To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Learning strategies for competence development in enterprises

Ulrik Brandi (Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Rosa Lisa Iannone (Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 3 January 2017



The purpose of this paper is to examine learning strategies for competence development at the enterprise level, and how these can be actualised in practice. The authors focus on three influential aspects, namely: the highest valued employee skills, main triggers for learning and investment in learning, as well as the most successful types of learning.


The empirical research was designed according to abductive reasoning. The data draw on research we undertook between 2013 and 2015, including semi-structured interviews with management, human resources and union representatives, as well as questionnaire responses from a total of 31 EU and 163 EU-competitors, across 53 industries and 22 countries.


Competence development requires flexible, learner-centred strategies for initiatives that respond to immediate business needs. Additionally, despite soft competences being so highly valued and sought after, investment (financial and other) by enterprises in developing them is low, relative to the investments poured into hard competences. Also, there is a clear employee demand gap for learning that develops soft competences.


Findings and recommendations are based on a large-scale empirical study, providing state-of-the-art knowledge, upon which we can renew our current learning strategies in workplaces.



This paper is founded on data from the Lifelong Learning, Innovation Growth and Human Capital Tracks in Europe (LLLight’in’Europe) research project which received funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement No. 290683. The authors would like to thank all the research project’s members for their inspirational collaboration throughout.


Brandi, U. and Iannone, R.L. (2017), "Learning strategies for competence development in enterprises", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 49 No. 1, pp. 1-5.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited