This study aims to explore the competencies needed by performance consultants, a particular role identified for training and development professionals. The role was formally named and promoted nearly two decades ago. Two ongoing discussions in the field are the competencies needed by training and development professionals and the role of consulting within the field.
This study identifies the general competencies needed by a performance consultant as reflected in job descriptions for the position. It accomplished this goal by collecting job descriptions for the position from organizations in Canada (the result of a practical arrangement with an organization that would collect the descriptions and remove identifying information before the research team analyzed them), systematically analyzing them using qualitative content analysis techniques and generating a profile of the position, which can be used as a basis for further analysis of the position.
The job title and competencies sought in the job descriptions differ from those proposed in the literature. Specific areas of difference include the title (none of the job descriptions analyzed explicitly used the title performance consultant), role in needs analysis and client relationships, technology competence (the job descriptions sought little, if any, while the literature suggests broad conceptual knowledge) and qualifications (most job descriptions only require a bachelor’s degree; many training and development professionals have more education).
The profile presented in this paper only represents that used in job descriptions (typically an idealized version) and in a particular national context. But if the results are validated with other methodologies and in other contexts, they suggest that the actual consulting role significantly differs from the one conceptualized in the literature.
The findings suggest that the consultant role conceived in the literature differs from the actual job expected by employers, at least as reflected in job descriptions. Research with incumbents in the job is needed to assess whether the inconsistencies are also reflected in the day-to-day work.
Social implications validate the broad concern that trainers have skills and talents to offer organizations that those organizations do not fully utilize.
The paper provides one of the few empirical studies of the job responsibilities of a performance consultant.
The authors thank the Canadian Society for Training and Development for its support of this study. Thanks, too, to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
Carliner, S., Castonguay, C., Sheepy, E., Ribeiro, O., Sabri, H., Saylor, C. and Valle, A. (2015), "The job of a performance consultant: a qualitative content analysis of job descriptions", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 39 No. 6, pp. 458-483. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-01-2015-0006Download as .RIS
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