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Corporate Learning Centre Rijkswaterstaat

Rademakers M. (2014)

Corporate universities can also be found in governmental organizations. Rijkswaterstaat is a key department of the Dutch Ministry of Natural Environment and Infrastructure. This department is leading in areas such as traffic management, and responsible for the construction and maintenance of the Dutch infrastructure including waterways, dykes, and roads. This case describes how the Corporate Learning Center (CLC) has grown into a corporate university with strategic impact. It has done so in a setting of continuous discussion and debate about the use and need for corporate learning. In the meantime, CLC engaged into custom-made corporate education. The strategic nature of the CLC is demonstrated by the role the corporate university plays in the alliance formation within the work field of Rijkswaterstaat. Alliance formation is very important for the department of the Ministry of Natural Environment and Infrastructure; according to Rijkswaterstaat, cooperation is an effective way to connect to the increasingly complex environment. Obtaining access to the expertise of other organizations, as opposed to a ‘lone ranger approach’ is seen as the only viable way to meet the challenges faced. With that in mind, the CLC proactively shapes corporate learning in cooperation with partner organizations of Rijkswaterstaat. In this way, a cooperation-based foundation is laid for new methods and corporate models for the organizations involved. For corporate universities to enhance their strategic impact the CLC points out that

“… it is crucial to be able to speak the management’s language. In reality, that means cutting loose from thinking and talking in educational terminology.”

Keywords: strategy, corporate university, organizational learning