Identifying competence characteristics for excellent communication professionals: A work field perspective

Melissa Fuller, Marjolein Heijne-Penninga, Elanor Kamans, Mark van Vuuren, Menno de Jong, Marca Wolfensberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
379 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to clarify which knowledge, skills and behaviors are used to describe excellent performance in professional communication. As the demand for talented communication professionals increases, organizations and educators need an empirically defined set of performance criteria to guide the development of (potentially) excellent communication professionals (ECPs). This research aimed to render a competence profile which could assist in the development of recruitment, training and development to develop relevant programs for high-potential communication practitioners. Design/methodology/approach: This mixed-method research was approached in two phases: first, a series of focus groups (n=16) were held to explore work field perspectives resulting in a concept profile, and second, a series of expert panels (n=30) following the Delphi method were conducted to determine the extent of agreement with the findings. Findings: Participants clarified that excellent performance is characterized by competences which transcend normative technical skills or practical communication knowledge. The five domains, 16 item “SEEDS” competence profile describes that ECPs are distinguished by their compounded ability to be strategic, empathic, expressive, and decisive and to see patterns and interrelationships. Research limitations/implications: Although a broad range of relevant professionals were involved in both phases, the study could be considered limited in size and scope. Research was conducted in one national setting therefore further research would be necessary to confirm generalizability of the results to other cultural contexts. Originality/value: Although many competence frameworks exist which describe normative performance in this profession, specific criteria which illustrate excellent performance have not yet been identified. This competence profile clarifies characteristics which typify excellent performance in professional communication and can be helpful to educators and employers who wish to identify and create suitable training programs for ECPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-252
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of communication management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Career development
  • Communication excellence
  • Communication practitioner
  • Research

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