Developing and validating a competence profile for Development Agents: an Ethiopian case study

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Abstract

Purpose: Development Agents (DAs) are employed by agricultural departments to provide capacity development for farmers. In this contribution, the adjustment of a competence profile originally developed for the Province of Esfahan [Karbasioun, M., M. Mulder, and H. J. A. Biemans. 2007. ‘Towards a Job Competency Profile for Agricultural Extension Instructors: A Survey of Views of Experts.’ Human Resource Development International 10 (2): 137–151] is described for the context of the West Gojjam Zone in Ethiopia. This was necessary because 10 years' time has elapsed since the development of the profile, new insights in competence theory have emerged, and contextual variation needs to be taken into account. Design/methods/approach: Firstly, the competence profile of Karbasioun, Mulder, and Biemans. [2007. ‘Towards a Job Competency Profile for Agricultural Extension Instructors: A Survey of Views of Experts.’ Human Resource Development International 10 (2): 137–151] was adjusted through a line-by-line conceptual analysis. Secondly, the adjusted profile was validated by 12 experts in a workshop. Thirdly, this profile was thoroughly discussed by four focus groups of DAs, each composed of eight to nine persons. Transcripts of the validation by experts and discussion with DAs were analysed using content analysis. Finally, the profile was further backed up by literature and member checks (which are done by experts in the field). Findings: The study revealed validated competence profile for Development Agents (DAs) with 4 competence clusters and 15 underlying competencies for the Ethiopian context: knowledge on adult education, extension management, communication, and professional ethics, among others. Practical Implications: DAs' recruitment and selection, performance evaluation, and training programmes can be developed using this new competence profile. Theoretical Implications: This study confirms the context-bound, indivisible, interrelated, and developmental nature of competencies which refutes the behaviouristic-functionalistic conceptualization of them. Originality/value: This contribution is a contextual variation and update of the study of Karbasioun, Mulder, and Biemans. [2007. ‘Towards a Job Competency Profile for Agricultural Extension Instructors: A Survey of Views of Experts.’ Human Resource Development International 10 (2): 137–151] and shows that different contexts of investigating competencies uncover different results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-441
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • agricultural development
  • competence research
  • Competence theory
  • Development Agents (DAs)
  • Ethiopia
  • West Gojjam

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