On August 26, 2021, Hendrik Thelken will defend his dissertation, 'Thinking Apart and Together: The role of cognition in managing multiple goals in sustainable enterprises', at 11 a.m. (CEST) in the City Hall in Leeuwarden. A joyous end of his chapter on Campus Fryslân.
Originally from Germany, Thelken started his PhD project in February 2017 on the (cognitive) strategies that sustainable entrepreneurs, as founders of their companies, use to deal with tensions that can arise when their social , ecological and economic goals are incompatible. Thelken used a mix-method approach, in which he researched a large panel dataset, survey data, interviews, secondary data and experimental data. He was supervised by Prof. G. de Jong and Dr. A. B. Ünal.
With a focus on cognition, individual factors, personality, values, future orientation and confidence, Thelken explains that it depends on your personality how forward-looking you are and that forward-thinking along with your personal values seems to determine the intentions to start a sustainable business. He concludes that personal values help to balance sustainability goals and profit because they seem to determine how confident individuals are in that regard. In conclusion from his research, Thelken stresses that sustainable entrepreneurs mainly use two strategies to deal with incongruences: they either embrace it and try to actively find a solution, or they accept it and have a less active approach to the tensions they are experiencing.
Thelken completed his Bachelor's degree in International Business from Friedrich-Alexander Universität in Erlangen-Nürnberg and obtained his Master's degrees, one in International Business and one in Finance, from the University of Groningen. He did his PhD research at Campus Fruyslân at the Centre for Sustainable Entrepreneurship, where he also teaches in two courses in the MSc Sustainable Entrepreneurship and supervises thesis work. During his PhD project, he had the opportunity to present the results of his research at various international conferences and workshops, as well as at guest lectures and industry events. In addition, he was a visiting researcher for three months (September – November 2020) at the Management Research Group led by Prof. Jörn Hoppmann at the University of Oldenburg in Germany.
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