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As reported recently in a number of surveys, one of the most important issues that Japanese companies are facing is the development of human resources. A specific subject attracting much attention is the “strategic reform and establishment of a framework for the development of human resources”. In order to realize this, a format rapidly increasing in popularity in recent years is the “corporate university”. Following the pioneering attempts undertaken in Europe and North America, Japan is now establishing corporate universities one after another. Good portions of such corporate universities are set up with the aim of leadership development, intended to nurture new leaders in the organization, and enhance professional capabilities for all employees.
However, there have been wide varieties of corporate universities in both concept and wide-ranging formats to cope with real issues. Especially in Japan, although a good number of specific examples of corporate universities have been introduced, systematic and academic analyses of the research have progressed at a very slow pace . This paper is an introduction to establish a new “corporate university theory”i ncluding clarification of the entire picture and its future directions, based upon preceding studies in this field and the findings of such studies, in which the author has also been involved.