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A general approach is presented for the development of competence management information systems to enable competence management at all business control levels (i.e., strategic, tactical, and operational). Based on a state of the art review of competence definitions, a model named competence, resource, aspect, and individual (CRAI) for human resource competence is presented. For the sake of computerization, the CRAI model is fully defined using the set theory. It structures and formalizes the concept of competence and provides guidelines for its deployment in businesses when building a company's specific competence information system. Furthermore, the CRAI model is also analyzed on a number of queries frequently dealt with in competence management. To make them independent of any specific technology, these queries have also been formalized using the set theory. Finally, an extract of a full-scale industrial case study, on which the CRAI model has been tested, illustrates concepts discussed in the paper.