Mapping Competencies by Public Management Subject

MappingCompetenciesCompetencies in public management proposed by NASPAA, UNDESA/IASIA and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

This site organizes, by public management subject, the competencies for graduates of Masters-level public policy and public administration programs proposed by two standards bodies, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA Competencies) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration Task Force on Standards of Excellence for Public Administration Education and Training (UNDESA/IASIA Standards), and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (see TBS Leadership Competencies). See also Developing Policy Competencies – Facilitating the transition from academic to professional (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2010). A discussion of these three exercises in identifying competencies can be found in Academic Respectability Meets Professional Utility (Clark and Pal, 2011).

Although some of the NASPAA and UNDESA/IASIA competencies require instruction in more than one subject (see MPP/MPA Core Competencies), in the Competency Map below, each competency is listed only once, under its primary subject.

Each subject can be associated with one or other of the five NASPAA Domains of Universal Required Competencies. The NASPAA Competency Domains are indicated with the following symbols:

CD1 – to lead and manage in public governance;
CD2 – to participate and contribute to the policy process;
CD3 – to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
CD4 – to articulate and apply a public service perspectives; and
CD5 – to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

and Skills

Policy Analysis and Process

Apply public management models and organization theory (NASPAA, CD1)

Plan strategy (NASPAA, CD3)

Motivation and design of public sector organizations (UNDESA/IASIA)

Organization and management concepts and behavior (UNDESA/IASIA)

Strategic Planning (UNDESA/IASIA)

Promoting equity in service delivery (UNDESA/IASIA)

Informs analysis with a thorough understanding of the environment (TBS)

Engages others to translate implementation strategies into concrete objectives (TBS)

Contributes expertise and insight to the development of organizational strategies (TBS)

Implementation and Delivery

Understand the relationships between public policy, whether proposed or enacted, and leadership and management in implementation (NASPAA, CD1)

The delivery of public goods and services (UNDESA/IASIA)

Implements strategies that respond to organizational priorities that improve outcomes for Canada and Canadians (TBS)

Economic Analysis
Quantitative Methods

Employ analytical tools for collecting, analyzing, presenting, and interpreting data, including appropriate statistical concepts and techniques (NASPAA, CD3)

Analytic Methods

Understand and apply theories of decision-making and models (NASPAA, CD3)

Decision-making and problem-solving (UNDESA/IASIA)

Management of projects and contracts (UNDESA/IASIA)

Ensures that employees apply sound risk management practices (TBS)

Manage contracts and public-private partnerships (NASPAA, CD1)

Manage projects (NASPAA, CD1)

Leadership Skills

Lead and manage people effectively, whether volunteers or compensated, fostering team building, commitment, creativity, and performance (NASPAA, CD1)

Lead, manage, and serve a diverse workplace and citizenry (NASPAA, CD1)

Resolve conflict and negotiate (NASPAA, CD1)

Facilitate: Actively and effectively elicits information, views, input, suggestions, and involvement of others in pursuit of common goals; builds actionable consensus (NASPAA, CD5)

Negotiate: Discerns the interests and values of others; surfaces assumptions; secures agreement on ground rules and tolerable outcomes; gains cooperation of others to accomplish goals (NASPAA, CD5)

Conflict prevention and resolution strategies (UNDESA/IASIA)

Development of high performing organizations (UNDESA/IASIA)

Leading institutional and organizational transformation (UNDESA/IASIA)

Demonstrate flexibility: adapts behavior and work methods to differences (in thought, communication style, perspective, age, interests, fairness or some other variable); to new information, to changing conditions and to unexpected events (NASPAA, CD5)

Demonstrate self-knowledge: awareness of one’s own stylistic preferences for relating to others, communicating with others, making decisions, managing yourself in groups, and the impact on relationships and your ability to influence others (NASPAA, CD5)

Evidence sensitivity and responsiveness to beliefs and behaviors associated with differences among people because of their ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, physical characteristics, religion, age, etc. (NASPAA, CD5)

Relate to all kinds of people and develop appropriate rapport that leads to constructive and effective relationships; finds common ground with a wide range of stakeholders (NASPAA, CD5)

Work productively in teams: Interacts effectively in a team, demonstrating composure, professionalism and effective working relationships, including understanding others’ priorities and concerns and sharing information, expertise and resources (NASPAA)

Creates a sense of common purpose and direction in the organization and among colleagues (TBS)

Sets clear expectations, monitors and evaluates performance (TBS)

Engages employees to gather ideas and input to build cohesive teams (TBS)

Sets challenging goals for self and models dedication and high performance (TBS)

Identifies opportunities for and barriers to innovation and proposes creative approaches (TBS)

Implements practices to learn from setbacks and mistakes (TBS)

Adapts plans and strategies to respond to the scope and pace of change (TBS)

Demonstrates resilience, composure and a positive outlook in an environment of uncertainty and ambiguity (TBS)

Aligns people, work and systems to achieve program and policy efficiencies and results (TBS)

Sets and revises goals and plans to reflect changing priorities or conditions (TBS)

Makes challenging decisions and takes action at the opportune time (TBS)

Takes ownership and acknowledges impact and outcome of decisions (TBS)

Communication Skills

Communicate effectively in speech: Presents oral information accurately, clearly, concisely and persuasively tailored to audience’s level of expertise and needs (NASPAA, CD5)

Communicate effectively in writing: Prepares clear, concise and well-organized written materials tailored to the audience’s level of expertise and needs (NASPAA, CD5)

Effective communication skills (UNDESA/IASIA)

Communicates with clarity and conviction (TBS)

and Context

Governance and Institutions

Describe and work within the institutional, structural, and political contexts of policy making (NASPAA, CD2)

Appraise the organizational environment, both internal and external, as well as the culture, politics and institutional setting (NASPAA, CD1)

Incorporate interest groups, executive-legislative relationships, judicial decision-making, and the media in the policy process (NASPAA, CD2)

Understand and apply the legal context of public affairs, administration, and policy (NASPAA, CD3)

Administrative and constitutional law (UNDESA/IASIA)

Promoting democratic institutional development (UNDESA/IASIA)

Political and legal institutions and processes (UNDESA/IASIA)

Ethics, Rights and Accountability

Apply concepts of social equity to public affairs, administration, and policy (NASPAA, CD4)

Behave ethically and with integrity: Tell the truth, keep confidences, admit mistakes, and do not misrepresent oneself, one’s goals or the facts for personal advantage. Behave in a fair and ethical manner toward others (NASPAA, CD4)

Exercise ethical responsibility when conducting research and making decisions (NASPAA, CD4)

Understand and apply criteria appropriate to public affairs, administration, and policy (NASPAA, CD4)

Public Sector Ethics (UNDESA/IASIA)

Values and provides authentic, evidence-based advice in the interest of Canadians (TBS)

Holds self and the organization to the highest ethical and professional standards (TBS)

Models commitment to citizen-focused service and the public interest (TBS)

Creates opportunities that encourage bilingualism and diversity (TBS)

Implements practices to advance an inclusive, healthy organization, respectful of the diversity of people and their skills and free from harassment and discrimination (TBS)

Exemplifies impartial and non-partisan decision-making (TBS)

Engages in self-reflection and acts upon insights (TBS)

Delegates responsibility and accountability to appropriate levels (TBS)

Socioeconomic and Political Context

Recognize the social construction of problems (NASPAA, CD3)

Historical and cultural context (UNDESA/IASIA)

Acknowledging and reconciling cultural diversity (UNDESA/IASIA)

Informs decision-making with sound understanding of context, data and evidence (TBS)

Global Context


Public Financial Management

Integrates Comptrollership, MAF, federal legislation, regulations, and policies into division practices (TBS)

Fulfils obligations of accountabilities for unit finance and assets management (TBS)

Prepare a budget reflecting policy priorities (NASPAA, CD2)

Identify and employ alternative sources of funding, including grants, taxes, and fees (NASPAA, CD3)

Distinguish short- from long-term fiscal consequences of program and policy decisions (NASPAA, CD4)

Budgeting and financial processes (UNDESA/IASIA)

Quantifies, monitors and controls resources and costs (TBS)

Demonstrates and promotes stewardship of financial and organizational resources (TBS)

Evaluation and Performance Measurement

Apply techniques for program evaluation and forecasting (NASPAA, CD2)

Policy and program formulation, analysis, implementation and evaluation (UNDESA/IASIA)

Human Resource Management

Articulate and apply methods for measuring and improving human performance (NASPAA, CD3)

Human resource management (UNDESA/IASIA)

Supporting workforce diversity (UNDESA/IASIA)

Invests time and resources to support continuous learning (TBS)

Gives honest feedback, recognizes performance and manages non-performance (TBS)

Information and Technology Management

Manage information and networks (NASPAA, CD1)

Information management, new technology applications, and policy (UNDESA/IASIA)

Regulatory Policy and Management
Local Government Management
Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

Not for profit and private sector relationships and grant management (UNDESA/IASIA)

Economic and social institutions and processes (UNDESA/IASIA)

The implications of the third partu (UNDESA/IASIA)


Macroeconomic Policy
International Development

Institutional and developmental economics (UNDESA/IASIA)

Public Finance and Social Policy

Developing approaches to poverty alleviation (UNDESA/IASIA)

Employment, Labour and Immigration
Cities, Urban and Regional Development

The management of economic development (UNDESA/IASIA)

Environment and Sustainability

Identify the short- and long-term impacts of program and policy decisions on the physical environment (NASPAA)

Agriculture and Resources
Science, Technology and Innovation
Industry, Trade and Investment
Energy, Transport and Infrastructure
Defence, Security and Foreign Relations
Policing and Justice Administration
Arts and Culture
Financial Markets


Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 9 April 2016.

Image: Halogen Software,, accessed 15 December 2015.