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SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT METACOMPETENCES

For the dynamic organizations in the future three metacompetences will appear to be of central meaning cooperation competence, change competence and learning competence.

Cooperation competence as a core competence for developing organizations consists of a set of different capabilities, emotional and cognitive attitudes (modified from Oelsnit & Graf, 2006). (1) cooperation competence requires behavior-related capabilities on the interpersonal level— such as the abilities to communicate, to handle conflict and to recognize and accept various perspectives. (2) capabilities for practical cooperation management are needed: that is, knowledge of how to choose a partner for cooperation, how cooperation can be steered, and which working structures call for cooperation. (3) however, cooperation competence also requires a person to have a specific emotional attitude: Cooperation must be emotionally desired; there must be sufficient inner motivation to consider the cooperation meaningful. This is due to the fact that, on an emotional level, cooperation can be understood in highly different ways: as "employment of others to reach my goals" or as "something that one simply does" or as "a way to generate more sense and value through the combination of different resources." (4) it requires a particular cognitive attitude: the person must be intellectually convinced that cooperation as a respectful consideration of various interests makes more sense than subordinating one partner to the other ("If you want us to cooperate with you, then you must follow our principles!"). In particular, the level of attitudes is increasingly relevant for organizations and is discussed under the term "personality."

The subject of change competence has two theoretical approaches: First, one can have the attitude that one is convinced of one's own approach to change. In this case one is change-competent if one has the "right" approach. One can, however, also have the attitude that, both for organizations and for people, there are totally different approaches, which coexist and which are to be understood and, when possible, integrated. In this second case, one is change-competent if one recognizes these differences cognitively and emotionally, can deal with them, and is flexible in their implementation (Caluwe & Vermaak 2003; Untermarzoner, 2007). Dynamic organizations need fewer and fewer people who are convinced of their own approaches ("This model is the best; you only have to understand it") and more and more people who can cognitively understand and integrate multifaceted approaches to change ("In this situation we could do this; the other situation requires a completely different approach to change").

The subject of learning will also require specific forms of learning competence in the future. Learning is no longer to be considered as the accumulation of cognitive content, but rather as the discovery of new worlds. Learning is a process, which leads, via uncertainty, to new abilities; one must travel beyond the path of existing abilities through the unknown. This "unknown," which actually is a "not-yet-known," is highly unpleasant for most people. An encounter with something new brings about familiar negative feelings such as fear or anger; when certainty dissolves, the learner, in this phase of "I can't," becomes unstable. Learning competence is the capability and attitude of opening oneself to what is new and allowing uncertainty to happen. Dynamic organizations need fewer people who "already know it all"; rather they need more people with a high attitude towards reflecting and acting, as well as the readiness to develop themselves as important instruments of change. This competence as the cornerstone for the future of organizational development is within the international organizational development community also conducted under the term "the self as instrument" (Cheung-Judge, 2001).

 
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