Competence management in public administration



PAIXÃO, Pâmella Souza da [1]

PAIXÃO, Pâmella Souza da. Competence management in public administration. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 06, Ed. 07, Vol. 08, pp. 40-54. July 2021. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access Link: ‎


This article aims to present to the public administrator some tools that allow the perception of the abilities and abilities of the server that is under his subordination, fostering in the Public Administrator the same thought of the private initiative, knowing that its end is not profit, but rather the financial balance and efficiency of the services provided, avoiding even rework. The article seeks to answer the following question: What management tools can the Public Administrator use to discover and develop the skills of their servers in order to take advantage of them to achieve greater efficiency in the services provided to the population and how to reward them for these competencies? The intellectual resources (academic or empirical) in the place of operation of the administrator are already available, in this way public managers will gain time practicality and speed in the processes, and on the other hand, the well-used server will have the feeling that he has not studied or specialized for nothing, or even that years of experience of nothing has served; will feel more useful adding value and possibly being rewarded. This article will begin by bringing the meaning of each word of the title; it will then address the Theory of Skills Management, then some tools that the Public Administrator can use to discover and develop skills, right after the means that can be used to reward the server that has acquired more skills. At the end of this work the reader will be able to identify some management tools that present the competencies of an individual.

Keywords: Skills, Management, Public Servant, Intellectual Resources.


This article deals fundamentally with how to capture and manage the knowledge of individuals, who are already public servants, based on the tools of the already established theory of Administration, so that each server is better used / recognized not only in the area in which it specializes, but also by the knowledge it acquired throughout the career, and this knowledge was generated in a tacit or explicit (academic) way and also how to reward it for it.

Therefore, this article has as general objective to present management tools that enable the discovery of new competencies among the servers and how to reward the effort of the server and as a specific objective, to present the fundamental concepts of the theme addressed for better understanding of the article; present a brief report on the theory of bureaucracy, as it relates directly to the public administration; list some tools of people management that enable the discovery of new skills; suggest rewards that may apply to the public server.

Thus, for the development of this article, the bibliographic research methodology was used and it is evident that the suggestions presented in no way may hurt the current laws of each position or even replace public tenders, so the focus of this work is to demonstrate methods already established in the literature of administration that can help the public administrator in the discovery of new competencies among his servants.


To effectively begin this work, it is believed that the most sensible way to better approach is to separate all the concepts applied to the theme.


In academic terms and for the Course of Administration, managing is the same as managing. Within the field of management science, managing: “It is the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the efforts made by the members of the organization and the use of all other organizational resources to achieve the established objectives.” (STONER, 1999, p. 4).

This concept of Stoner (1999) summarizes well what is independent management of the business area that is being treated, that is, applies to People Management, Production Management, Strategic Planning, Sales Management, Financial Management etc. All sectors that make up an organization enter into this initial concept, since all sectors have their own objectives to achieve. Despite the management tools of each sector that integrates management and its peculiarities, the concept of management will always be present. “Management is neither exclusive privilege nor personal burden of the head or company managers; it is a function that is parted, like the other essential functions, between the head and the members of the social body.” (FAYOL, 1989, p. 26)

It is also observed that Stoner’s concept (1999) is based on the five administrative functions created by Henri Fayol in Classical Theory, such as: Predict, Organize, Command, Coordinate and Control. Later, these functions were established.

I have therefore made the following definitions: To administer is to predict, organize, command, coordinate and control.

To predict is to analyze the future and chart the program of action.

To organize is to constitute the dual body, material and social, of the company.

To run is to run the staff.

To coordinate is to connect, unite and harmonize all acts and all efforts.

To control is to ensure that everything goes according to the established rules and the orders given. (FAYOL, 1989, p. 26)

Managing, therefore, is a resource system that seeks to accomplish some kind of goal. For this article, the focus will be on the management of public administrators, whose goal will not be profit as in private companies, but rather efficiency in the provision of services.


In the online dictionary Portuguese, there is the following concept for the term “competence” that applies to the theme: “Skill set, knowledge, knowledge.” The dictionary in question brings the idea of the individual having the understanding about something.

In Administration, having knowledge about a subject is not the same as having information, because information is a mere set of data, which isolated can contribute in anything, however, organized and together with other knowledge, will help almost accurately decision making: “(…) knowledge is sets of information recognized and integrated by the individual within a pre-existing scheme, causing impacts on their judgment or behavior.” (ENAP, 2005, p. 17)

It is perceived that the concept brought by the dictionary goes beyond dealing with academic knowledge or those obtained only through literature; speaks of way of living and experiences. With this one can extend this concept into organizations when we analyze how much non-technical “baggage” a collaborator can bring.


Who are the public servants? According to law 8.429/92 in Article 2, the following definition is:

It is everyone who exercises, even temporarily or without remuneration, by election, appointment, appointment, hiring or any other form of endowment or bond, mandate, position, employment or function in the organs and entities of the Public Administration.

The public service is that service that is provided to benefit the general population, with financial resources from public revenues (taxes, fees, improvement contributions, for example) and managed by a temporary or permanent public administrator, depending on how it was held (public tender or elections, for example). It is worth mentioning that although the administrative dynamics of a public service provided is different from a private organization, since the objectives of this is the profits and in that is to benefit the population, still the concepts of administration already presented in this work are maintained, after all both need to be well managed to achieve efficiency.


The theme proposed for this work deals largely with the public service, so it is understood that a brief retrospective on the Theory of Bureaucracy is necessary, because it is in it that we find theoretical basis for the subject of Public Administration.

Also called the Rational-Legal System this theory, like all others, seek greater efficiency to achieve their goals. It was introduced by Max Weber and seeks this efficiency through predictability and standardization.

Bureaucracy is based on the definition of norms and laws and the establishment of a legal order. These norms must be impersonal and formal (written) and serve as a reference for the definition of hierarchy and administrative actions (ROCHA; ROCHA; DURAN, 2008, p. 20)

The Theory of Bureaucracy arises from the need to combat the patrimonialism that prevailed, that is, corruption and nepotism. Public administrators made no distinction between what was public and what was private. So, as was the case in private organizations. Among the fundamental principles of Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy, two that apply to this article stand out:

  1. Technical competence and meritocracy: selection based on qualification and merit – “people’s choices for positions should be based strictly on technical skills and not on personal aspects”. (ROCHA; ROCHA; DURAN, 2008, p. 22)
  2. Separation between ownership and administration: administrators are not owners –”Space is made for the choice of professionals specialized in administration and the role of the manager emerges (…). This separation between income and private and corporate assets is one of the main differentials between the Theory of Bureaucracy and the Patrimonialist.” (ROCHA; ROCHA; DURAN, 2008, p. 22 and 23)

Although the term bureaucracy today goes back to the idea of something laborious, time-consuming, with many demands, it will actually emerge as an option to ensure formality and impersonality not only in basic public procedures, but also introducing personnel really qualified to perform the functions (meritocracy). It brings as main advantages the more democratic mentality and the reduction of favoritism.

The concept of bureaucracy would generally express the necessary process of rationalization and professionalization of all organizations in the contemporary world, since they would have to perform better to achieve their ends in the face of secularization and the greater Inter organizational competition. (ENAP, 2018, p. 24)

In Brazil, the Public Service’s Administrative Department introduced the Theory of Bureaucracy with the following benefits: public tender, stability, training, career plan:

(…) the creation of the Administrative Department of the Public Service – DASP, in 1938, which had among other objectives to implement in the Brazilian public administration the principles of bureaucratic structure. Among these principles, the professionalization of services stands out, either with the entry of employees in public administration staff through public procurement, or through the substitution of political criteria by technical criteria in the conduct of the public machine (SCHLICKMANN, 2016)

Thus, we observed a shift in focus on human relations within organizations and public administration.


At this point, the two essential concepts for this work are added. It can be said that Skills Management is located in the People Management sector, being one of its branches of activity. But what is Skills Management? It is the process of leading employees to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization through their technical and behavioral skills. “Competencies management, (…), proposes to align efforts so that human competencies can generate and sustain organizational skills necessary to achieve strategic objectives.” (ENAP, 2005, p. 20)

Within this theme one can spread several lines of reasoning, such as: what kind of knowledge is lacking in the organization? Or, how to capture the best skills in the market? However, this article specifically wishes to emphasize how to take advantage of internal competencies (that is, those that are already part of the server board), to achieve organizational objectives, rewarding them, therefore, by the initiative of creating new skills.

In public administration it is known that managing competencies is not a simple activity, since the plastering of procedures itself is what guarantees the authenticity of decisions. However, when talking about people, the Public Administration needs to realize that each individual, regardless of the contest he has given, for example, has an ability that is peculiar to him. Depending on the area of activity of this server, it is extremely conditioned to a single activity, and it could present much more to the agency in which it operates. This situation is exemplified in the following hypothetical case: a server has tendered for a given mid-level function. Over the years, still in the same role, this collaborator graduated, did two specializations, a master’s degree and a doctorate. In the stake, the Public Administration is unable to award large awards to this employee, except as a position of trust, which can be withdrawn at any time, and that has the discretion of the manager, who can act according to his interests. “The appointment is also determined by “trust relations” and, therefore, suffers the influence of relational/political factors, to the detriment of the consideration of the demonstrated or potential competencies of the candidates”. (ENAP, 2005, p.31)

This server possibly with all this extra competence acquired, will seek a better contest within its area, leaving the sector in which it operated with a large gap waiting for another server that meets the minimum requirements. With this, only who loses is the Administration itself: loses by having to train a new server, loses by the knowledge that the previous server had, loses because it generates turnover.

Thus, when detecting a competence that can be used, the Public Administrator needs to find space to use such competence.


Here we will reflect on the tools that can help a Public Administrator discover the competencies of their subordinate servers. The skills evaluated today by organizations cover not only the technical issue, but also interpersonal. To this end, the Management literature offers a tool called Performance Assessment that according to Chiavenato (2009) is “a process that serves to judge or estimate the value, excellence and competencies of a person and, above all, what is their contribution to the organization’s business”. Yet another definition for Performance Assessment is: “(…) a continuous process of identification, measurement and development of individuals and teams and alignment of their performances with the strategic objectives of the organization.” (PEREIRA, 2015, p. 58)

Among the models of performance evaluation and development of an individual, it is cited:


Generates opportunity for the server to talk about itself. The proposal is to present open questions, where he speaks even of what he learned from the family, personal values, acquired technical skills. Araújo (2001, p. 96), states that the form “is a vehicle that transports information from one person to another, from one unit to another, or from one company to another”. That is, it maintains the flow of information between stakeholders so that they can access it at any time facilitating interaction.


According to Chiavenato, training is very related to development, i.e., “(…) education that is the preparation of the person of life, for life and for life” (CHIAVENATO, 1999, p. 20). Training is to prepare a person for the exercise of the function, since development is something for the future focused on the professional career. There are types of training that are carried out such as: “integration, technical-operational, management and behavioral; in these can be emphasized actions to maximize any point belonging to CHA – knowledge, skill and attitude” (DALMAL; GIRARDI, 2015, p. 92)


These are generally applied as selection techniques in the private company. However, by offering this tool on the public service periodically, the administration will possibly notice the changes of this server. From motivational/behavioral aspects to skills acquired or lost over time. According to Tyler (1973) a measurement is only called a test if it is primarily used to discover something about the individual, rather than answering a general question.

Here the objective is to individualize the process and perceive the peculiarities of each individual in the assessment of competencies.


Not very common in the public sector, but it is known that it is possible in many situations. This rotation within a sector, for example, can avoid “bottlenecks” in procedures when a server falls ill or goes on vacation; each one who participates in that rotation can add new ideas because he will have the notion of the whole; can create a new skill that the server did not know it had, generating new interests and consequently more motivation. It is still a form of training: “Training can be: (…) instruction on the content of the work, turnover (rotation) of positions, awareness of people, personal relationship, coaching etc.” (SILVA, 2013, p. 141)


By having informal conversations, the Public Administrator will be able to recognize and discover the skills needed in their subordinates. It is a simple activity, without great costs, that requires only a good observation and know how to listen and that can bring great benefits to a given sector.

Some actions that managers can adopt:


– Give the employee the opportunity to make formal comments on a particular subject, in his presence, without reprisals;

– Participate in informal conversations in order to conduct them according to the interests of the organization (SALES, 2011)

In a way, the above methods are only examples of some templates that the administrator can use to discover skills or develop them. Clearly that the subject is not exhausted in this topic and the choice of one of these procedures will depend on what the public administrator seeks at the moment, and which procedure will bring more information according to what he wants.


What happens today is that the variable “service time” has been the most decisive to generate an evolution in the careers of the servers, being also the most important criterion for salary variation between the servers of the same position. Factors such as performance, qualification, knowledge and results presented, in the sissy do not add how much they should.

Although internal motivations are favorable, intangible and impervious, the fact is that everyone wants to be rewarded in some way. Some existing examples can be incorporated into public administration as a means of reward:


“The advent of new working methods and the valorization of intellectual capital require people management to constantly adapt the remuneration criteria, thus intending to achieve the results pre-established by organizations” (RODRIGUES, 2006).

This is a means of the public institution to ensure that its servers are up to date with their area of choice, or even that they discover new academic methods, because the various undergraduate and graduate degrees, stricto and lato sensu, would enable this knowledge and new research.


When the server is engaged for the goals to be achieved, they devote more time, energy, knowledge and strategic skills, that is, it does everything to make a significant change in the work section. Once the goals are achieved, there is nothing fair erife that they are awarded, even differentiating them from those who do not dedicate themselves so enthusiastically. “(…) favors the development of a multi-specialized workforce and rewards workers according to the functions they are able to perform (…) (PEREIRA, 2015, p. 83)

It is considered that the remuneration system is a motivator of great importance, since it is related to the belief that the individual’s behavior results in a given result. To this end, organizations must value the individual needs of each employee, contributing to the achievement of the desired organizational behavior.


Day off is an extremely possible form of reward and is already done informally between servers in a given section. These could be applied to goals met, however, that were not so significant for the whole, but which still required too much effort from the server for that small goal to be achieved.

According to the website “it has been proven in court the legality of a federal public agency to compensate overtime eventually made by servers in regular activities with clearances.” (AGU, 2018) The citation is from the AGU website itself, which leads us to conclude that in addition to legal is completely possible and accessible to the public administrator.


We know that at this point the recommendation is much more aggressive, because there would be a need for a very large cultural change in public activity. Unfortunately the promotion by service time, which should be a goal to be achieved by those who dedicated years of their life to the sector, turned out to be a reward for complacery and for those who are in the public sector only to fulfill expedient, with no interest in providing a healthy service.

The organization has several ways of realizing rewards, from formal recognition for a contribution of the person through a public compliment or not, a personal letter or a prize such as travel, to a salary increase or a promotion to organizational positions with greater challenges (ARAÚJO, 2006, p. 51).

Either way, you need to start a change in some time, so that these changes come to those who understand exactly what it’s like to be a competent public servant and not a time-fulfilling one.


The rotation of functions, or job rotation, has been employed by many managers of large companies in order to broaden the business vision of employees. The system allows professionals to work in other sectors of organizations in order to know the routines and the development of the work of other teams. (SILVA, 2014)

A rotation of functions within the same section or within the institution when the legislation permits, can be a strategic model for both the public administrator (item 5.4 of this article) who will never be without someone who knows how to do that service, and for the server who will learn new things and be motivated with new perspectives and even more will not be limited to a single job. It is observed that the change or rotation of function is as beneficial for the administrator, who will always have someone fit for a particular service, as for the subordinate server who will have awakened a new skill, feeling more productive and receiving the appropriate remuneration for the new position.


“The organization has several ways of realizing rewards, from formal recognition for a person’s contribution through public praise or not, a personal letter or a prize such as travel, (…)” (ARAÚJO, 2006, p. 51).

In this type of reward besides the fact that the server airs your head because of the heavy duty will be a family motivational factor, since these trips could be with a companion. The family is essential for the server to look good in your workplace. This kind of extensive reward is paramount.


According to Wood Jr. and Picarelli Filho (1996, p. 40): “The multiplicity of forms of remuneration has grown with the need to find creative ways to strengthen the bond between companies and their employees.”

It is a means of rewarding the server financially, where he can acquire some good he wants.


Especially for high-ranking servers that make strategic decisions, it is important that they are trained and acquire the latest in their area. An international certification will bring new airs for all involved and self-esteem.

According to Stoner and Freeman (1995), evidence of Maslow’s theory is that pay is a basic and sufficient need for employees to feed, shelter, and protect themselves and their families satisfactorily. For Maslow, in an attempt to motivate their employees, administrators should be concerned about the salary issue and offer incentives aimed at increasing self-esteem, generating feelings of participation or opportunities for growth among employees.


Here we arrive at the end of this article in which it was observed that there are some management tools that are possible to apply in the Public Administration, and that will enable the discovery and development of skills that can be used, since they are already available, as well as the means to reward the public servant who continuously seeks to improve.

It is nothing new to society that everything that is proposed in the item of improvements for the public sector, demands time and change of the culture of comodism that is rooted in our country, which causes demotivation and consequently delays in the services provided.

Evidently, significant changes can be sought in several ways, however, this article keeps the focus on people and their skills. One of the biggest advantages of Competency Management is that after a certain competency is properly identified and delineated, the administrator will be able to outline more assertive strategies so that he will more easily achieve the proposed objectives and more effectively.

By detecting possible skills that add value to the service provided, the public administration will reduce costs with new training, ensure the motivation of this server that will feel prestigious for having been recognized or for having discovered something new that even he knew he could do; it will generate a more cohesive and more productive team, avoid outages and delays, because knowledge will be disseminated.

After all the research work and mapping of these competencies, the administrator will create a database and these will serve as inputs for new planning and redirection of the old ones, so that personal and organizational objectives are achieved.

Of course, in this work we speak in general terms, since the Public Administration is giant and by the very nature of its functions requires a plastering in many situations, not being possible in many cases, the use of the knowledge of the server even for legal reasons. However, on the other hand, in many cases it is possible to refit the relationship with the server, thus allowing the advantages for the Public Administration.


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[1] Postgraduate in Business Management; Postgraduate in Public Management; Graduated in Business Administration.

Submitted: February, 2021.

Approved: July, 2021.


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