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In a global economy, knowledge is a competitive advantage.

This paper seeks to provide the concrete literature to show the working and efficiency of corporate universities. The introduction of the paper points out the definition of corporate universities and offers the traceable origin of the terms usage. The paper examines the development of corporate universities. Three corporate universities are used to indicate the aims as well as the benefits of the universities. There other corporate universities considered in the paper in offering solid examples of the working of corporate universities. Introduction
A corporate university is defined as a strategic umbrella whereby employers, customers are suppliers are educated to achieve the organizations set goals. Its sole duty is to equip the individuals related to the company with education which conform to the business entity’s vision. There are numerous reasons which make a company establish its own university. To start with, is to enhance productivity, increase in profits and hence counteracting the global competitiveness through offering education related to the market place. The education offered in the said universities can also be used as an incentive whereby employees find it hard to leave the company after being offered education. The corporate universities have also considered education as a business whereby the public is offered courses at a fee hence the company making profits (WankeL & Defillippi, 2008).
The history of corporate universities dates back in 1927 when General Motors was the first company in North America to build an educational division named the General Motors Engineering and Management Institute. Other firms allover the world started later corporate institutions. At the material time the corporate world was training future managers. The classes in these institutions were geared towards getting solutions for the problems at work place. The education offered was based on problem solving (Paton, 2005).
The modern corporate university was marked by McDonald’s Hamburger University which was set up in 1961 with an aim of polishing competent executives. The executives were used in running his fast food restaurants. His ideology in setting up the university was based on the fact that once employees are acquitted with corporate values, they are able to tackle business challenges with confidence. The university helped McDonald in expanding his business to other parts of the world since he had enough personnel. Hamburger University has gained popularity and it has other branches in japan, Germany, England, Germany and Australia (White-Moore, 2002).
It is imperative to draw a line between the corporate training in early stages and corporate university education evident today. One of the most notable distinctions between the two is the nature of education offered. In the corporate university evident today, education is proactive with a key role of shaping the future. On the other hand, the corporate universities today do not limit their education to employees only but the public stands a chance to benefit from the education offered. The value chain of the company also gets to benefit from corporate education since managers and suppliers are educated. Corporate education has been a sharpening tool towards the establishment of institutions in future (Paton, 2005).
Worth noting is the structure of corporate University. There are various requirements that a company must observe before the university is firmly established. To start with, the company must form a stable governance system whereby a CEO who actively participates in the creation of a vision and shares it with others. He/she has the role of ascertaining the nature of students. This could be the employees, suppliers and customers. In some instances, it could be the general public. It is also the sole duty of the CEO to select the learning partners; this entails e-learning companies. Lastly, he/she should develop a strategy whereby technology is put in place to enable student’s access the educational materials.
Many corporate Universities base their curricula on the three main framework principles. These are; Corporate, Contextual and core are otherwise known as the three C’s. The first C stands for developing corporate citizenship. The development of corporate citizenship involves building a community between the employees whereby they become part of the company. This promotes responsibility in the company hence advocating for realization of the company’s values and goals. The second C stands for contextual framework. This clearly includes offering the employee with knowledge on the company’s products, competition and the determination of the company’s working standards. The last C stands for Core competencies and has skills to be used in the company’s in offering the products in marketplace. These skills include clear communication skills, thinking creatively and developing a sense of global literacy (White-Moore, 2002).
The trend of different companies in the 21st century has been to establish corporate universities. The issue has generated several debates seeking to understand the reason for the springing up of corporate universities. The core reasons for the establishment differ from one university to the other and a separate examination of the reasons and the benefits is essential (Peng, 2009).
To start with, is the Hamburg University which started in 1921 with the aim of training the internal employees on handling the restaurant jobs at the given period. The main focus of the University was to offer consistent skills so as to enhance improved delivery of services. The university was a bench mark setting new standards through training by placing all employees at the same footing. In many companies, it has been hard to reconcile the distinct services delivery from different employees who acquired training from different institutions. Reliable competent employees have been made from these companies hence creating uniform service delivery skills. The main aim of the Hamburg University establishment was to provide and build on the capacity of the workforce such that the required qualifications are met so as to face the global competition trend. A pool of well trained staff with the capability to handle tasks in the company was created (WankeL & Defillippi, 2008).
Though Hamburg was initially established so as to deal with different challenges in the company, the skills and education has become the guiding factor in the companies operations. Knowledge and expertise has been imparted on the company’s related supply chain. In the most beneficial way, the education offered as induced many Hamburg employees to work for the company. It has become easy to reconcile the corporate knowledge acquired with the prevailing corporate experiences. The knowledge acquired has not benefitted the employees and the supply chain only but the general public has greatly benefited (Peng, 2009).
Secondly, is the French ACCOR Academie. This university was established under the ACCOR Group which is a world wide corporate entity which majors in travel agencies, car rental and hotel business. It was founded by Gerald Pelisson in mid 1980. It was first involved in Hotel industry in many parts of Europe. The ACCOR Academie started as an institution of training individuals with interests in hotel and tourism sector in Europe. For years, Europe enjoyed training in tourism and hotel business. In its early stages, the university mainly aimed at implementing stable training campaigns in France. The university also desired to create inter-professional synergies whereby different professional get to be joined together for a purpose (WankeL & Defillippi, 2008).
Group value and organizational working was a great value of the university’s training with a dedicated focus on dealing with the anticipated challenges. The company has made strides in making sure that the ACCOR 2000 project dubbed “succeeding together” was a success. The project had specific interests which involved new technologies, sales and marketing and maintenance and technical. The subjects under training in the university have been increased to meet the growing demand in France, Europe and the entire world. The various developments made in the university have fostered commendable changes in the University (White-Moore, 2002).
The main campus located at Paris has continuously offered services and facilities for seminars in the functional sense. Training in modern accommodation and restaurant services has gradually been supported. The efficient training and the various programs available have helped in transforming the French tourism industry. The industry is now attractive and manned by well trained persons (Paton, 2005).
The university has been organized and intergraded with professional courses so as to allow those individuals who participate to get skills and share the hence initiating synergies in the Group. With customized course units for particular products, operational teams to deal with special needs are created. The university has identified a way of maintaining managerial competence whereby the spirit of team work is emphasized. ACCOR Academie has become a major corporate tool which has shaped the future through activities which support professional competence development. The training in the university starts from the personal skills to joining the skills together to form a team. This has enabled action learning projects which work hand in hand with mentoring and consulting (Peng, 2009).
The main strength of ACCOR University is based on the fact that regular evaluation programs are conducted with the aim of facilitating adequate training. The internal and the operating processes of the company are alert to counter any change that occurs. The consistency in the continuous implementation of relevant changes so as to be inline with global corporate strategies makes the university a pillar of knowledge unshakable through out time. The human resource development facilitated by the university has supported ACCOR Group to a reputable organization. The university’s popularity is increasing daily hence maintaining it as an institution ready to face different global challenges (Nankervis, 2005).
ACCOR Academie has been widely acknowledged as an institution evolving with the global standards to link the corporate university missions with learning organization development. Its growing contribution to the managerial of large companies in the global setting has contributed in offering reliable managers to counter the 21st century human resource issues. It has further played a critical role in incorporating the global corporate changes. In the coming days this university’s will form a major part of global partnership in streamlining the organizational strategy in building up learning companies. Given the drastic advancement of the corporate universities, they may be a mode of future where new types of management procedures. The organizational structure could be developed through being progressively expanded by the nature of education offered (Wall, Minocha & Rees, 2010).
ACCOR University has become learning oriented and the level of education offered promotes the best professional processes and incorporates them in the companies operations. The University has been used as a vital tool for disseminating corporate standards and culture. The most notable lesson by companies has been that corporate strategy and culture can not be ably done from external resources. If external resources are used, the culture takes a lot of time to be spread. The influence that is played by universities is valuable and it has shown through time that consultants are not as effective as the role played by the university (Hill, Cronk, & Wickramasekera, 2008).
The second renowned corporate university in the world is the Computer Based Training on the Intranet. The university is considered one of the most recent. It is mainly concerned with giving the staff training on the use of software and to be inline with the legislations concerning the software. The main advantage of the said university is to reduce employees money spent in travelling from one place to another. The consistency in ensuring that managers are reachable even when they are distributed allover the world has been a major aim of the university. The Shell Open University is an example of a corporate university which has overtime helped in reducing the training. The role played by universities in ensuring that a common corporate culture is enhanced. Major effective management teams have been created through corporate universities (Hill, 2009).
Corporate universities have increasingly formed part of the pillar which has strengthened the on the human resource management department. In that perspective the corporate culture has been fostered with modifications on the organizational dynamics. In addition, corporate universities have been said to be the experimenting part whereby permanent learning practices at all levels are facilitated in the company. Along with the mission of transforming the trainers, the corporate mission has been used in many instances to change the knowledge management and the vital organization of culture changes. In many universities, the issue of corporate universities has steered education in a new direction with streamlined missions based on the information acquired in different levels of knowledge (Harrison, 2010).
The main way in which corporate universities stand out is based on the fact that unlike other universities whereby theories are emphasized, Knowledge in corporate universities is through practice. The realization by companies that corporate universities are a source of credible information has formed the basis by which companies have built up corporate universities. The interrelationship between learning and innovation are considered in the practical sense so as to characterize it. The universities have given account of how the knowledge used is extracted, stored and even disseminated. Each step that knowledge goes through is considered (Hamilton & Webster, 2012).
The courses from the universities are not taught from theoretical point of view but managers and supervisors are called upon to offer practical experiences to the students. Junior employees are also given skills to propel their success and excellence in their jobs (Paton, 2005).
At a time when corporate universities rely on the technological know how, the development of learning has been emphasized. Corporate universities are said to embrace and reconcile the two controversial assumptions. The first assumption is based on the notion that knowledge acquired by an individual can be transformed to form collective understanding. The second notion is based on the fact that in any organizational learning, the information available is analogous to an individual education. To support the above notion, looks at universities demonstrate it well. A company operating in Europe known as FuelCo highly requires the technical expertise of its employees to carry out different tasks in the company. The initial plan of the company’s formation of a corporate university was to create a familiar health and safety procedures so as to maintain a low cost of production (Harrison, 2010).
Secondly, is to provide a corporate Centre whereby employees from the entire world can meet and exchange different cultures. The socialization of the employees enhances cultural transfer of skills and knowledge. The training costs of the company are largely cut and all employees get to share the corporate goals and philosophies. Technical skills are exchanged and low skilled countries highly benefit from the said interaction (Cavusil, Knight & Reisenberger, 2008).
The other company which has noted a great change through the establishment of corporate university is Research Co, which operates in the United Kingdom. The company’s corporate university seeks to recentralize the training of budget control and making sure that tacit knowledge reaches the managerial team. Any form of interviews done is mainly for the managing initiative and to define the role of the corporate university (Cavusgil et al, 2012).
The flexibility in the formation of corporate universities has shown that it is not only big companies which can form companies. A good example of a small company which has created a university is Verifone. The estimate of the company is 2,500 employees. The company managed to create a university whereby experts and contractors are use the in-house learning centers. The company has created more offices allover the world (Harrison, 2010).
The results and the in-depth analysis of different corporate universities have shown that there are new trends in the corporate world which have greatly influenced the working of companies and the achieving of their goals. The path taken by different companies in making sure that knowledge is shared in the employee environment is interesting and encouraging. There are new ways in which corporate universities have contributed to learning and organization of developmental processes which have mainly acted as a pillar on the human resource department. The universities have greatly promoted the growth of investment and they are beneficial to the business world.
It is recommended that corporate universities ought to find new ways of responding to the new approaches of the economic corporate challenges. This mainly calls for the use of more efficient ways of facing problems of bureaucracies in large organizations especially in the Western companies. The use of corporate universities seems to be very essential in the progress towards the new kinds of learning organizations based on real learning structures. In an increased adequate management paradigm the only reliable source of disseminating corporate culture is corporate universities. These institutions can only be reliable if much support and funding is done to them (Allen, 2002).
Corporate universities should focus on engaging in a streamlined network whereby other universities are included in the formation of workable alliances. The corporate bonding is very essential since it facilitates sharing of corporate culture. The process of formulating objectives can also be done through the said alliances. The solutions offered by the partners in the alliances should be integrated so as to come up with viable solutions to different problems that are encountered by companies. The review process should be open to partners to assess and make the appropriate measurements. Lastly, the universities should standardize all contracts.

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