About Science Based Management

Individual Capability

budget cuts“All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” (Albert Einstein)

It is no wonder that the quest to quantify individual potential has preoccupied psychologists and educators alike. Likewise, Jaques and Cason’s (1994) findings on individual capability have captured the attention of business leaders around the world.

All human beings are born with a constitutionally in-built innate potential capability that matures along predictable paths continuously throughout the whole of childhood and adulthood. This maturation, unfolding in discontinuous jumps, occurs whether or not an individual has received formal education since everyday life situations afford plenty of opportunities for exercising capability.

Our knowledge of human capability is used to match people to roles, creating the conditions for a work force to be sufficiently challenged but not overwhelmed, a workforce that is free to contribute its best to the company, and prepared to be an active contributor in the future.


Time-Horizon (T/H): method of quantifying an individual’s potential capability, in terms of the longest time-span the individual could handle at a given point in their maturation process.

Capability: ability of a person to do work.


Current Applied Capability (CAC): capability someone has demonstrated to do a certain kind of work in a specific role at a given level at the present time. It is a function of his or her complexity of mental processing (CMP), how much s/he values the work of the role (V/C), his or her skilled use of knowledge for the tasks in the role (K/S), and his or her working within the boundaries of the required behaviors established for all employees, and the specific required behaviors established for the role, both of which are essential components of (RB).

We can think of this as CAC =ƒ CMP • K/S • V/C • RB

The term “CMP” Complexity of Mental Processing was originally formulated as “CIP” Complexity of Information Processing and appears in some requisite readings. In his final book on managerial leadership, Social Power and the CEO, Dr. Jaques used “TH” Time Horizon (of the individual in role) to express the components of an individual’s CAC in role.

Thus, in requisite readings you may see the formula written as CAC =ƒ CIP • K/S • V/C • RB and also as CAC =ƒ TH • K/S • V/C • RB. These are meant to represent the same concept and are indications of the on-going refinements of the principles underlying Requisite Organization.


Knowledge (K): consists of facts, including procedures that have been articulated and can be reproduced. See also skills.


Skills (S): ability, learned through experience and practice, to use specific knowledge without having to pay attention, i.e. what a person has learned to do without thinking through the steps involved. See also knowledge.


Values and Commitment (V/C): those things to which an individual will give priority or wants to do. Values are vectors which direct our actions. How much we value a role determines our commitment to work in it.


Required Behaviors (RB): consistently acting in alignment with the stated values, established practices, policies and procedures of the company, as well as consistently taking the specific actions required by the role.


Current Potential Capability (CPC): a person’s highest current level of mental complexity. It is the maximum level at which someone could work at the present time, given the opportunity to do so and provided that the work is of value to him/her, and given the opportunity to acquire the necessary skilled knowledge. This level of work is the level that people aspire to have and feel satisfied if they can get. When people have work at their CPC, they feel they have an opportunity for the full expression of their capability.


Future Potential Capability (FPC): maximum level at which a person will be capable of working at some time in the future, say at 5, 10, or 15 years from now.


Readings in Jaques’ Requisite Organization, A Total System … for the 21st Century, second edition [ISBN 1-886436-04-5], see Human Capability or Human Nature at Work, pp 18-19, 24

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