Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

El discurso por competencias: una propuesta de clarificación conceptual

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
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

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