[Retracted] The discourse on competences: A proposal for conceptual clarification

Ignasi Brunet Icart, Liviu Catalin Mara


Purpose: Since the literature on professional competences is profuse and diffuse and, conceptually, there is no broad consensus regarding the meaning of the concept of competence, this article aims to synthetically present the debate around the terms competence and qualifications, its implications and its intellectual value, in order to help clarify the above discussion, contextualize the arguments about the discourse on competences in a time and a place and establishing a concept of the object of study.

Design/methodology: The methodology used is the comparative analysis of the proposals and perspectives on competences and qualifications through the interpretation of texts. It is not so much about juxtaposing isolated propositions of the various proposals, as it is about finding in them a common body of theoretical and systematic reasoning that can be traced by analyzing the speeches.

Findings: The article determines and clarifies the concept of competence, distinguishing it from the concept of qualification, insisting that the former has questioned the value of academic qualifications in predicting job performance. In addition, this article proposes an integrated perspective regarding the conceptualizations of competences, as attributes or as performance.

Research limitations/implications: The discourse on competences has been extended at the same time as pro-business values. In this regard, it is very interesting to note that critical analyses about the meaning and function that acquires today business management give more importance to the conduct of "managing", in the sense that it is increasingly assumed the great influence of the "management" in the reproduction and transformation of organizational life. Moreover, the debate of redesigning the qualifications in terms of competences, at the university level, is not only technical, primarily, is political and ideological: what should be the role of the university in relation to training and the kind of professionalism.

Originality/value: In a context in which the training based on competences becomes the main component of education systems, this work helps to identify and clarify some concepts for the purposes of their operationalization in empirical research that we are conducting at the moment.


Competence, Qualification, Qualities, Performance, Results

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/ic.771

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2021

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience