Centre for Financial Innovation

Daniël van Middelkoop appointed professor of Professional Agency

26 Aug 2021 13:20 | Centre for Economic Transformation

Daniël van Middelkoop was appointed professor of Professional Agency (Cooperating Professionals) by the Executive Board on 1 August 2021. Daniël’s research focuses on bolstering the agency of cooperating professionals in a changing economy, in both the public and the private sector.

Professionals operate in a complex, dynamic working environment and are finding themselves faced with increasingly complex issues. Hence, agency is a significant precondition for professionals’ performance within an organisation. Daniël is carrying out his research into Cooperating Professionals within The Work Lab research group, where research into the changing nature of work is key.

In addition, Daniël and his team are researching study success in higher education. The emphasis in this regard is on the role and agency of lecturers and other stakeholders in defining and applying study success in educational practice. In 2014, Van Middelkoop and co-author Martha Meerman (emeritus professor) published the study ‘Studiesucces en diversiteit en wat hbo docenten ermee te maken hebben’ (Study Success, Diversity and the Role of Higher Professional Education Lecturers). In 2018, he joined forces with Folke Glastra to edit the book ‘Studiesucces van rendement naar maatschappelijke relevantie’ (Study Success from Returns to Social Relevance).

Daniël van Middelkoop

Daniël van Middelkoop’s connection with AUAS goes back to 2011. He has been working as an associate professor since 2018 and specialises in longitudinal action research into and within teams. His work proceeds from the belief that professionals are a decisive factor when it comes to the quality of complex and other work in organisations. Through the work being done by The Work Lab research group, he is aiming to contribute to bolstering individual professionals and professional teams in both the public and the private sector. As a professor, Daniël is primarily affiliated with the HRM and Business Administration courses offered by the Faculty of Business and Economics. He contributes to research within the AUAS Centres of Expertise and the professionalisation of researchers, staff members, teaching staff and AUAS services.

Daniël earned a PhD from Utrecht University in 2008, with his research focusing on power relationships within configurations of established individuals and outsiders. Following his doctoral research, he spent several years working as developer of teaching materials and education projects.

Expertise and roles of cooperating professionals

The expertise and roles of professionals come together in teams where high-quality work is done collectively. At the same time, the space and preconditions for professional cooperation are frequently under pressure due to a desire and perceived need for control and efficiency. This raises the question of what competences professionals (and teams thereof) will need to have in the context of a transforming economy in order to be able to make the most of professional space and to act effectively within the context in which they are operating. It also raises the question of how an organisation consciously or unconsciously influences and steers professionals’ actions and what choices are being or can be made within an organisation to enable professionals to make the most of their agency. These questions are central to the professorship’s research.

It is expected that the pace and impact of this economic transformation will continue to increase over the next few decades, due to both digitalisation and robotisation and the need to organise our economy in a different, more sustainable, versatile and socially equitable way. The current situation that many professionals find themselves in as a result of the COVID-19 crisis has reinforced and expedited the aforementioned changes.

This transformation has repercussions for professionals and the way in which they cooperate, finding expression in questions and discussions on the definition of professionals (or their work) and their actions as well as on the question as to what the necessary conditions are under which professionals will be able to act effectively. It will also prompt reconsideration of the need for and desired extent of autonomy and professional room for manoeuvre given to professionals, as well as to the teams and partnerships in which they work.