Soft skills, do we know what we are talking about?

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From: Review of Managerial Science(Vol. 16, Issue 4)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 282 words

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Abstract :

Keywords: Human resource management; Competencies; Soft skills; Systematic review Abstract During the last decade, individual competencies and soft skills have reached a position of paramount importance among scholars in different fields. Yet, there seems to be a lack of consensus around the meaning of both concepts to the extent that they are sometimes used interchangeably. In response to this, we conducted a systematic review aimed at shedding light on the meaning of competencies and soft skills in business literature. The theoretical perspectives and methodological choices used by scholars were also accounted for as they are closely related to the definitions of these concepts. The systematic review presented in this paper addressed three specific research questions: (a) how are soft skills and competencies conceptualized in the reviewed literature?, (b) what are the main theories used in the study of soft skills and competencies?, and (c) methodologically, what are the main characteristics of those studies? The results indicate that there is still lack of consensus regarding the definitions of both terms. We also found that a large portion of the papers lacked a solid theoretical foundation, while the rest of the papers evidenced that business studies on competencies and soft skills suffer from theoretical dispersion. With regards to the methods used, we conclude that improvements must be made to help develop an understanding of competencies and soft skills. Consequently, a theoretical model explaining the relationships between these concepts was developed taking into account the sounder theoretical perspectives found in the literature review. Author Affiliation: (1) International Business Department, Universidad EAFIT, Carrera 49 N° 7 Sur-50, Medellín, Colombia (b) jromanca@eafit.edu.co Article History: Registration Date: 05/17/2021 Received Date: 05/13/2020 Accepted Date: 05/17/2021 Online Date: 06/02/2021 Byline:

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A702342477