Dr. Joseph W.M. Kessels (1952) ist Professor für „Human Resource Development“ an der Universität Twente (NL). 1977 gründete er mit Kessels & Smit – The Learning Company, ein auf Personalentwicklung spezialisiertes Beratungsunternehmen. Josephs Hauptinteresse liegt in der Erforschung von Merkmalen die produktives Arbeiten in Lernumgebungen unterstützen und Innovationen für nachhaltige Entwicklung fördern.
The economy is rapidly being transformed into a knowledge economy. Therefore, individuals, teams and companies need to develop the necessary competencies to be able to participate in a working life that is mainly based on knowledge productivity. Traditional approaches to management, training and development will not provide the learning environment that is required
for knowledge work. Therefore, each company needs to design a corporate curriculum that turns the day-to-day work environment into a powerful learning environment.
The knowledge economy offers the possibility of prosperity to those who can join the new elite of knowledge workers. It also inherently creates new imbalances. The learning environment should help individuals to develop their talents and take part in various forms of knowledge work. The concepts of knowledge productivity and the corporate curriculum raise also the question of how far knowledge productivity can be managed. These concepts may even question the role of managers in a knowledge economy.
Sustainable development is a crucial element in defining a new role of companies in a knowledge economy. There are several reasons that give meaning to this search for corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
In the course of time the environment motive has played an important role currently fuelled by the alarming news on climate change and shortage of natural resources. In many countries this gave rise to new laws concerning the use of water, energy, hazardous substances, and carbon dioxide emissions. A second motive is the matter of vulnerable reputation. After the disaster with the Brent Spar affaire of Shell, and today’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, corporations more than ever before are conscious of the importance of their reputation in the perception of the public.
Greenwashing may result from an initial opportunistic reason to present itself on the green side. However, it is often the start of a major turnaround in thinking about sustainable production and servicing. Another motive is related to innovation. Solving the many problems that arise when working in a sustainable way inevitably leads to highly innovative behaviour, smart operating procedures and an attitude of continuous improvement in view of corporate social responsibility. A search for sustainable meaning in a knowledge economy is the licence to participate.