Development of Boundary Spanning Competencies in Graduate Trainee Programmes

Eva-Liis Ivask

Student thesis: Master thesis


Increasingly globalized and interconnected world dictates the need for organizations to be highly adaptive to keep up with the fast-changing circumstances. In this situation, organizations are heavily dependent on their human capital and thus, strategically investing into developing human capital helps to gain competitive advantage. One type of such development initiative that is common among many multinational organizations, is the graduate trainee programme. This multi- year programme aims at developing future leaders within the organization by offering experiential learning, training courses and mentoring. However, there is gap in knowledge about the effectiveness of these programmes - if competencies that are essential for succeeding in today ́s globalized world, are being developed in these programmes. More specifically, the increasingly diverse workforce of multinational organization and interdependent complexities require leaders who are able to manage across different cultural, functional and hierarchical boundaries inside and outside the organization. In that light, it is essential for multinational organizations to develop the boundary spanning competencies of their future leaders.
This research aims to answer the question if and how are the boundary spanning competencies currently developed in the graduate programmes offered by multinational organizations. The research question is answered based on data collected through primary and secondary sources, from a questionnaire filled in by representatives of multinational organizations as well as doing a content analysis of the publicly available material regarding the graduate programmes. The developed theoretical framework suggests that the personality of an individual, acquirable skills and cultural background contribute to the boundary spanning competencies. Thus, graduate programmes are analysed in the same light, by focusing on the selection, design and cultural contingency aspects of the programmes. The results suggest that in many instances, the way how graduate programmes are currently designed and executed, indeed suggest an effective development of boundary spanning competencies. However, as there are many aspects to consider, further implications for improving the human capital development initiatives are offered.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages75
SupervisorsMaribel Blasco