Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

VolkerWessels Academy

A construction company in learning mode

Rademakers M. (2014)

The VolkerWesselsAcademy case shows how the corporate university played into the strategic challenges faced by VolkerWessels. VolkerWessels is an international construction company headquartered in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The company consists of no fewer than 125 strongly autonomous subsidiaries that are active in various markets and countries. These often widely varied subsidiaries all have their own preferences when it comes to organizational learning. In line with the diversity of the company, the range of learning propositions offered by the VolkerWesselsAcademy is also very diverse. The corporate university is active in areas of strategic importance to VolkerWessels, such as corporate image in society, attracting young talents, inter-organizational cooperation, counteracting the “not invented here” syndrome, corporate social responsibility, leadership, and more. The issues are dealt with in employee training, management courses, and master classes for a selected group of talented managers. The theme across all of these corporate university activities is that they are the ‘binding agent’ for the organization as a whole. VolkerWessels has strategic priorities at the group level, on the one hand, and subsidiary-level priorities on the other hand that need to be linked. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the corporate university can rely on the necessary attention and commitment of VolkerWessels’ senior management. All the same, the challenge for the VolkerWesselsAcademy to excel every day is a tough one. One of the success factors for corporate universities that the VolkerWesselsAcademy propounds pertains to strategic focus:

“… it is important to retain your own strategic focus as a corporate university. The VolkerWesselsAcademy is always open to the learning needs of the subsidiaries, but does not grant every request these subsidiaries make. The subsidiaries can also arrange for learning programs and training courses externally; as these do not have the clear added value of bringing employees from various parts of the group together, they cannot be on the VolkerWesselsAcademy program.”

Keywords: strategy, corporate university, organizational learning