As I explained in my previous blog, the transmission of knowledge is based on action. Corporate universities are a good example of this.
We can see two parallel movements in the last ten years:
- First, universities have institutionalized partnerships with companies that fund endowments for professors and research. For example, in 2009 Areva launched an educational and research based program on nuclear energy with ParisTech. In another field, we can also mention the ESSEC / LVMH partnership, which provides education and research on luxury brand management.
- Secondly, more and more companies are creating their own corporate universities. This can help them to control the transfer of knowledge and skills that are necessary for development in an environment where products, employees and the company are interdependent.
There are now more than 4000 corporate universities in the world, which is 4 times more than the 1000 universities listed in the official rankings. In France, there are close to 100 corporate universities, more than twice as many as traditional universities.
We can say that a real revolution has been emerging gradually over the last few years. Annick Renaud Coulon, President of the European Club of corporate universities, told the magazine le Nouvel Economiste that there are many reasons for this acceleration. "Is it because the finished product of traditional schooling is not or is no longer suitable for employers? Or is it because teachers and bosses differ on business needs and education? Or maybe because the time scales of individuals and the market have nothing in common, and so skill requirements have changed accordingly? Finally it may be because we're in an era of the democratization of knowledge. "
There are also many factors driving companies to adopt an internal structure that can be both a place of exchange and of discussion. Within vertical hierarchical structures, the corporate university provides a new form of recognition to those involved and brings a "breath of fresh air" to interdepartmental work. Even if the main objective is training, corporate universities also play other roles. For one thing, they contribute significantly to disseminate the strategy and values of a company. Philippe Delvaux, Global Learning Vice President in charge of the corporate university at Bio Merieux, explains: "Being involved in training helps us to be more competitive. Training and learning are key elements for a business and they allow us to unite and develop a common corporate culture. "
Corporate universities also create communities of practice around the core business of the company. They provide a place for knowledge management, which is often essential. Last but not least they play a role in the communication of the company to showcase best practices.
By organizing the acquisition of new knowledge, corporate universities also help a company to take responsibility for its actions which are inseparable from the company’s social and environmental development.