Research and Development Projects at the Chair of Economics and Business Education Prof. Dr. Silvia Annen
The research profile of the Chair of Business Education is characterized in particular by a high degree of interdisciplinarity (use of different perspectives and disciplinary approaches), the internationality of the projects (focus on Europe and North America), and external networking with companies, especially with a commercial focus, and university schools.
Central topics addressed by the professorship's research projects are the recognition of competencies (national and international), educational decisions and educational trajectories, as well as the impact of the digital transformation, especially on the commercial professional sector. Overall social and migration policy conditions and problem situations mean that these topics will continue to be significant for the compatibility of economic growth and individual life perspectives in the future. The research findings are to be used to develop resulting implications for the future design of vocational education and training.
Concrete questions that the team of the Chair of Business Education is dealing with are, for example: How can individual competencies be identified independently of their employment context and made useful for individuals as well as for companies and society? How will corporate education concepts be designed in the future in order to survive in the international competition for skilled workers and talent? What political framework conditions are necessary to make better use of existing potential, especially of migrants and informally or non-formally qualified individuals? What contribution can and must vocational training in schools and companies make to this?
DigiTrain VET - Requirements for in-company training personnel with regard to the design of learning environments in digitized vocational training systems.
Abstract: The digital transformation is changing the processes as well as the organization of in-company work. This leads to changed competence requirements and brings with it the need for in-company training and continuing education to promote a professional capacity of employees for increasingly digitally structured processes. Although this objective is an international consensus among stakeholders in vocational education and training, the way to achieve this goal is usually unclear. For this reason, the challenges and the operational and didactic strategies for implementing the digital transformation in in-company training will be identified on the basis of problem-centered interviews with process managers (functional experts) and training managers (training experts) in 10 large companies in Germany and Brazil. Specifically, functional departments and in-company training departments in companies in the automotive industry will be surveyed about changes in work and business processes in the course of the digital transformation and about didactic concepts guiding action in this context.
The central research interests of this project are:
- What changes are occurring in work and business processes as a result of the digital transformation in the automotive industry?
- In what way and with what concepts has in-company education and training taken up these changes so far, combined with the goal of preparing employees for coping with digitally structured work processes through vocational education and training?
- Which didactic-organizational reference concepts can be observed in the course of the digital transformation and where is there a need for development?
Cooperation partner: Instituto Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS; website: www.ifrs.edu.br)
Typical educational pathways and career paths in selected commercial occupational areas - competition and complementarity between vocationally and academically qualified individuals (research project of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)
Abstract: The relationship between vocational and higher education degrees - especially with regard to their labor market usability - has been discussed in the course of the study structure reform and in the context of the anchored equivalence of higher education and vocational qualifications in the German Qualifications Framework. Competition and substitution tendencies between vocational and higher education qualifications are suspected. In the employment system, competition between vocational education and training qualifications and bachelor's and master's degrees can occur in particular where there are comparable requirements in the activities to be performed. At the same time, however, complementary qualification profiles can be observed, which may have different tasks and areas of application depending on the company. Studies show that there are differences between the sectors and that the existing personnel structure and the training activities of the companies influence the competitive conditions. In this project, typical qualification and career paths were traced in selected industries (trade, banking, logistics, tourism) and competitions with academic education (bachelor's and master's degrees) were identified. The labor market usability (e.g. employment status, position, income) of selected qualifications was examined in order to develop indications for the future design of vocational training programs. To answer these questions, corresponding vocational and academic qualifications were examined by means of a document analysis, taking into account the systematics of the German Qualifications Framework. In addition, a job advertisement analysis of corresponding company positions and activities was carried out. Furthermore, the recruitment strategies of companies and the relevant criteria in the above industries were examined in more detail using case studies and a company survey. Finally, a follow-up survey to the 2017/18 employment survey was conducted with regard to the labor market usability of vocational and academic qualifications, primarily from the perspective of individuals.
Recognition and usability of foreign qualifications and competencies in the Canadian labor market
Analysis of the status quo and the methods, decision-making bases and reference points of recruitment.
Abstract: Canadian society is characterized by a large number of immigrants. Migration policies and recognition procedures are strongly oriented towards economic criteria as well as education, skills and qualifications. The aim of this project is to gain insights into the extent to which immigrants can use their qualifications and skills acquired abroad in their professional activities in Canada. In a quantitative approach, the PIAAC data will be analyzed using various regression models. The results will provide evidence on the extent to which assumptions of human capital theory as well as credentialism theory can be substantiated. The quantitative analyses compare immigrants with the native population with respect to the phenomenon of skill under-utilization as well as wage inequity. In a qualitative approach, case studies are conducted in Canadian companies to analyze procedures and methods used by employers and other stakeholders involved to make recognition decisions. Here, the bases and reference points of these decisions, as well as the underlying information, are identified. Furthermore, reasons for the use of certain procedures and methods are identified as well as their correlations with operational requirements. From an individual perspective, the study examines how immigrants demonstrate their qualifications and competencies acquired abroad to employers, educational institutions and other relevant actors, and to what extent they have information regarding the requirements for recognition. In addition, the selection and offer of further qualification measures by employers and education providers, the bases and reference points of these decisions, and the connections with the recognition decision are examined. Methodologically, this is done by supplementing the case studies with expert interviews with further central actors. In the case studies, particular reference is made to the theoretical concepts of signaling and screening. The sampling takes into account the health care and information technology sectors, which differ in the degree of regulation as well as different labor market needs. The provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec are studied, which are characterized by particularly high proportions of immigrants and differ in terms of legal and institutional frameworks. The project results make an empirical contribution with respect to skill under-utilization as well as wage inequity to the disadvantage of immigrants and the importance of information in the assessment of foreign qualifications and competencies. Furthermore, the findings provide hints for the further development of the above theories regarding the importance of credentials as well as work experience.
Models and Procedures for the Recognition of Vocational Qualifications and Competences Acquired Abroad in Selected Countries - Design Principles, Construction, Implementation (Research Project of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)
Abstract: The MoVA project aimed to identify strategies and concepts for the recognition of vocational qualifications acquired abroad that are applied in selected European and non-European countries. In essence, it attempted to present an inventory and systematization of corresponding approaches in these countries, which could possibly be used as "models of good practice" in Germany. MoVA draws its rationale from the discussions surrounding the recognition law introduced in Germany in 2012, which was associated with high expectations. A look at other countries was intended to show the importance attached there to the recognition of vocational qualifications with regard to economic, political and/or social objectives and how corresponding models are designed and institutionally integrated. In addition to this monitoring approach at the level of the education systems, the procedures used - and thus the examination of the concrete implementation level - formed a further focus of the project. The criteria of assessment, dissemination and de facto use of the procedures as well as the potential benefits from the perspective of different actors were investigated. Specifically, the project conducted country studies in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom (England and Scotland) and Switzerland.
Commonalities and differences in commercial and business management training occupations (research project of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)
Abstract: Commercial initial and continuing vocational training occupations have developed into one of the most important segments of the German dual vocational training system in terms of both quantity and quality. In the process, they have also become more differentiated along the increasing specialization of industries and activities, so that one can now speak of more than 50 commercial training and more than 30 commercial continuing education regulations nationwide. At the same time, regulated commercial vocational training is still relatively young compared to the industrial qualification based on the medieval guild regulations of the crafts and derived from them. This may also be a reason why commercial occupations have been less the subject of occupational research so far. These were the reasons for focusing a BIBB research project on commercial occupations in their entirety.
The project provides insights into commonalities, core commercial qualifications and the differences between commercial occupations on the basis of:
- systematic content analyses of existing initial and continuing training regulations,
- a representative follow-up survey of employed business people in the wake of the BIBB-BAuA Employment Survey 2012,
- two hermeneutic studies relating to the history of merchants and commercial employees in industrial sociology,
- own analyses of business management and business education models and
- comparative studies of commercial occupational patterns and requirements in Switzerland and Austria.
These findings lead to a conception of commercial thinking and acting that can be used as a starting point for the future design of commercial education and training regulations. In addition to highlighting the commonalities, the project provides descriptions of the differences between the training occupations and between the initial and continuing training levels and gives indications of the commercial occupational family and occupational groups. Finally, based on the analyses, indications of overarching requirements for professions against the backdrop of economic, societal and global changes aimed at an ethically responsible and sustainable economy are provided.
More information: www.bibb.de/dienst/dapro/de/index_dapro.php/detail/4.2.202
Credit systems as instruments for the promotion of lifelong learning (research project of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)
Abstract: Studies of the OECD classify credit systems as extremely effective instruments for the promotion of lifelong learning (OECD 2007). They are said to enable transparency, comparability, transferability and mutual recognition of proven learning achievements and to contribute to improved permeability. Currently, in Europe, the term "credit system" is exclusively associated with the instruments ECTS (for higher education) and ECVET (for vocational education and training). It is striking that in the European initiatives to introduce credit systems, the design principles such as the awarding of credits (often translated as "credit points") and the accumulation and transfer of certified learning outcomes based on modularly structured qualification units are in the foreground. In this respect, the core of credit systems is to facilitate access and transitions between different learning contexts and to shorten educational periods.
It should be asked whether models already exist in the systems of selected countries that are also designed to ensure transparency, comparability and recognition through credit transfer procedures and that may be based on other design principles. In Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Scotland, corresponding examples can be found that have been implemented or are currently being discussed. They range from portfolio procedures to legally regulated claims to credit procedures to credit mechanisms firmly anchored in the educational system between the individual learning contexts.
The understanding of "credit system" used in the research project is not to be equated with a credit point system, since - with the exception of Scotland - the procedures in the countries concerned are practiced without the awarding of credits/credit points. However, although in all the countries studied there is an institutional or legal framework that allows credit for learning, there is insufficient knowledge about the concrete application and implementation, de facto use and impact of these procedures and models. Furthermore, it is questionable whether the implemented procedures can be understood as a "system" spanning the different learning contexts of the education system and capable of promoting lifelong learning and permeability. In summary, it can be said that
- in Denmark and the Netherlands, the majority of credit transfer from one context to another is based on the principles of "recognition of prior learning
- in all countries, the majority of credits are awarded on a case-by-case basis and are not automatic.
- in all the countries studied, it is the host institution that decides whether credit is to be awarded, and
- the procedures practiced in none of the countries examined explicitly refer to the European credit point system ECVET.