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Conclusion: is competency management a passing fad?

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Is competency management a passing fad; is it a catch-all term to cover diverse national patterns of development or a symptom of wider changes within bureaucracies? As the papers published here suggest, it is more likely to be a passing fad in Europe than the USA. Competency management addresses rather different agendas in different countries and while it does not embrace as diverse a collection of activities as 'new public management', there is substantial range in the issues it does address. European experience suggests competency is more likely to be ephemeral and concerned with repackaging rather than bringing something substantially new to personnel management in the upper reaches of civil services. Without taking too rosy a view of US experience, there may be a stronger case for arguing that contemporary competency management approaches there have brought something new to a longer standing debate in public and private management.

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