Henk Van Dongen

Henk Van Dongen

Dutch organizational culture theorist, policy advisor and professor at the Rotterdam School of Management
Date of Birth: 09.05.1936
Country: Netherlands

Biography of Henk van Dongen

Henricus Johannes 'Henk' van Dongen was born on May 9, 1936, in Delden, Netherlands. He studied psychology at Leiden University under the guidance of Jan Hendrik van den Berg, specializing in social and clinical psychology. He obtained his bachelor's degree in 1962.

During his time working at Hoogovens, Henk earned his doctorate in 1969 from the Catholic University of Tilburg. His dissertation focused on social research of the proposal box. In the 1960s, a period of democratization of public and private life began, leading to the development and implementation of new management concepts. This prompted van Dongen to shift his focus to academic interests.

In 1976, he accepted a teaching position at the Interfaculteit Bedrijfskunde of Erasmus University and one of the schools at Delft University of Technology. As a professor of social and organizational psychology, Henk paid particular attention to the social consequences of scientific and technological progress. In the late 1970s, he conducted research on the social and cultural implications of information technology for a commission led by G.W. Rathenau.

Outside of academic circles, van Dongen actively participated in advisory roles for both public and private organizations, particularly in the transportation, infrastructure, banking, and pharmaceutical sectors. He collaborated with American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company, Rabobank, Schiphol Airport, and others.

Henk van Dongen was married to Fieke van Dongen, and they had three children and nine grandchildren. The theorist passed away on March 7, 2011, in Vierhouten, Netherlands. Within the Netherlands, van Dongen influenced several generations of management students and practitioners. His ideas on interaction, conflicts, and reality were further developed by several of his doctoral students.

Van Dongen's worldview was significantly influenced by Norbert Elias, symbolic interactionism, French existentialism, and certain postmodernist ideas. He also worked on philosophical concepts derived from Russell's logic and ethics. Furthermore, his views on ethics were based on the idea that rules or principles of behavior should encourage diversity and facilitate negotiation processes between disputing parties. He staunchly rejected all forms of force, idolatry, insisting that each individual bears full responsibility for their actions.