The core theme of research of ECS is competence development.
The research is based on the vast field of competence theory and research. Competence research dates back to the 1950s when the construct was introduced in psychology as a driver of behaviour. In the following decades the construct evolved from performance motivation to performance requirement. Competence research proliferated in management science, corporate strategy, education and training, professional licensure, and human resource management. Within this context, ECS conducted a large range of projects. These are projects on the development of competence frameworks of purchasers, open innovation experts, entrepreneurs, rural advisors, and sustainability professionals. Apart from developing these competence frameworks, related studies were conducted regarding the relationships between competence, innovation and performance. Next, projects were carried out on the development of competence-based vocational education, the implementation of argumentation-based computer-supported collaborative learning platforms, hybrid learning configurations, regional learning environments and team learning approaches in continuing professional development of teachers. Finally projects were done on the implementation of authentic competence assessment strategies and practices in vocational education in the life sciences.
Together these projects resulted in rich insights into the efficacy of competence-based teaching and learning practices and contributed to the further development of competence theory and research. The research programme will be further expanded by enlarging the volume of research in the boundary domains between business development, sustainable development and educational development. The group is already engaging in these boundary domains with projects on regional learning and school-to-work interfaces, sustainability in organizational development and innovation, and pedagogical content knowledge and education. As ECS is part of the Sub-Department Business Sciences, more projects which bridge the research boundaries between these groups will be initiated. There are ample opportunities for doing this such as on training and development in international chains and networks, linking competence and work-process design, competence and performance management, entrepreneurship competence, competence in multi-actor processes, studies on learning in business sciences, green marketing competence, citizenship and sustainability competence improvement, and corporate social responsibility and leadership competence.