TalentMiles builds on partnerships with a cross-disciplinary and global community of researchers. The most intensive  of those partnerships is with the School of Business and Economics in Maastricht, the Netherlands. In the coming newsletters, professor Wim Gijselaers, Department Chair of Educational Research and Development, will update you on the latest research developments within the department.

The Educational Research and Development department consists of twenty researchers studying different ways in which people develop themselves. It’s located in the heart of Maastricht, a city in the south of the Netherlands. Professor Wim Gijselaers has been with the School of Economics and Business for over 34 years and is heading the Educational Research and Development (ERD) department.

Gijselaers considers the department to be a strongly connected one: “It’s a very collaborative group, which is quite rare for university departments. All of our researchers have quite unique personalities, but manage collaborating really well. Although they’re all studying their own subjects, all of their research fits together nicely. They all share a passion for getting to know more about how people learn, develop, and perform in organisations. To me, it feels like a family.”


Current research projects range from reducing poverty and illiteracy to leadership in teams, coaching and learning from error, and preparing organisations for sustainable development. Gijselaers himself is currently supervising several PhD researchers who are looking at leadership development and feedback. Gijselaers: “The big question is whether leaders should correct or invest when giving feedback. With correcting, I mean blaming someone for making a mistake. Investing means seeing an employee as a long-term investment and giving feedback in such a way that the employee still feels he or she can freely express his or her thoughts after the fact. Both approaches have really different effects.”

Gijselaers points to jazz musicians as an example of how to give feedback the right way. Gijselaers: “They give feedback to each other while playing, the investment way. Afterwards, they’re not afraid to tap each other on the back as a way of showing their appreciation. We’re talking about shared leadership here, not the hierarchical type. It’s a rotating game where players take ownership in turns. It’s about the collaboration, not the position.”

This is exactly the way the department in Maastricht collaborates as well. Gijselaers: “Funnily enough, almost all of us do practice some kind of art form, like dance or music. None of us is really interested in sports and the need for competition that comes with it.” The focus isn’t on the individual, but on the group as a whole. Gijselaers: “For us, being competitive isn’t a reason to hire someone. We don’t take the presumed best one. Instead, we go for team players who work well with others. This has resulted in a strong collective with a shared passion.”

In next month’s newsletter we’ll zoom in on one of the research projects of the department. All of the current projects can be found on the website of ERD: