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Competency Framework Developed for Site Administration Officers in a Sri Lankan Construction Company

Abstract

This case study research was conducted to address the prevalence of ineffective performance management tools and practices that negatively impact the individual work performance (IWP) of site administrative officers in one of the highest-graded construction companies in Sri Lanka by developing a competency framework. Thirty competencies were empirically tested based on the opinion of both administration officers and their direct supervisors, namely project managers using two online questionnaires to ascertain desired, actual, and competency gaps. They were further analysed based on their degree of contribution to the successful performance and their difficulty in improving to create a simplified four -grid competency model, uncovering key, supportive, threshold-trainable and threshold-hardly-trainable competencies, providing important insights for effective recruitment and selection, performance management, training, and career development. Several established models were adopted in the competency framework development process, considering both empirical and thematic aspects. The ability to create trust-building relationships was found to be the key competency that differentiates best performers, along with initiative, stress-tolerance, responsibility, and achievement-orientation as the other key competencies useful as evaluative criteria for IWP. Emotional awareness, commitment, and optimism were found as threshold-hardly-trainable competencies that any administrative officer should embody, making them a predictive criterion in recruitment and selection. The study effectively addressed a theoretical gap of an evidence-based competency framework for the target job role with a Weighted Proficiency Rating (WPR) which could be used as a reference for other highest-graded Sri Lankan construction companies despite its inability to generalise the findings to a broader population due to the limited scope of the study which certainly makes an avenue for inclusive further research. The development of a competency profile, a competency framework, and a simplified competency model for construction administrative officers providing evaluative and predictive criteria for several HRM functions are the major contributions of the study.

Keywords: Competency Framework, Competency Model, Administration Officer, Construction, Weighted Proficiency Rating