The use of research to develop a new concept in international management development services
The increasing internationalisation of business activities, both in Europe and elsewhere, has led to a growth in demand for management development services with an international focus. Ashridge Management College and the Center for Creative Leadership, two organisations already active in this field, wished to develop a new concept whereby the services offered concentrated on helping businesses to plan and implement strategic change in the new international environment. In light of the competitiveness in the market and the investment risk involved, research was used as an aid to deciding; whether to go ahead with the project; and what modifications, if any, were needed to the concept proposed. The paper describes the design and implementation of the study which took place. It explains the difficulties encountered in terms of sampling, recruitment and interviewing, and discusses the steps and solutions taken to overcome these problems. It describes some of the findings, and explains how these findings were used: to gain greater understanding of the needs of potential user organisations; to amend the focus of the concept so that the services offered became more interesting, appealing and distinctive for the target market; to give an assessment of whether the opportunity was sufficiently 'real' to justify the investment of Ashridge and C.C.L.'s funds and resources, and their commitment to its implementation.
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