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Opening up the 'black box' of Competence Development Implementation: - How the process of Competence Development Implementation is structured in the Swedish debt-collection industry.
Halmstad University, School of Business and Engineering (SET).
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In spite of the need for organisations to develop competencies among its employees as a source for gaining competitive advantage, and in spite of previous research efforts to find out what contributes to it and the effects of it, the process of Competence Development (CD) implementation is still a ‘black box’, whose internal linkages are unknown. Furthermore it is noticed in previous research that there is a lack of empirically-based research in organisations, and the purpose of this dissertation is therefore to explore the process of CD implementation, as perceived by employees within the debt-collection industry of Sweden.


A case-study on a Swedish Debt-Collection Company was conducted, and data collected through interviews with employees and managers, in order to find out how the process of CD implementation is structured. In order to investigate the internal linkages in the process an extensive literature review was performed in the field of CD, and used for developing a conceptual model, showing how the various stages interact and depend upon each other in gaining competence among its employees. The model was then tested empirically and the findings suggest that the CD implementation was structured mostly in line with the model, although adjustments had to be made.


The findings suggest that in the process of CD implementation conceptualisation of CD plans and selection of participants is conducted in one integrated step and not two distinct steps, as suggested in previous literature. Performance Management and Reflection- and Evaluation are not conducted in two steps but more or less simultaneously. Furthermore, this study suggests that it is the organisation’s responsibility to provide a foundation, opportunities and resources that enable CD, while the employees themselves set the standard for how much they will take advantage of it. Therefore this study argues that if employees can have input and influence on each stage of the process, better outcomes will be provided since it will be aligned with their objectives, personal and professional.


Up to this point, the process of CD implementation has been a ‘black box’, a mechanism that generates a certain level of output but whose internal workings are unknown. It is important to open up that box and to understand how CD operates to produce superior performance for an organisation. The findings in this study help to bridge that gap better, and are useful for managers conducting and implementing Human Resource practices that aim to develop competencies among the company’s workforce in order to gain better performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 73 p.
Keyword [en]
Competence Development;Resource-Based View; Organisational Learning;Competence Development Implementation; Sweden
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-23522OAI: diva2:647002
Subject / course
Available from: 2013-09-11 Created: 2013-09-10 Last updated: 2013-09-11Bibliographically approved

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