Taylor, Scott and Paton, Rob
Corporate universities: historical development, conceptual analysis and relations with public-sector higher education.
The Observatory of Borderless Higher Education.
In recent years the number and visibility of training and development initiatives within multinational corporations that adopt the language, structure and practice of higher education has risen dramatically, yet empirical analyses of corporate universities remain rare. In this report, the authors survey some existing literature and present preliminary findings from empirical work with a number of corporate universities in Europe. There is mention of historical precedents for both commercial companies taking primary responsibility for employee training and development, and a blurred divide between higher education and vocational training. Corporate university initiatives are located within the organizational world that has generated them, and in particular recent managerial discourses of human resource management, knowledge management and the ‘learning organisation’. Interview data from directors of European corporate universities suggest these initiatives are subject to a range of intense pressures that should be taken into account in considering their significance and likely impact on existing educational providers. The report concludes with a discussion of three potential futures for corporate universities within contemporary educational provision.
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