About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Who's our target audience?

As I blogged earlier, I think there are three main groups we should be targeting: organizations, individuals, and business/vocational schools (higher ed and even high school vocational/business programs). In the first case, organizations must begin to see the changes in workplace literacy and support programs that help to develop these competencies. For many organizations, this means a change in how they are training, when they are training, how they compensate for training (i.e. perhaps paying for a training program every two to three years might change to giving "study time" 2 hours a week), and how workers are being evaluated. It also means they will need a new paradigm in which they are evaluating the value of training (and with it new evaluation tools).

In terms of the individual, individual workers need to understand the skills they will need as they go through their profession and change jobs (I think I read somewhere that the average Gen X'er will change his or her job at least 10 times throughout his or her career). This means we need to identify the skills that will make an employee employable and able to grow within a dynamic environment.

Conflict of interest

Walking the line between the organization and individual is tricky as each has conflicting motivation which could be detrimental to the other. An organization might want to have its employees be flexible and able to learn so they can demand more work (hours) and be able to cut its workforce whenever needed. An employee might want to possess these skills so they can jump ship when things get tough (thus taking the organization's economic currency with them). I think this is why of these literacies will be a hard sell initially.

Therefore, I feel the third group, business and vocational schools and programs are the best initial audience for work literacies. Accrediting bodies, such as AACSB, have traditionally had a strong influence on business education, which then permeates into the organization. This can be seen with the advent of the PC and with globalization. As new graduates come into an organization with new skills, they will influence current workers. This allows for a new idea to be adopted by an organization, modified to meet the organization's needs. The result is then a pull strategy for training, in which individual workers are demanding training based on the needs these new ideas are generating.

My own experience is that most business schools are very conservative, so these changes are going to be a hard sell. However, if they accept these new ideas (and I think that many have begun to discuss these work literacies), the ideas will begin to permeate to the organizational and individual levels. I also agree with Harold that professional organizations are another good audience to target, as older workers look to these organizations as less "white tower" and more pragmatic. The American Marketing Association, National Communication Association, American Management Association, American Institute of CPA's, and ASTD all have a great influence on organizations. So do the industry professional organizations (e.g. IEEE, National Association of Insurance and Financial advisers, the national air transportation association).

No comments: