Difference Between Competence and Competency

If we go by the English dictionary, the terms “competence” and “competency” has been perceived to bear the same meaning. Both the terms have been defined as “the state of being adequately or well-qualified”. However, research-wide, competency and competence have been perceived to be significantly different concepts. Competence refers to a skill or standard of performance achieved by an employee and is measured by what an employee can do. Competency, on the other hand, refers to the behavior by which the competence is achieved.

Therefore, unlike competence, competency is behavior-based and is described by the way the standard of performance is achieved. Being able to type fast is a competence achieved through practice. Being able to persistently practice is a competency. Another way of understanding the difference between competence and competency is by a model that defined competency as a summation of commitment and competence. Here, commitment refers to attachment or passion towards the work and competence refers to the ability to do the job. When these two are combined, it defines a person’s competency. Being able to type fast and also being passionate towards any work that involves fast typing defines the person’s competency.