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Competency Management in Golden Age Hospital: Case Study Example

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Boston College
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Case study
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Quality, Ethical, and IT Controls

The current environment in which GAH (Golden Age Hospital) develops its activities is characterized by an increase in the variety, complexity, and sophistication of activities, by a growing socio-cultural diversity, by a strong care pressure and by higher demand in the citizen demand. In this context, providing an excellent health service requires equipping the organization with the systems and tools that allow it to act in an efficient, flexible and multidisciplinary manner.

Since the beginning of its activity, GAH hospital pursues the objective of offering efficient and quality care. Currently, this permanent objective translates into strategic priorities to improve the effectiveness of care, patient satisfaction, efficiency in management, continuity, and coordination over time and among professionals, and the involvement of all the people who are part of the Hospital in the different assistance, teaching and research activities. In this sense, all its actions as a hospital are guided by the vocation to provide an excellent service to society and, in particular, to the more than half a million citizens that make up for its Healthcare Area. The essential factor in the achievement of this commitment is the people that make up the GAH mission hospital since they support the evolution and development of the organization and the intrinsic quality of every one of the services offered.

The design and implementation of a competency management model for GAH hospital responds to the commitment to provide the organization with a system that allows, among other benefits, to structure a comprehensive, systematized and flexible management of its human resources, offering people opportunities for professional and personal growth and actively encourage the continuous development of their skills, as a way to achieve professional excellence and service to the citizen.

Competencies are the reference concept of the model and all the management practices of people associated with it. These competencies derive directly from the strategy of the GAH hospital and collect and support its objectives, values and identify signs of what GAH is currently as a hospital and what it wants to become in the future.

The Model of Competences of GAH Hospital

The competency management model of the GAH hospital is the frame of reference that defines how the organization manages its professionals, which reflects the way in which the hospital understands, structures, describes and manages its competencies and systematizes all practices and management activities that use the competencies (Hax & Majluf, 2008). The model is based on the central concept of competence and is structured around three fundamental pillars: the competency dictionary, the profiles inventory and the development guide.

The competencies of GAH hospital are:

Individuals of the Golden Mission Hospital: They are specific to this Hospital and specific to our activity, objectives, strategy, history, culture, and values.

Strategic: They are directly derived from the objectives and strategy of the GAH Hospital.

Generic Applicable to the entire organization, which favors a common language and a unique address.

Located in the person. Inherent in people and not in positions.

Observables Demonstrable and, therefore, measurable and valuable. They are identified as a requirement for the performance of activities and are measured in people.

Indicate probability of efficient performance. The possession of competencies does not necessarily guarantee an adequate execution of the activities (since other internal and external factors, such as interest, development conditions, etc.) intervene, but they do foresee a probability relation between the characteristics of the people and the achievement of results.

Oriented to present and future. Appropriate to the current reality and the future evolution of the Hospital.

Temporary Susceptible to evolve, as the organization and its environment, do, and, therefore, updatable and renewable.

Classification of competencies

The competency dictionary of the GAH hospital includes a total of 22 competencies that are structured according to the following classification:

The competency dictionary of the GAH hospital includes a total of 22 competencies that are structured according to the following classification (Vergara & Bisama, 2010):

A) Strategic competences

They are those competencies that derive from the particular professional activity of the GAH hospital and are especially linked to their mission and their values.

Patient orientation.

Orientation to the internal client.

Professional ethics and exemplariness.

The global vision of the GAH hospital.

Innovation and continuous improvement.

Knowledge orientation.

Facilitation of change.

B) Personal competencies

These are competencies that refer to the aspects that should be specific to the professionals that make up the Hospital, both in its dimension and in its interaction with others.

Maturity and emotional balance.

Initiative and professionalism.

Learning and individual development.



Resistance to stress

Management and resolution of conflicts.

Management of diversity.

The direction of people and equipment.

Development of people.

C) Functional competences

These are competencies linked to the operations and day-to-day processes of the GAH hospital.

Operational competence

Organization and job planning.

Resource management.

Orientation to objectives and results.

Management of external relations.

Competency and Control profiles

The competence profiles of GAH hospital have the following characteristics (Ministry of Health, 2009):

Referrals to posts, and not to the person. The profiles describe the position to which they are associated, and not the person who occupies that position at a given time.

Related to the necessary competencies to perform the position. The profiles describe the positions regarding competences and, therefore, do not refer directly to the functions or simply a list of the activities or tasks that must be executed in each of the positions associated with the profile.

Defined by organizational factors. The profiles are defined according to the mission of the position, its area of activity or specialization, its scope of specific responsibility and its differentiated contribution to the achievement of the strategic objectives of the organization.

Without univocal correspondence between profiles and posts. In general, the same profile is associated with several different positions, which although they do not imply the execution of the same functions or activities, do share the same requirements, regarding competencies, to be performed.

Concerning the development. The profiles intend to work as useful instruments mainly for the development of professionals. A profile in no case is equivalent to a position and, therefore, the profile lacks the organizational, hierarchical, remunerative, etc., effects of a position.

Not necessarily composed of all competencies. Not all competencies defined in the competency dictionary are necessarily required for the performance of all positions. Therefore, within a profile, you can find competencies that do not apply to that profile.

Linked to a specific area and not susceptible of direct comparison. The competences from which the profiles are defined are generic for all positions in the organization. However, the interpretation of the profile must be made in light of the specific content of the position to which it is associated. In this sense, an automatic and direct comparison between the competences and degrees of the different profile families is not possible.

The essential competencies of an organization or core competencies come from the set of knowledge incorporated in those areas that are specific to it and that are present both in the organization as a whole and in its constituent units. They are the main responsible for the generation of the value of any organization. This central and dynamic task of the hospital must be carried out according to the resources available and the feasible development of the specialties (Sanchez & Labbe, 2005). Its frontier is the maximum resolutive capacity before moving to the next level of attention, and its floor is the maximum resolutive capacity of the previous level. Its composition - the mix of services - must be fully in tune with the needs of the population, must be explicit to the interior of the hospital to give a signal of ordering of production functions and the use of associated resources and must generate production commitments (goals) to measure results. A public hospital that has a defined and specific service portfolio and is oriented to its production is a more governable hospital and more transparent in its management.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The development guide of GAH hospital is one of the key elements of the competency management model. The guide contains a wide range of learning actions that are useful for the professionals of the organization to acquire, develop and share their skills. At GAH hospital, they understand the learning and development of competencies as a shared responsibility between each of our professionals and the hospital itself. In this sense, the person is not a passive subject in their development, nor a mere listener or assistant, but plays a crucial role in their evolution. For its part, the hospital must build an environment that favors learning, and make available to the professional means and tools that support its development. In this sense, the objective of the development guide is to provide the professionals of the GAH hospital with guidance on how to learn and effectively develop strategic, personal and functional competencies.

Likewise, the guide has a double function and a double addressee. On the one hand, it aims to serve as a tool of self-development to all people who are part of the hospital, supporting them and guiding them in their continuous advancement of competences. On the other hand, it intends to function as a directory of possible alternatives for hospital professionals who are involved in some way in the management and development of people and who, therefore, decide or design to a certain extent the means and learning tools that the Hospital implements (for example, training technicians, human resources technicians, team leaders in all areas, etc.).Therefore, the development guide does not establish a training plan or a program of training activities but rather suggests a series of learning actions that are useful when covering gaps and development needs. Therefore, the list of learning tools included in the guide should not be a closed list, but rather a broad sample that must be modified, expanded and adapted to the needs of the GAH mission hospital.



European Observatory of Health Systems and Policies. (2009). Capital Investments for Health.

Case Studies from Europe. The Alzira Model: hospital de la Ribera, Valencia, Spain. Observatory Studies Series No. 18, Chapter 2

Hax H, Majluf N. (2008) Strategies for Competitive Leadership. Editorial Granica, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ministry of Health. (2009) Self-managed Network Establishments (EAR). Network hospital self-management implementation plan

Sanchez H. & J. Labbe, (2005) Editors. Institute of Public Policies and Health and Future Management. Andres Bello University.

Vergara M, Bisama L. (2010) Hospitable Self-Management in Network II: The Method. Chilean Journal of Public Health, 14: 52-8.


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