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Despite the benefits pointed out by some observers (greater consistency in HRM, renewal of HRM instruments, its contribution to social support during economic transformation), competency management has not greatly improved HRM decision making. However, before other approaches take centre stage, there is a pressing need to take stock of the period that has just gone by: what has been learned from competency management? Based on the analysis of practices in France and North America, we focus our examination on the difficulties encountered by firms as they sought to redefine part of HRM decision making based on the concept of competency. We begin with a summary of criticisms derived from a literature review (§1, “The informed dimensions”): ideological criticisms (out-and-out individualization, lack of accountability on the part of the firm...), conceptual criticisms (impossibility of grasping what is tacit, vagueness of the notion, meaninglessness of the wording used in some instruments...), organizational criticisms (no link with investment or restructuring projects) and strategic criticisms (no decisional outcomes, primacy of strategic concerns...). Then, we examine a dimension which has received less attention (§2, “The overlooked dimension”): competency management instruments, their development and use. With regard to this dimension, we raise two questions: can competency be quantified like other variables, and therefore be digitized? Do competency management instruments offer the guarantees of reliability and validity that should be expected from such a strategicallyoriented management tool? Lastly, we conclude with some lessons that can be drawn about competency management specifically and HRM in general. These lessons are considered in the context of the rising power of talent management.

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