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This week, the Stenden Lector for Leadership & Change Management, Dr. Gabriël Anthonio, and I visited the University for Humanistics in Utrecht. The university is mainly a graduate school granting MAs and PhDs. Its MAs (+/- two hundred students) specialize in Human Resource Development and integrity management, existential counseling, qualitative research methods, and in providing advanced teaching accreditation.

There are ca. 37 participants in the DBA/PhD program and ca. 20 students doing PhDs in other fields. The goal of the university is to further humanist professional practice, as well as to promote humanist perspectives on interdisciplinary studies.

Prof. Dr. Hugo Letiche, Program Director PhD/DBA of the University for Humanistics, explaining the specialities of the program:

The DBA/PhD program is modeled along the lines of the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) in that it incorporates taught modules, and includes structured supervision as well as encouraging peer support. It is an international ‘Executive PhD program’ that, when the UvH started with in 2000, was something new in Europe.

The DBA/PhD is a part-time program designed for working professionals with an interest in the field(s) of the humanization of work, complexity theory, organizational anthropology, training and innovation, and ‘meaning in organization’.

Lector Dr. Gabriël Anthonio earned his PhD (Dr.) in 2006, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Harry Kunneman and Prof. Dr. Hugo Letiche who was our host at this academic meeting in Utrecht.

An innovative concept.

Firstly, this PhD/DBA program develops the ability to analyze situations and to realize multidisciplinary responses. Participants keep in touch with one another through the workshops and conference-like seminars. Working with a cohort of like-minded participants makes the program’s PhD experience much more rewarding.

Secondly, the program focuses on the humanization of organization. Complexity theory, which studies: selforganization at bifurcation points, the power of simple guiding principles, and emerging coherence, is an important inspiration. Complexity theory provides rich practice-based intellectual stimulus. Much more research is needed into the notions of self-adaptive and emergent systems and their links to individual, group and social interaction.

Thirdly, the program approaches activity and social ethical issues from a practical, hands-on perspective. Managing and organizing are practices that become ‘true’ via events. How can we understand the ‘practices of meaning’ in managing and organizing? The study of organizational change and culture provides an important focus.

Fourthly, because we assume that the participants want to make active use of their advanced studies in their practice, the theme of applying knowledge gained has a prominent place in the program. The PhD contributes to the practitioners’ work situation as well as adding to one’s stock of knowledge.

The successful candidate will have shown convincing evidence of the capacity to pursue original research, resulting in a thesis suitable for publication.

The main foci of the program are on organizational change, normative practice and qualitative research methodology. The humanization of organization is studied via themes such as:
(1) emergence and coherence,
(2) organizational development,
(3) authenticity, spirituality and personal narratives,
(4) the relationship between ethics and action.

Prof. Dr. Hugo Letiche has designed the PhD/DBA for the University for Humanistics and is the head of the course.

In the PhD/DBA, research, theory and practitioners’ insights all have a role to play. Many leading scholars in the fields studied, lecture in the workshops. In their role as supervisors, the faculty members provide stimulus, constructive advice and informed support.

Alumni of me from RFH Cologne, University of Applied Sciences, are invited to apply for this program, if interested. The course always starts in january, with a group of 12 students max.

Since 2010, this program is replaced by the Graduate School of  the University. More recent informations: „Berufsbegleitend promovieren!“