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Michael S. Dahl takes up post as professor

On 2 February, Professor Michael S. Dahl will hold his inaugural lecture and consolidate his position at the Department of Management.

2017.01.16 | Julia Rolsted Stacey

Michael S. Dahl’s research interests are found in the interface between management, economics, sociology and health. Photo: Julia Rolsted Stacey, Aarhus BSS Communication.

Thursday 2 February will be a festive academic day for Michael S. Dahl and Anders Ryom Villadsen. Together they will hold their inaugural lectures and talk about their careers and future research plans.

The title of Michael S. Dahl’s inaugural lecture is “Individuals, organisations and entrepreneurship”. Here Michael will map his career path and talk about different research projects and various results. Read more about Michael’s research below.

The title of Anders Ryom Villadsen’s inaugural lecture is “Organisation and management in the public sector”. Read more about Anders’ research via this link.

Interest in entrepreneurial companies started researcher career

Michael’s research interests are found in the interface between management, economics, sociology and health. He conducts research into the broader effects of entrepreneurial companies, e.g. how the employees’ careers are affected over the long term when they are employed in an entrepreneurial company. The risk of the company closing down is typically greater than in other types of companies. Michael explores what employees learn and can take with them if the company ends up closing down, and also explores how employees do in the long run compared to when the company is a success. Michael just received a large grant from the Aarhus University Research Foundation for a project on “Entrepreneurship and Inequality”, which will be conducted with researchers partly from Aarhus University and partly from Yale and Cornell University in the US.

Originally, Michael began by studying company clusters - geographical and regional - and this led him to conduct research into entrepreneurs as these turned out to be very central to the clusters. Michael has also studied what happens internally in large companies undergoing e.g. organisational change and in connection with stress. In recent years, gender issues in entrepreneurial companies has come to the fore and become an important field of interest. This is an area that Michael wants to work with more in the future.

Men and women in organisations

According to Michael, precisely the relationship between men and women in organisations is interesting knowledge. He has worked with inequality and equality in men and women’s careers and wants to conduct further research.

This could be on how women and men experience their manager and are affected by his or her decisions, or on the salary differences between the genders or the difference in career paths. According to Michael, Denmark stands out in this area. In many ways Denmark has had gender equality for many years, but gender equality is still being discussed every single day at some level.

Curiosity drives interest

What drives Michael in his research is his interest in finding patterns that may explain various differences. He likes to dive into vast volumes of data and test various hypotheses. According to Michael, improving your skills as a researcher is a process. As a process researcher, he is interested in learning new techniques and following developments.

International collaboration contributes to new and different insights

An important element in Michael’s career has been diverse collaboration with other researchers - including international researchers. He has worked at four universities abroad and his expectations have been exceeded every time. Each experience gained has contributed to a profitable collaboration with several recognised researchers. Their various approaches have in many ways been different than those of Danish academic environments, and this has provided a sense of perspective and given Michael insight into how research is conducted across borders.

In several projects the researchers have primarily used Danish data as a starting point, since comprehensive data sets are so easily accessible in Denmark.  By following this practice, Michael and his partners have gained the opportunity to examine issues that can typically not be shed light on in countries like the US and England.

Also a family man

Michael lives with his family in the eastern part of Aalborg. His wife is a physiotherapist, and together they have two sporty boys. Michael works out several times a week. Another one of his hobbies is cooking, and he likes to do the cooking at home - preferably food which tastes of foreign countries.

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