Prof. Jane Dutton honoured for injecting humanity into management research

Eredoctor Jane Dutton - Dies Natalis 2020
University of Michigan

Professor Jane Dutton has been elected by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) to receive an honorary doctorate from Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) as part of the university’s 107th Dies Natalis (anniversary) on 8 November. The doctorate is to be bestowed on her to celebrate the business school’s 50th academic year.


Jane Dutton is the Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Business Administration and Psychology at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Her research and academic leadership lie at the intersection of strategy, management and organisations, and psychology.

Awarding honorary doctorates, RSM recognises outstanding contributions to research on management and leadership by academics worldwide. RSM has elected some of the most distinguished researchers in this field for their excellent studies with an honorary doctorate bestowed by EUR.

Positive scholarship community

“Jane’s legacy is that she has helped us look at organisations, and our own research and understanding, in a new and positive light,” says honorary promoter Joep Cornelissen, professor of corporate communication and management at RSM.

Around 20 years ago Jane started a new chapter in her long academic career, one for which she has been widely credited and recognised. With a number of close colleagues she started the positive organisational scholarship community. This research initiative was meant to breathe life and humanity into management and organisational research by changing our image of individuals in organisations, and identifying their strengths, emotions and resilience.

Compassion at work

Prof. Dutton has looked at the role and importance of compassion at work – and how this creates more resilient and harmonious organisational cultures. She has researched the power and impact of forming and cultivating positive relationships at work, and has studied what she calls job crafting, the process of employees redefining and reimagining their jobs in ways that are personally meaningful. This is the process of people finding their purpose and discovering how they can contribute to their organisations and to the relationships around them.

“Jane’s positive scholarship agenda links directly to greater impact on society. She has made a huge societal impact through her books, her outreach, and her engagement,” says Cornelissen.

“She is a role model for all of us who want to make a difference with our knowledge. All of her qualities and achievements make her a true example of RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world. And they make her exceptionally deserving of the 2020 Erasmus University honorary doctorate.”

Prof. Cornelissen adds: “She has been a mentor and supporter for many colleagues in the field. Not surprisingly, she is an immensely kind, emphatic and supportive person who sees the best in everyone. She is always willing to offer a helping hand.”

Mini lecture

The Dies Natalis will kick off on Wednesday 4 November 2020 with a mini-lecture by Prof. Jane Dutton, accessible to everyone. In this unique session, which will be followed by an engaging panel discussion, she will present her research-based tips and tricks for thriving in a virtual environment. The main question that Prof. Dutton will address is: How do we ensure that online meetings lead to productive interactions and foster connectedness, rather than isolation and loneliness?

Dies Natalis 2020

The honorary doctorate is to be bestowed on her as part of Erasmus University’s Dies Natalis, and RSM’s 50th anniversary. The theme for the university’s 107th anniversary on Friday 6 November is ‘Leading today, shaping tomorrow’. Next to RSM choosing Prof. Jane Dutton, the Erasmus School of Law selected Professor Katharina Pistor (Columbia University) for an honorary doctorate.

The programme includes guest speakers including internationally renowned architect Francine Houben and successful entrepreneur and EUR alumnus Frank Slootman. The university’s Dies Natalis and ceremony for the honorary doctorates can be viewed here on Friday 6 November from 15:30 hrs.

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Dies Natalis 2020

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