Is There Any Difference Between a Competence and a Competency?

Core Competence
Knowledge Center


Yeshna Ramchurn
Student (University)

Is There Any Difference Between a Competence and a Competency?

Is there any difference between an organizational / strategic competence and a competency? In other words are competences the same as competencies?


Manager, Botswana

Summary of Core Competence

Great point, I think they are the same. They are both an ability to do something well and doing it against a set standard.

Luigi Bergamo
Management Consultant, Italy

Competence versus Competency

Competence" means having legitimacy to do anything (i.e., having competence to sign the contract). "Competency" means to possess knowledge, skills and attitudes (know, do, be) appropriate to perform task competently (i,e.,to sign a contract you have to know how to write) 😀.

Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Competence or Competency

In my view, they are the same. In practice, you'll see both terms "competence" and "competency" used interchangeably. Although some people claim there is a very small theoretical difference.
In common day to day parlance, a COMPETENCE is a capability or a set of abilities or qualifications possessed by a person to perform a particular task successfully.
And a COMPETENCY is also the mental capacity or "characteristics—knowledge, skills, mindsets, thought patterns, and the like—that when used whether singularly or in various combinations, result in successful performance". Dubois, D. (Ed.) (1998), The Competency Casebook. Amherst, MA.
In Human Resources Management, a competency often refers to the description of how things have to be done and at what level in order to successful perform a job.

You normally find the terms used to indicate a capability of a PERSON, but in management (organizational development, strategy) we also use the term for a capability of an ORGANIZATION, at an organizational level. For example in the core competence-concept.


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Core Competence
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