The purpose of the study was to explore the role of organisational behaviour in establishing a corporate university in a large corporate in the construction industry. Studies have been conducted regarding the process steps in establishing a corporate university but a gap exists in the cohesive presentation of the various relationships and the behaviours that drive the successful implementation and sustained operation of a learning academy. An understanding of organisational behaviour at three levels (individual, group and organisational) is a critical success factor that provides the superstructure to the firm foundation provided by the right process steps.
An in-depth, single case study research design was used by the researcher taking a qualitative approach from a complete member researcher perspective with an analytic autoethnographic orientation. Data collection comprised archival document review and semi-structured, in-depth interviews with senior executives and leadership on other levels in the organisation. Analysis was conducted with the assistance of a qualitative data analysis computer software package as well as through iterative coding and memo writing to surface patterns and themes.
The study resulted in a framework reflecting a complex web of relationships and roles that included: context as a catalyst; leadership as a critical role player; academy structure as a key driver of learning; individuals as recipients and beneficiaries; key stakeholders and internal role players in the implementation of learning; and finally, organisational culture as the normative domain. The study concludes with propositions that encapsulate these relationships.
The framework presenting a complex web of relationships and roles has expanded the existing theory of organisational learning by integrating and incorporating organisational behaviour theory to understand the role that behaviour on individual, group and organisational levels plays when establishing a corporate university. In addition, the framework provides insight into the role of an academy in promoting a culture of learning.
Organisations can benefit from an insight into the behaviours which underpin the establishment of a corporate academy because such insight will more readily lead to successful implementation and the avoidance of costly mistakes. A corporate academy plays a key role in assisting organisations to build essential skills and capabilities particularly in times of increasing demand for competent and capable employees to execute strategy. The single ‘revelatory’ case study approach was conducted due to the unique opportunity presented when the researcher was tasked with establishing a corporate university in a large corporate in the construction industry.