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Volume 19 Issue 3 (July 2009), Pages 217-335

Using competency‐based assessment centres to select judges – implications for equality and diversity (pages 302-318)

This article is concerned with two significant areas of HR practice – competency‐based recruitment and selection and equality and diversity. The article provides a critical appraisal of the implications for equality and diversity of using a competency approach to select judges in the UK. The study reveals the socially constructed and ambiguous nature of competencies in practice. It offers partial support to previous claims that competency‐based HR practices have the potential to be used more creatively and inclusively and thus have the potential to further equality and diversity objectives. However, the study also revealed dangers inherent in competency‐based HR practices that arise from the inescapable fact that human, organisational actors (i.e. the assessors) are necessarily required to interpret the competencies and evaluate which candidates meet them and which do not. Thus, whatever the rhetoric, there is the potential for bias, prejudice and discrimination.

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