Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Learning from the customers

22.10.2007
Employees of knowledge enterprises learn most when they are out on assignments together with demanding customers. “Working with the right customers is more important for skills development than attending courses,” claims researcher Tale Skjølsvik at BI Norwegian School of Management.

Developing employees’ skills and expertise is vital for knowledge-intensive enterprises. Much is written about the plethora of courses, training programmes and other formal learning arenas.

Much less focus is placed on the skills development that takes place through the everyday work of employees.

While many employees spend a few days or weeks a year on courses, they can learn something new on the job on every single one of the more than 200 working days of the year.

Learning on the job

“Everyday skills development must be placed at the heart of every company that invests in skills development. And this applies to most enterprises in today’s competitive situation. Skills are becoming ever more important in order to develop competitive advantages,” claims PhD student Tale Skjølsvik at BI Norwegian School of Management.

Together with Professor Bente Løwendahl and Associate Professor Ragnhild Kvålshaugen at BI Norwegian School of Management and Senior Research Siw Marita Fosstenløkken at the Work Research Institute, Tale Skjølsvik has carried out a comprehensive study of skills development in professional service companies in five different sectors: management consultancy, law, consulting engineering and advertising agencies.

The results are published in the international scientific periodical California Management Review.

“Absolutely the most important learning arena in these companies is the assignments that employees work on,” claims Skjølsvik.

This promotes learning

The research team has sought to understand the characteristics of the various assignments that are important factors for the employees to learn a lot.

The study shows that there are six factors in particular associated with assignments which contribute positively to learning:

1) A high level of innovative and customised assignments
2) Variation in the composition of the assignment team in terms of skills
3) Time pressure
4) Major projects
5) Competent customers
6) A high degree of interaction with the customer
The most surprising finding is perhaps that time pressure has a positive effect on learning.

This finding is in contrast to previous research which has indicated that time pressure has a negative effect on innovative solutions and learning.

“Despite this, we would not conclude by recommending greater time pressure as a means to increase skills development. We need further studies which cover other factors, not least whether there is a threshold value for when time pressure changes from having a positive to a negative effect on learning,” says Skjølsvik.

The research study demonstrates that, in the work to improve skills, it is probably as important to place an emphasis on the day to day work that the individual carries out as it is to focus on courses and learning.

Audun Farbrot | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bi.no/edu

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht How Strong Brands Translate into Money
15.11.2016 | Kühne Logistics University - Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung

nachricht Demographic change depresses tax revenues
04.11.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>