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The knowledge‐productive corporate university

Femke Jansink (VAPRO‐OVP, Leidschendam, The Netherlands, and)
Kitty Kwakman (Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Department of Curriculum and HRD, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Jan Streumer (Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Department of Curriculum and HRD, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 1 January 2005




In this paper the concept of knowledge production is used as a framework to study Dutch corporate universities. Knowledge production serves not simply as a desirable aim of corporate universities, as the concept also offers guidelines for the design of corporate universities. The purpose is to clarify the extent to which corporate universities fulfil this aim of knowledge production and the way they produce new knowledge.


From different theoretical perspectives 11 design characteristics have been extracted that help corporate universities to be knowledge‐productive. Two empirical studies were carried out to find out to what extent corporate universities meet those features required for knowledge production. The first study implies an exploration of opinions of key actors within 12 Dutch corporate universities, in which data were gathered through interviews and analysis of documents. The second study can be characterised as a case study of a concrete training practice within one corporate university. Data were gathered by interviews, evaluative questionnaires, and observation.


Results reveal that knowledge production is viewed as important, but that concrete measures to stimulate it are often absent. Moreover, corporate universities need to pay more attention to the working environment of their employees in order to achieve their own goals.


Analysing the corporate university from the perspective of knowledge production may stimulate corporate universities to rethink their own goals as well as their position within the organisation.



Jansink, F., Kwakman, K. and Streumer, J. (2005), "The knowledge‐productive corporate university", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 40-57.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited