3.1. Production Indicators
The first aspect analyzed was the document typology from the files retrieved in the WoS and Scopus databases. This analysis showed that 295 (51.66%) from the 571 records retrieved were published in Proceedings and 276 (48.34%) were published in Journals. This result shows that Conferences are important channels for sharing investigations on competence-based management. This result also reinforces Glänzel et al.’s [42
] argument that the publication in conference proceedings is of great relevance for the studies in engineering and applied sciences, because these fields are not appropriately covered in journals of the area.
presents the amount of documents retrieved per year.
Most of the occurrences of papers that address competence-based management were published between the years of 2010 and 2011. It is worth noticing that, in Figure 1
, competencies have become a recurrent theme in the literature to a significant extent since the year of 2005—until 2004, only 87 papers, 15.24% of the total, had already been published. To a certain extent, this increase in the amount of papers published in the year of 2005 is due to the publication of issue 83 of the journal Public Administration, as it was dedicated to the topics of “competencies” and competence-based management. The oldest paper on this subject corresponds to a paper by Albanese [43
], published in the Journal of Management Development in 1989, entitled Competency-based Management Education. This paper highlights the premises of education in competence-based management and presents its emergence in the educational context. Regarding the languages of these studies, 519 of them, or 90.89% of the papers retrieved were published in English.
presents the publisher, the country of origin, and the impact factor (IF) of the 14 journals that have published the most articles about the theme studied here.
A total of 276 papers have been published in 200 distinct journals, while only 21.74% of this total has been published in journals that accepted three or more papers about competence-based management. The Research in Competence-Based Management is the journal that has published the most papers about this topic, which seems natural, considering that its main concern is competence-based management followed by some peripheral subjects such as entrepreneurship, innovation, and organization diversification. This indicates that the Prévot et al. [7
] study, which analyzed all the papers published in this journal between the years of 1994 and 2005, has taken into consideration competence-based management, and also themes that are related to it.
presents the title of the conferences that have published the most papers addressing competence-based management.
The European conference on knowledge management (ECKM) was the main conference for the publication of papers related to this area. This performance showcases the direct relation between competence-based management and knowledge management, as the former is part of the latter. This occurs because competence-based management seeks to plan, capture, develop, and assess, at the different levels of the organization, the necessary competences to the accomplishment of its goals. Knowledge management, in turn, acts in a complementary way, identifying the knowledge that people have and providing the means for the development, transfer, and use of this knowledge.
The analysis of which countries are most productive in competence-based management took into account the institutional address of the authors, as is shown in Table 7
. To analyze such information, it is important to highlight that we count when multiples authors from the same country appeared as authors in a paper only once.
Germany, France, United Kingdom, and the United States are the countries that have published the most articles about this theme. In a similar way, Prévot et al. [7
] have identified the United States, United Kingdom, and France as three of the five most productive countries in the scope of competence-based management and its related fields. Nevertheless, while Prévot et al.’s [7
] research has identified 21 different countries associated with this topic of research, this study has identified 65 countries. Based on this dispersion, it is possible to infer that the scientific production in competence-based management is expanding, mainly in countries that do not have research tradition on this area.
presents the results of the analysis of institutions associated with these papers.
The results indicate that there is no single institution leading the research on this topic, similarly to what Prévot et al. [7
] had found. Nevertheless, Europe is the continent where the institutions that publish the most about competence-based management are based, as 7 out of the 8 most productive institutions are located in this continent.
In order to identify the most productive authors in competence-based management, it was necessary, initially, to manually standardize the data, as the information related to authorship was presented in distinct forms in the two databases. At WoS, for instance, Marinita Schumacher is presented as “Schumacher M”, while at Scopus the author is indicated as “Schumacher, M.”. Table 9
presents the results obtained.
The eight most productive authors work in European institutions. They are connected to universities and research institutes related to different specialties, and each of them have published six or more papers. On the other hand, 82.82% of the authors have published only one paper. Table 9
also shows that all the most productive authors have h-index 4 or higher (according Scopus, at September, 2019). This metric measures the researcher productivity and also the citation impact of their publications. So, if the researcher has h-index 4, this means that the scientist has published at least four papers that have each been cited at least four times.
The identification of the subjects that are most addressed in the papers that compose this research corpus was conducted using the keywords that the authors have attributed to the papers, and also the keywords that the databases have attributed to the papers. Table 10
presents the occurrences of frequent keywords and the percentage of its presence in relation to the total amount of papers (n = 571).
Competence management is the most often-used term to describe the papers, followed by knowledge management, which reinforces the existing bond between competence-based management and knowledge management, as previously discussed. Management and competency management also appear in the top positions, and they highlight the managerial character of competence-based management, as well as one of its terminological variations. About this variations, Moghabghab et al. [44
] highlights that “competence” can be understand as a capability for consistently integrating the required knowledge, skill, and judgments, while “competency” can be understood as a component of knowledge, skill, and/or judgment demonstrated by an individual. Table 10
also highlights that the search phrase “competenc* management” was most frequently associated with computer sciences and informational systems terms, such as ontology, semantic web, e-learning, and knowledge-based systems, after 2006. This reinforces the connection that was established between these research topics, and also the technology evolution that enabled the utilization of these applications.
Based on the bibliometric mapping of the keywords that were used 20 times or more in the papers represented in the corpus, a network of 28 terms was generated. In this network, the strength of the relationship between the words is presented by the thickness of the lines. Figure 2
presents the network developed.
Competence management is the term that has a stronger relation with the other terms in the diagram and, together with the terms knowledge management and management, compose the core of this research area. Complementarily, the relations that competence-based management establish with human resource management, personnel training, project management, industry, and ontology can be highlighted, as these associations emphasize different contexts of use of this management method.
In addition to the core of competence-based management, composed by the terms knowledge management, competence management, and management, it was also possible to identify four other macro-categories by the grouping of the other keywords. Those are: computer sciences and informational systems; human resources management; strategic management, which is highly related to the core; and industrial relations and labor.
3.2. Collaboration Indicators
Collaboration between countries was identified based on the professional addresses of the authors of each paper in international co-authorship. Table 11
presents the results observed in 541 papers, as the address information was not available in thirty papers that composed the corpus.
It is possible to notice that the most papers (85.21%) were written by authors established in one country, which indicates that international collaboration is not a widely spread practice. Figure 3
represents the interaction between the countries of the authors who have conducted studies in collaboration.
shows that the United States and France are the countries that have the most papers in collaboration with other countries—24 papers were elaborated in collaboration with at least one American or French author. On the other hand, the most productive countries (Germany and France) did not establish international partnerships that address competence-based management.
The collaboration between institutions has also been identified based on the professional addresses available on the papers.
shows that 39.56% of the papers had interinstitutional collaboration, which makes this type of collaboration more widespread than international collaborations. The collaborations between institutions that have published one or more papers addressing competence-based management is shown in Figure 4
, which presents the bibliographic map generated based on interinstitutional collaborations.
Collaborations between institutions do not configure a dense collaboration network. This characteristic can be justified by the fact that there is not a leading research institution in this area—an aspect that decentralizes the studies and minimizes the possibilities of experiences’ exchanges. It is important to note, in Figure 4
, the high incidence of papers in collaboration with the European space agency (ESA) and the companies Terma GmbH (Darmstadt, Germany) and Serco GmbH (Darmstadt, Germany), which are specialized in aerospace products and services management, respectively, which reinforces these collaborations.
presents the amount of authors per paper, except for six registers, in which the authorship information was not available.
The majority of papers (78.76%) contain two or more authors, which supports what is argued by Glänzel and Schubert [45
], that there is a tendency in all areas for publications to have co-authorship. From these papers, 34.87% were elaborated by two authors. Besides, it stands out that the mean of authors per article is 2.55 (with a standard deviation of 1.34), not taking into consideration the study that had 128 members of a life sciences committee as authors.
In order to identify these networks of co-authorship, the collaborations made between those who have published three or more papers about the same subject of research were identified. Figure 5
represents the bibliometric mapping made based on this analysis.
The graph in Figure 5
shows that the network between the authors of studies that address competence-based management does not represent a dense network of collaboration. The strongest connections established are between the authors Gaeta, Ritrovato, Fenza, Orciuoli, and Mangione, related to the University of Salerno, and Dow, Pallaschke, Bernardino, Argamasilla, and Guerrucci, related to ESA. These networks contribute for these institutions to be seen as the ones that have the greatest numbers of authors interested in the issue of competence-based management. In addition to these aspects, it is possible to note the high incidence of collaborations between Rozewski and Malachowski, from the West Pomeranian university of technology (Poland). Besides this, the graph presents all top eight most productive authors cited in Table 9
3.3. Impact Indicators
For the analysis of citations, the information provided in the fields times cited (TC) in the databases was used. Table 14
presents the 10 most cited papers and their main characteristics.
The paper entitled “action design research” is the most cited paper among those that compose the corpus of this study. In this paper, Sein et al. [46
] presented the action design research (ADR), research methodology that integrates information technology and organizational contexts, exemplifying its application in the Volvo automobile manufacturer. As a benefit of using ADR, Sein et al. [46
] mentioned knowledge creation, which occurs from the development of information technology that takes into consideration the existent organizational contexts.
Considering Table 14
, only two authors, Afsarmanesh (Amsterdam University) and Harzallah (Nantes University), are in the group of authors considered the most productive in the area (according to Table 9
). Therefore, author productivity is not, necessarily, related to the amount of citations that a paper receives. Considering the other authors cited, these have in common the fact that they developed investigations related to information technology and for the modeling of competence-based management in virtual environments.
Considering the journals that were published the most cited papers, it is possible to observe that they are distributed in areas, such as Information Systems Science (MIS Quarterly and Computers in Industry), Production and Operations Management (Journal of Product Innovation, Industrial Management and Data Systems, International Journal of Production Economics and Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing), and Business (Journal of Business Research)—an aspect that reinforces the interdisciplinary character of competence-based management.
Finally, the papers that compose the corpus of this research have received a total of 2877 citations—performance that indicates an average of 5.04 citations per work (standard deviation of 21.24). Furthermore, it is possible to perceive that 301 papers (52.71% of the total) had not been cited by the literature in the field until the data collection.
3.4. Interpretation of the Analysis
The results of this study show the general characteristics of papers published in journals and conference proceedings indexed in the databases WoS and Scopus. Table 15
highlights the types of indicators used, the analysis conducted, the main results found, and the preliminary conclusions of this study.
shows that conferences are an important communication channel for researchers in the field of competence-based management. This aspect was highlighted from the identification that more than 50% of the works that deal with competence-based management, and are indexed in the WoS and Scopus databases, were published in conferences proceedings. In addition, it was also identified that competence-based management corresponds to a consolidated topic in the literature. This aspect was evidenced by Figure 1
, which showed that the apex of publications on the topic was reached in 2010.
In addition, it is noteworthy that the drop in the number of publications on competence-based management in recent years may indicate that authors interested in the subject may have migrated to adjacent themes. The identification of the number of papers published per year also showed that 2005 corresponded to the year with the highest positive percentage variation in relation to the previous year. The analysis of this year’s publications, in turn, showed the presence of a special volume of the Public Administration journal, which concentrated different publications on competence-based management. This aspect contributed to the conclusion that special journal editions can leverage the publication rate of works and contribute to the consolidation of different topics in the literature.
The analysis of the number of works per language, in turn, contributed to the confirmation that English corresponds to the main language of scientific communication. This aspect was reinforced by the fact that over 90% of the works were published in this language. Regarding the works published in journals or conferences, it was highlighted that there is a low concentration of papers in them. This feature reinforces that competence-based management is a topic that is presented alongside adjacent subject in journals and conferences in the area.
Regarding the analysis of the amount of papers published by countries and institutions, it is noteworthy that there is no country or institution that leads the research in the area of competence-based management. The performance achieved by Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, and by universities and institutions linked to these countries, in turn, has contributed to Europe being seen as the continent that concentrates most of the most productive institutions on the subject.
The analysis of the amount of papers published by author, complementarily, pointed out that there is not one author that stands out in the scope of research in competence-based management. The subsequent analysis, which observed the affiliation of such authors, evidenced that competence-based management corresponds to a topic that is the subject of study in universities and research institutions. This characteristic contributes to the inference that cooperation agreements can be signed between universities and organizations from different sectors so that experiences can be shared.
The analysis of the most used keywords to represent the papers reinforced, in turn, the existing link between competence-based management and knowledge management. This aspect was observed, as these terms were the most used to represent the works. In addition, such analysis also highlighted the macro-categories that characterize competence-based management. They are: Computer Science and Information Systems; Human Resource Management; Strategic Management; and Industrial Relations and Labor. These categories were those that encompassed the 28 most used terms to represent the works.
Collaboration indicators have shown that cross-country collaborations do not correspond to a widespread practice in the area of competence-based management. In this context, it was emphasized that France and Germany, the most productive countries in the subject, did not present any collaborative work among themselves. This aspect contributed to the inference that research conducted in these countries has different approaches. It was also noted that the United States and France are the countries that have the most work in collaboration with other countries. This characteristic indicates that such countries should have international cooperation agreements that facilitate the development of collaborative research.
The collaborative network between institutions, in a complementary way, highlighted that interinstitutional collaboration does not correspond to a widespread alternative among researchers in the area. This aspect was justified by the fact that no institution leads the research—a feature that decentralizes studies and minimizes the possibility of exchange of experiences. The collaboration network between authors, in turn, highlighted that 78.76% of the works have two or more authors. Such performance reinforced the tendency to publish co-authored studies.
Finally, the impact indicators showed that only two authors of the most cited papers are among the most productive, which suggests that the most productive authors are not necessarily the most cited. In addition, it was highlighted that the most cited papers are distributed in journals specialized in areas, such as Information Systems Science, Production and Operations Management, and Business. This characteristic, in turn, reinforces the interdisciplinary character of competence-based management.