Corporate University in China

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3 Case Studies: Corporate Universities in China

Corporate University in China

Written by Dr. Clare Sham

July 2007

The concept of corporate university (CU) in China is a recent phenomenon although it existed more than eight decades in the western world. Literature reviews indicate that CU is an independent professional-managed entity proactively providing learning intervention in the workplace. With the ownership of the corporation, CU embedded culture and optimized learning through commitment to strategic intent in order to meet organizational objectives. The concept of “training” has to be redefined. The major key role of CU is to facilitate both individuals and organization to become “efficient learner” in order to maintain competitiveness in the ever-changing of business environment.

Since the start of economic reform in 1978, the Chinese economy has enjoyed a dramatic growth. In 2002 alone, China attracted over US$52.7 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), surpassing the US. The drastic economic growth and the fundamental structural change in China as a result of government policies, globalization and technological advances will continue to drive the demand for training and competency development. Both local and foreign-invested corporations seek the CU concept as the strategic solution. There are many reasons for corporations establish CU; however, the primary one is to facilitate corporate objectives and support business strategies.

Studies on HRM suggest different models vary across different countries. A direct copy from western model might cause ineffective and inefficient. A comprehensive understanding on the CU meaning, how it operates, and its roles are important. In addition, consideration of local elements is necessary in adopting CU in China. Major Chinese characteristics with current corporate situation and issues should be identified.

Evidences support that the Chinese contextual variables and their CU motives...
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