International service learning is a new trend in management development and a new field of research. International Service Learning Programs (ISLP) are experiential corporate volunteering initiatives designed to give employees the chance to work for a short spell abroad (often in a developing or emerging market) on a service assignment with a partner from the social sector (e.g. NGO, social enterprise). The service assignment is a project defined with a social-sector partner on which the corporate employee works full-time on a pro-bono basis and contributes his/her knowledge and expertise in exchange for a rich learning experience. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the use of ISLP in business firms and conducts a comparative analysis of six programs set up by multinational corporations from three industries (health, technology, and accounting and professional services). It identifies characteristics and similarities among programs, discusses differences, offers criteria for program classification and areas for future research. As such, it is an important starting point for quantitative studies. This is a qualitative study based on six ISLP. The data were gathered through desk research, interviews with program representatives and a structured questionnaire containing closed and open-ended questions. Regardless of the stated aims (which usually stress value for the participants, the company and the communities), most programs had one clear focus (two programs in the area of leadership development, two in the area of community development) while two showed closely linked foci (with slightly greater emphasis on organization development than on the other areas). The authors suggest that the type of ISLP has an effect on the learning outcomes. Since companies are still testing usefulness and outcomes of these programs, academic research that provides comparative quantitative data on the outcomes of such programs is of great value for business practice. This systematic overview and classification of ISLP is a starting point for empirical program comparisons as well as for the evaluation of different service learning approaches. This could prove very useful for other companies planning to set up or refine their own ISLP to achieve certain outcomes. This is the first paper that compares ISLP run by multinational corporations. It identifies a number of category areas in which they differ (e.g. in placement length, nature of the assignment ¿ individual or in teams, learning methods used) and provides a typology for program classification (leadership development, organization development or community development).

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Pless, Nicola; Borecka , Marketa

Comparative analysis of international service learning programs

06/2014
International service learning is a new trend in management development and a new field of research. International Service Learning Programs (ISLP) are experiential corporate volunteering initiatives designed to give employees the chance to work for a short spell abroad (often in a developing or emerging market) on a service assignment with a partner from the social sector (e.g. NGO, social enterprise). The service assignment is a project defined with a social-sector partner on which the corporate employee works full-time on a pro-bono basis and contributes his/her knowledge and expertise in exchange for a rich learning experience. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the use of ISLP in business firms and conducts a comparative analysis of six programs set up by multinational corporations from three industries (health, technology, and accounting and professional services). It identifies characteristics and similarities among programs, discusses differences, offers criteria for program classification and areas for future research. As such, it is an important starting point for quantitative studies. This is a qualitative study based on six ISLP. The data were gathered through desk research, interviews with program representatives and a structured questionnaire containing closed and open-ended questions. Regardless of the stated aims (which usually stress value for the participants, the company and the communities), most programs had one clear focus (two programs in the area of leadership development, two in the area of community development) while two showed closely linked foci (with slightly greater emphasis on organization development than on the other areas). The authors suggest that the type of ISLP has an effect on the learning outcomes. Since companies are still testing usefulness and outcomes of these programs, academic research that provides comparative quantitative data on the outcomes of such programs is of great value for business practice. This systematic overview and classification of ISLP is a starting point for empirical program comparisons as well as for the evaluation of different service learning approaches. This could prove very useful for other companies planning to set up or refine their own ISLP to achieve certain outcomes. This is the first paper that compares ISLP run by multinational corporations. It identifies a number of category areas in which they differ (e.g. in placement length, nature of the assignment ¿ individual or in teams, learning methods used) and provides a typology for program classification (leadership development, organization development or community development).
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Comparative analysis of international service learning programs
Pless, Nicola; Borecka , Marketa
Journal of Management Development
Vol. 33, nº 6, 06/2014, p. 526 - 550

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