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Issue Competence building in organisations
Outline [MT:] Competence building is a complex process in which competencies that are traditionally assumed for their 'exchange value' should also be conceived from their 'use value'. The 'exchange value' refers to individual competencies which are officially recognised, produced through formal processes, and specifically valued in the labour market. The 'use value' refers also to trans-individual competencies which are of a context-specific nature and generated within organisational processes of knowledge creation and use. 
In the 'globalising learning economy' approach some guidelines for a new integrated competence building system are suggested as a result of at least three policy levels:
  • at the firm level every enterprise tends to increase its own knowledge assets, largely based on tacit or context-specific knowledge;
  • the inter-firm level is characterised by inter-firm mobility of employees and by diffused forms of cooperation, alliance and networking among firms;
  • at an overall level synergies have to be reached between social, educational and industrial policies with regard to the social capital reproduction
(based on: Tomassini 2001k, pp. 4, 5).
Debate [NB:] Referring to the distinction between individual competence and collective competence: Education and training seem to privilege individual competence; the individual is certificated as an individual. In the UK, and probably other countries, certificates of competence in work-related skills are awarded to trainees, not work groups. But if we look at knowledge and skills that are useful in a work situation, these have somehow become collective competencies. 
This is especially the case in the so-called learning economy. As we rely more and more on ICT and distributed network-type organisations, the emphasis is more and more on collective competence. Researchers have looked at the ways in which teams perform effectively or ineffectively, and the key capabilities seem to be attributes of  the team which cannot be decomposed into individual competencies. 
A major issue we need to discuss in this cluster is how policies can be developed to manage the transition from individual competence, which seems to dominate the formal educational system, towards collective competence, which seems to be what is required by many innovative approaches to the exploitation of knowledge in companies.
Reference  
Event E&T Cluster: Fiesole Oct 01
Descriptors D-CDO  EP08          V09
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Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO