First, let me start with a hat tip to the Knowledge Infusion blog. It had a post about an article published in the June 2007 issue of HR Magazine called "New Competencies for HR". It is a really good article about research that was done to identify the key competencies that embody high-performing HR professionals. It was an extensive study (pretty much like a 360 degree assessment) of HR professionals across more than 400 companies.
I would not quibble with the six competencies identified. HR professionals should use it as a useful aid in career development. I think it is a bit of a stretch though to say that this research provides a "framework for thinking about how HR drives organizational performance". Maybe it was not discussed in the article (and I am certainly interested in being corrected if it is part of the research), but I did not see any discussion of how the research makes the link between the competencies identified and high organizational performance.
I think it would be a great idea to take the assessment data and analyze it with business performance data (e.g., market value, profitability, etc.) to see if there is any correlation (or better yet causality) between high proficiency in the competencies identified and high business performance (similar to what Watson Wyatt does at a company level in its Human Capital Index studies).
To me, that is where the rubber meets the road. It is well and good to say that we assessed high performers and these were the key competencies that they shared. It is a whole other thing to say we that we assessed high performers and that these key competencies are the ones demonstrated by those high performers that differentiate high performing companies.
What do you think? Is it too much of a stretch to link the competencies of individuals in the HR organization to key overall business metrics? It may be. It may be impossible to establish any correlation (much less causality). However, even if we cannot find the link at an individual level, we may be able to find it at the organizational level (aggregating the information from the individual competencies) and draw some useful conclusions.