Training Initiatives in a Cooperative Network: A Polish Case Study


  • Scott Erickson Ithaca College
  • Maciej Szafrański Poznan University of Technology, Faculty of Engineering Management



Knowledge management, competency management, on-the-job training, human capital, human resources


Paper applies an in-depth example to knowledge-development decisions made at the top levels of firms and their consistency with specific training initiatives arranged with third party educational providers. The unique access provided by the network in Poland at the core of this study yields insights at both levels, an opportunity not often available to academic researchers.  Case study is employed.  The cooperative training network includes multiple firms (five included here), thirty-eight vocational schools, and a technical university overseeing the program. Data collection including preparatory communication, periodic surveys, and additional in-depth interviews with companies as well as data provided by participating schools though only the quantitative survey results are included in this paper.  Both firms and schools, as a proxy for participants, are pleased with training initiatives. Moreover, specific results on training initiatives varying by degree of company control and location (in-house, on-campus) provide insights on how firms can gain more control over the nature of the training (firm-specific knowledge) while still maintaining participant interest (often based on obtaining more industry-specific or occupational knowledge).  The research is a case study and so not statistically extendable. The case study also takes place in Poland and describes a unique cooperative network including for-profit firms, vocational secondary schools, and a university. Results should be interpreted with some care, but at the same time provide unique depth and insight.  Results provide useful guidance for firms participating in training partnerships as well as for schools joining in such partnerships. Specific feedback on the perception and acceptance of specific initiatives (e.g. internships) has been obtained.  Brings together several streams of literature often not discussed in one place. Uses this perspective to analyze a unique cooperative network and provide unique depth to the discussion.