UNICON-Sponsored Research

UNICON-sponsored research covers a wide range of topics, with the goal of expanding knowledge in the field and keeping members informed of the latest developments in the executive education sector.

If you, or a faculty member at your university, has an idea for a research project, please contact the Research Committee.

Research Spotlight: 

The 2017 report, Changing Models of Executive Education: Exploring Beyond Traditional Boundaries, targets four major topics: the evolution of UNICON; the nature of organizational design and how the university as an organization inhibits innovation; the taxonomy of alternative organizational models and a summary of research findings on executive education models. See the full report below.


UNICON-Sponsored Research – “Use of Blended Learning in Executive Education: The Voice of the Learner”

Prepared by: Giuseppe Auricchio, Kati Clement-Frazer, JoEllyn Prouty McLaren

Blended programs are now common among business schools, yet studies on the effectiveness of leadership development programs that follow a blended model have been limited. The lack of a deep understanding of the opinions of learners who take part in blended programs is a potential blind spot for executive education program designers. A recent UNICON study has helped fill this void of customer insight.

Full Report Link: Blended_Learning_Report-The_Voice_of_the_Learner-Auricchio_Clement-Frazer_Prouty-McLaren

UNICON-Sponsored Research – Changing Organizational Models of Executive Education: Exploring Beyond Traditional Boundaries

Marie Eiter, Jenny Stine, Toby Woll

The hypothesis of this research is that there is inherent tension between the current demands of the market and the organizational capability and structure of the university-based business school.

Full Report Link: https://www.uniconexed.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Changing-Models-Final-Copy-with-PS-as-distributed.pdf


UNICON-Sponsored Research – 2016 UNICON Membership Benchmarking Survey” summary

Future Trends – Revised Final Report-August-Jan 12.2016-v2.pdf
Executive Core, August – January 12, 2016

…ten major themes reflecting the predominant and relevant perceptions and expectations of the study participants were identified. Additionally, a number of possible future implications and actions by business schools were identified.

The overarching theme and associated recommendation across the different specific needs and opportunities are: business schools have a growth opportunity to develop greater ongoing client intimacy with corporate talent management professionals and develop greater value as a designer and deliverer of client-specific, customized learning solutions.

  • Now Posted: Leveraging Alumni Relationships – Best Practices to Support Executive Educationby Pat Cataldo and Bob Stilliard, October, 2015.Alumni represent a large, potential resource for executive education. Since a number of university alumni attain a senior level position at some point in their career, they are graduates who have distinguished themselves as well as their alma mater. No matter what the degree, the most successful alumni rise to higher level positions in various industries and companies around the world. Along this promotional path come bigger titles, more responsibility, additional decision making authority, and organizational influence. Whether positions are middle management or ones with C-suite status, these graduates represent alumni with the potential to help executive education organizations.
  • UNICON Corporate University Partnership Study Released. Research Report: We are delighted to present you with the final report “Same Solar System, Different Orbits: Opportunities and Challenges in Executive Education and Corporate University Partnerships.” (large file: 75-page pdf)Understanding how best to partner with corporate universities is critical for business schools. The goal of this extensive international study is to extend our understanding of both the similarities and differences that exist between business schools executive education providers and corporate universities, to identify barriers to working together and to uncover opportunities for building bridges. Surmounting the challenges of these relationships and collaborating on corporate learning is a future-oriented activity that provides opportunities for both organizations to improve in the face of a rapidly changing business environment.The study was conducted by Marie Eiter, Jim Pulcrano, Jenny Stine, Toby Woll.
  • UNICON Research Report:Minding Their Business By Flexing Our Minds: A Guide To Corporate University Partnerships(pdf) by Kimberly Maybar-Plaxe, Mark Allen, Ph.D. and Annick Renaud-Coulon. July, 2014. Key factors that influence corporate university leaders when crafting their executive learning programs, with a special focus on non-credit academic executive education partnerships.
  • Research – Future of Management Development:  The UNICON Research Committee has released a “preliminary” copy of the “Serving the Future Needs of Business in Management Development and Retention” literature review, conducted by Dr. Jim Pulcrano: https://www.uniconexed.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AACSB_EMBAC_UNICON_October_2013_Pulcrano.pdf. Dr. Pulcrano will make a presentation of his findings at the upcoming Team Development Conference.

  • Webinar Slides (pdf file) “MOOCs and Executive Education“, presented by Jennifer K. Stine, Ph.D. October 3, 2013.
  • Research Report:Online Learning Conversation Research™”, by Aditya Ghuwalewala, MavenMagnet. A Research Report prepared for UNICON, July 2013.  note: 107 slides = large pdf file
  • Link to audio recording of the “Online Learning Conversation Research™” follow-up Webinar conducted November 3, 2013
  • Research Report: “MOOCs and Executive Education“, by Jennifer K. Stine, Ph.D. A Research Report prepared for UNICON, June, 2013.

University-Based Executive Education Markets and Trends, by Frank R. Lloyd and David Newkirk August 15, 2011

“Breaking the Mold on Blended Learning”, Marie Eiter and Toby Woll Principal Investigators, Nov., 2011

“Going Mobile In Executive Education”, Dr. Carina Paine Schofield, Emily Taylor and Trudi West, Ashridge Business School, Nov., 2011


“Investigating Our Custom Clients’ Evolving Needs”, Marie Eiter, Principal Investigator, 2009


“Trends in Executive Development”, Spearly, Baker, 2005

“Measuring ROI”, Topping, 2005

ROI_Report_Final_May_2005 (pdf)  “Executive Education: Evaluating the Return on Investment.  Bringing the Client Voice into the Debate”.  Ashridge

UNICON_USA_Report_22-06-06 (pdf) – Findings from the US: An Appendix to the May 2005 Report

UNICON ROI White Paper Final April 2005 (pdf) Dr. Perter Topping, Emory University

A Model for the Strategy and Tactical Steps that Create Enterprise Capability  William T. Scheurer, University of Minnesota


“Best Practices in Executive Education”, December, 2001 – January, 2002

“Benchmarking Report: The Year That Was”, Centini, McGurrin, 2001-2002


“Influence of eLearning in Executive Education”, Presented at the Fall Conference, December, 2001

“Influence of eLearning” in Executive Education, MagmaLearningGroup, November, 2001

UNICON E-Learning Study – Survey Respondents’ Comments, MagmaLearningGroup, October, 2001

Note: Some earlier files were converted from paper documents. It may be necessary to rotate a page using Adobe Acrobat Reader tools.