OSU Extension employees. The 14 core competencies identified were: communication, continuous learning, customer service, diversity, flexibility and change, interpersonal relationships, knowledge of Extension, professionalism, resource management, self-direction, teamwork and leadership, technology adoption and application, thinking and problem solving, and understanding stakeholders and communities. Each competency is further described using 3 to 8 key actions. Research results are presented documenting that the competency model reflects organizational preferences, has high face and content validity, and has catalytic validity. As action research, this study provided a competency model that will be used and further developed by the participants who constructed it. Recommendations are provided for Ohio State University Extension related to using the model and applying the research results to HR practices. This study also extends the body of knowledge in two ways: by providing a competency model with core competencies designed to cut across the entire organization, of which few exist, for state Extension organizations and by using a criterion group of exemplary performers to construct and validate the model. Implications for practice are shared that focus on the research process, methods used, and potential replication by other organizations. This research documented a process from initial information gathering through validation that could serve as a model for other organizations interested in developing their own competency model as a blueprint for successful performance. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio