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 Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung

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: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>