Prof. dr. Joseph Kessels - Open Universiteit



Prof. dr. Joseph Kessels


Faculteit Psychologie en onderwijswetenschappen (Welten-instituut)



Expertise, onderzoek en publicaties


“I may be driven by a deep conviction that people have more potential than their surroundings generally allow them to reveal. Companies, institutions and schools could achieve so much more, if they gave free reign to learning and development. But providing this kind of space and removing the obstacles to autonomy, self-guidance and emancipation takes courage. In a knowledge society, all available talent is needed, whatever that talent may be. Making learning and development appealing has become an economic necessity. After all, you cannot be smart against your will.”Joseph Kessels is professor of Educational Leadership at LOOK Scientific Centre for Teacher Research of the Open University, and professor of Human Resource Development at the University of Twente. From 1995- 2000 he held a similar chair at the University of Leiden. Until 2008 he served as Dean of TSM Business School.In 1977 he founded Kessels & Smit, The Learning Company, a consultancy firm specializing in HRD topics. As a consultant he conducts projects government bodies, schools, health care, banking, transport, telecom and industry. He consulted with a number of leading international firms. He is chairman of the Advisory Board of HayGroup in The Netherlands.He co-authored, with Rosemary Harrison, Human Resource Development in a Knowledge Economy (Palgrave Macmillan 2004). Joseph Kessels has a specific research interest is in the characteristics of learning environments that support knowledge productivity and that facilitate innovation. As an academic he published several books and numerous articles on learning and development in an emerging knowledge economy. He served on the editorial boards of HRDI: Human Resource Development International, European Journal of Vacational Training and GJSS: Graduate Journal Social SciencesFor a full CV and bibliography see: http://www.josephkessels.com


My research interest is in learning of adults in the context of their work, for professional development, knowledge productivity, innovation, self-direction and emancipation.

In the educational context I focus on how to transform the school into an attractive learning environment for teachers.

In specific, leadership plays an important role: is it hero-leadership or is leadership distributed?






Ervaring en opleiding



Sinds 2000 vervult Joseph Kessels in deeltijd de functie van gewoon hoogleraar Human Resource Development aan de Universiteit Twente.

Sinds 1977 is Joseph Kessels actiief als adviseur op het gebied van Human Resource Development.

Tot en met 2010 was hij werkzaam bij Kessels & Smit The Learning Company.