Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How a Professional Services Firm Has Adapted Learning for the New Digital Age
by Fanning, Bridget A., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 285; 13904053
Abstract (Summary)

The New Digital Age is characterized by a rapid growth in the use of digital technology in society and business. Technology has become integral to how people live and work, changing the skills people need every day and how companies operate. Digital disruption is forcing companies to urgently reskill their employees and provide effective training in the new technologies to keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancement. Companies need to encourage their employees to take ownership for their self-development and participate in lifelong learning in the Race Against the Machine or risk their skills becoming obsolete. The purpose of this study is to understand the importance of organizational human resource knowledge management practices through learning to business success in a high technology knowledge-intensive industry firm. This study focuses on one company, and what Executives and Learning Leaders perceive to be the relationship between the Learning Experience Platform, business performance, organizational agility, and sustained competitive advantage. Additionally, the practices and processes that drove the successful adoption of the platform are explored. This dissertation used qualitative methods to explore the connections among learning and business success.

Executives and Learning Leaders in a professional services firm believe that the Learning Experience Platform enabled the reskilling of the professional services firm employee’s to the technologies of the New Digital Age and this resulted in improved financial performance, increased organizational agility, and differentiation in the marketplace that led to competitive advantage.

The most effective practices that drove the adoption of the Learning Experience Platform were local leadership role modeling and local adaptation of the platform. In addition, marketing and communication programs explained the benefits of self-directed continuous learning to employees and generated interest and awareness of the platform. However, all these practices were secondary to the many other factors that were already existent in the professional services firm’s culture. These included a strong legacy learning culture, and the importance of needing to stay relevant and ahead of clients. In addition, the employees themselves were intrinsically motivated lifelong learners encouraged by the strong learning culture. This study makes a unique contribution to the current body of knowledge connecting knowledge management through learning and business performance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ravitch, Sharon M.
Commitee: Michel, Alexandra, Wiens, Kandi J.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Chief Learning Officer
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Adult education
Keywords: Competitive advantage, Dynamic capability, Intellectual capital, Knowledge management, Organizational agility, Strategic human resource management
Publication Number: 13904053
ISBN: 9781085651875
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