Aim: understand the strategic contribution corporate universities can
make to innovation in organisations
What is a corporate university and what models of corporate
How can corporate universities play a strategic role in organisational
How do corporate universities contribute to strategic innovation?
Literature research (stage 1)
Case studies (stage 2) – healthcare, industry
Quantitative research (stage 3)
Advanced Knowledge Knowledge
Training Department Backbone Factory
(operational) (tactical) (strategical)
Goal • Efficiency • Alignment • Competitive
Relation • Indirect, re-active • Direct, re-active • Direct, pro-active
Activities • Coordinating training • Develop and rollout • Strategic innovation
activities learning initiatives in the corporation
based on corporate via learning and
Acquisition Refers to a firm’s capability to identify and acquire externally
generated knowledge that is critical to its operations.
Assimilation Refers to the firm’s routines and processes that allow it to
analyse, process, interpret and understand information
obtained from external sources.
Transformation Refers to the firm’s capability to develop and refine the
routines that facilitate combining existing knowledge and
newly acquired assimilated knowledge.
Exploitation Refers to the routines that allow firms to refine, extend, and
leverage existing competencies or to create new ones by
incorporating acquired and transformed knowledge into its
Zahra & George (2002)
Corporate university is a misleading and ambiguous concept
Several typologies and development models for corporate universities
Models and typologies are descriptive and provide limited guidance to
implementing a corporate university
Research into corporate universities from a strategic management
perspective is lacking (e.g. contribution to strategic innovation)
Absorptive capacity seems to be an interesting concept to measure a
corporate universities contribution to strategic innovation
Absorptive capacity concept has an external orientation, although a
broader measurement instrument exists (Brettel et al, 2009)
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