Prof. Jan Dul

Professor of technology and human factors

Department: Technology and Operations Management
At RSM since: 2002
Nationality: Dutch

Portrait of Jan Dul

Why did you choose to work at RSM?

“Almost 20 years ago I wanted to connect my field of expertise (ergonomics/human factors), which is largely unknow to business scholars, to the business and management arena. As a high-ranked research-based business school, RSM felt like the right place for that adventure.”

What has been your highlight of working here so far?

“Firstly, I realised that the connection between ergonomics and business can only be made when my field moves towards business rather than the other way around. This resulted in a positioning paper of my field that was published in 2012, and that became one of the most cited papers ever in this field. I have presented my views during many invited keynote addresses at conferences worldwide.

A second highlight is the recent publication of my book Conducting Necessary Condition Analysis, about new research methodology that can be broadly applied in business research and practice. I found out – based on my background in engineering and medicine – that business research didn’t have the practical relevance (yet) compared to engineering and medicine. Evidence-based management is virtually non-existent. So for the past 10 years, I developed a new methodology. It is now rapidly being used by many business and other researchers worldwide.”

Where did you work before, and how does RSM compare to that?

“I worked at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) which focused on practical applications of knowledge and problem-solving. RSM works more in silos, and is more focused on theory and academic publications. The autonomy at RSM is bigger than at TNO. RSM has more government funding, and often research freedom with government funding is larger than with private funding.”

What are your interests outside of RSM?

“I enjoy my family, hiking, and my country house in France which is also where I wrote the book.”

What unique opportunities have you had at RSM?

“I believe in the combination of academic freedom and academic responsibility. At RSM I got autonomy, I got possibilities to take risks, and I took the responsibility to follow my curiosity, ideas and passion. Sometimes researchers deal with disputable boundaries such as extreme publication focus, generic financial and academic targets, and questionable definitions of what should be considered as ‘top’ research. But I could handle these boundaries by perseverance, and by focusing on my intrinsic motivation and goals.”


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