Identifying Technical Competencies: A Delphi Approach

W. Todd Winklbauer

Abstract


Tomorrow's joint operating environment demands U.S. Army FA49s to be ingenious, proactive, and multi-talented; proficient in their core competencies as military leaders as well as being proficient in their technical competencies as problem solvers in the operations research field.

Guided by one primary and three secondary research questions, the purpose of this study was to identify the technical competencies and knowledge, skills, and abilities required for future U.S. Army FA49s to perform their duties within the joint operating environment of the next twenty-five years.  To identify these technical competencies and KSAs, this study employed a qualitative research design with a quantitative component using a conventional, web-assisted Delphi methodology.

The Delphi study engaged 10 experts through a first round of data gathering through a web-based questionnaire.  First round data was synthesized and sent to the experts, seeking consensus, during a subsequent second round.  Expert consensus was achieved on the second round, precluding the need for subsequent rounds to reach consensus.  Based upon the results derived from the two Delphi rounds, the experts’ identified and reached consensus on 5 technical competencies, 21 areas of knowledge, 41 skills, and 22 abilities that are required for future U.S. Army FA49s to perform their duties within the joint operating environment of the next twenty-five years.

Additionally, this research made four contributions to the engineering management discipline.  First, it has added to the existing body of knowledge in engineering management theory and methodology by presenting and substantiating that a Delphi process is capable of identifying future and/or forecasting requirements.  Second, it contributed to the literature by providing a basis for the expansion of the domain of competencies and KSAs for operations research.  Third, this research contributed to the identification of competencies and KSAs that are germane to the practical development of military FA49 educational curricula and may be germane to the practical development of engineering management curricula.  Fourth, this research has suggested directions for future research to enhance understanding of the competencies, knowledge, skills, and abilities for the operations research field.


Keywords


Competency, Delphi, operations research, technical competency

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References


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