Purpose ‐ To analyze the role of construction site supervisors, including foremen and general foremen, as front-line managers. The role is treated as a critical labor function and a source of value-added for construction management. Design/methodology/approach ‐
An original model based on the labor competency management framework is proposed for training, developing and certifying construction supervisors in Chile and other developing countries. This model was developed from the findings of a case study in which the competency framework was applied
to a specific construction company. Findings ‐ This case study has demonstrated the significant potential of the competency framework for the Chilean construction sector, with its underdeveloped human resources management methods. In particular, this framework can be an effective
approach to achieving the competencies required by construction site supervisors who must deal with inadequately trained workers, as is the case in many developing countries. The structured approach of the competency framework can help companies create more objective schemes for the design
and implementation of training programs. Practical implications ‐ The application of the competency approach can greatly improve the human resources management function in construction companies as well as the site performance of their personnel. The findings obtained so far
in Chile can also be projected to construction companies in other developing countries in the region. Originality/value ‐ This paper presents the first application of the competency framework to a Chilean construction company. This study is also original in the sense that the
application described here was carried out in an environment where human resource conditions are quite deficient.