Global competence development: the significance of experiential learning methods in global competence development

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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People Management and Organizational Development
There is a demand for individuals capable of navigating complex challenges with creative problem-solving skills (Dewey, 1986). Traditional classroom-centric learning approaches are proving inadequate in cultivating capabilities that are applicable on real life contexts, leading to a shift towards lifelong learning emphasizing experiential learning methods (Passarelli & Kolb, 2011). Experiential learning, grounded in observation, problem-solving and experimentation offers a dynamic approach to global competence development (Kolb, 1984; Bandura, 1977). Global competence, crucial for organizations operating globally, remains a weakness within organizations (PISA, 2018; Caligiuri & Dragon, 2018; Ghemawat, 2012). Despite significant investments in people development initiatives, they often fail to show proper impact (Cumberland et al., 2016). This thesis addresses the research gap by examining the contribution of experiential methods to develop global competence. Drawing on human resource development (HRD) and pedagogical theories, it explores how strategic HRD initiatives and lifelong learning perspectives fosters a comprehensive approach to global competence development. The study is qualitative by nature, involving semi-structured interviews with six professionals experienced in HR, international business, people development and education, allowing an extensive perspective on global competence development. Thematic analysis of interview data was utilized, complemented by research of existing literature. To conclude, this thesis offers practical insights and recommendations for organizations and individuals seeking to develop global competence. The findings underscore the important role of experiential learning, fostering nuanced understanding and competences that are appliable into real contexts. Further, learning from experiences can solve issues regarding resources.
Thesis advisor
Eräranta, Kirsi
global competence, global competence development, experiential learning, lifelong learning, people development, pedagogy, human resource development, HRD
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