New department head: Ideas must be generated from the bottom up

On 3 August, Jacob Kjær Eskildsen officially changed position from head of the Department of Business Development and Technology to head of the Department of Management. His ambition is to create a department where the best ideas stem from the employees and where the academic disciplines and standards are developed in the research environments. In a way, Jacob Kjær Eskildsen is returning home - and then again, he’s not. He already knows several of the researchers, who are former colleagues of his, but many new people have also arrived. Jacob Kjær Eskildsen is looking forward to taking on the new challenges.

2015.08.13 | Julia Rolsted Stacey

Why did you choose to apply for the position of head of the Department of Management?

I chose to apply for the job because I believe that the Department of Management has the potential to become one of the two core departments offering business-oriented degree programmes. I believe that I can contribute to strengthening the degree programme as well as the research conducted at the department.

What will be your first area of focus?

We must continue to develop new research sections and have already come a long way, but we need to make sure that all researchers are able to see themselves as part of their new section. The responsibility for supporting and developing the academic disciplines and standards in the sections will be largely delegated to the future section managers. My role is to provide the framework for the sections and, among other things, consolidate the sections by recruiting the right people.

Another task is to fully integrate our new colleagues from the Department of Economics and Business Economics. It’s important to me that they settle in well and that they can see themselves as part of the Department of Management.

What will be the biggest challenges in the year to come?

Our biggest challenge is just as much an opportunity. We have to hire a group of new researchers who can ease the workload for a select group of employees who have been under pressure for a long time. We also need to consider how to run the department administratively in the future.

What are your visions for the department in terms of research and teaching?

We need to define what we perceive to be good research - and discuss and select the journals to which we want to contribute in our future work. We must also expand and develop our academic areas and start mapping out research interests and teaching competences.  I believe that we need to consider both research and teaching when recruiting new employees. It’s important that we employ highly skilled researchers, but we must also be careful not to employ people who are unable to teach in the areas where there’s currently a lack of teaching staff. At the moment there are gaps in our teaching which we are unable to fill, and we need to solve this problem as soon as possible.

How do you plan to include the employees in the development of the department?

I basically believe that ideas for the future direction of the department must come from the employees. It’s the academic and administrative staff who live out the strategy of the department, and that’s why it’s important that they can see themselves in the development of the department. I also aim to establish a department management team. When this team has been established, we need to start developing a comprehensive strategy for the department. I look forward to establishing and cooperating with a department management team who can help ensure that we make the right decisions and decide on a future direction for our shared academic environment.

Who is Jacob in private?

I’m 45 years old and have a Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration. I became a professor in 2008 and have been employed at the Aarhus School of Business and Aarhus University since 1997. In my private life, I’m married to Susanne, and we have two boys aged 14 and 17 years respectively. We live in Beder. In my spare time, I enjoy running, playing tennis and weight-training.