Research Economics and Management

With our research we focus on the themes of labor markets, aging, sustainability, innovation, market governance, banking, financial markets, entrepreneurship, marketing, and consumer behavior.

Bart Dierynck

Associate professor Department of Accountancy

"My main motive is that I always want to become better in what I do."

What is the main goal of your research?

Researcher portrait TiSEM Bart Dierynck

The main goal of my research is to understand how managers can motivate their employees in a better way. Although monetary incentives are still an effective mechanism to motivate employees in the current complex business environment, my research shows that softer mechanisms such as leadership, social norms, or mindfulness can seriously strengthen or weaken the effectiveness of monetary incentives. Currently, I am working on several papers that study the role of employee identification with the firm’s objectives. In a recent paper that I am working on with Victor van Pelt, who is a PhD-student at our department, I show that firms can increase the probability that they attract identified employees when the employment contract combines monetary incentives with subjective performance evaluation. This result is interesting as it is sometimes claimed that firms can better offer fixed wages when they want to attract identified employees.

How does your research contribute to societal problems?

Demotivated employees are a serious problem for the firm as the firm does not get the best out of the employee. Demotivated employees can also have huge societal consequences. Specifically, motivational problems often lead to employee health problems such as frequent illness, stress, absenteeism, burnout, and depression. In the end, both firms and society pay for these employee health problems. As the cost of employee health in the Dutch economy amounts up to 4 milliard EUR/year, a better understanding of the motivational problems as well as the development of solutions to address these problems is definitely useful. Also, most of my leadership-related work has been done in hospitals in which we investigate the impact of leadership for patient safety. Patient safety is a very salient outcome and all of us has already been confronted with issues related to patient safety. It was really nice to see how our results helped hospitals to further improve their patient safety.

What is your main motive?

My main motive is that I always want to become better in what I do. Irrespective whether it is research or teaching (or something else), I am always looking for ways that can help me to improve. For instance, I am heavily interested in how the human brain works as tailoring teaching methods to how the human brain works increase teaching effectiveness. Some tricks are simple and easy but I already noticed that they can make a big difference when it comes to conveying the main message to the students. Although striving for perfection is a kind of family trait, I believe that I have sharpened this trait during my top sports career. Until I started my PhD, I was a semi-professional duathlete (duathlon is the combination of running, cycling and running) and the only way to remain competitive in top sports is by striving for perfection.

Who is your role model?

I am not the person who has ‘idols’ but I learned a lot from my academic mentor Kristy Towry (Emory University). Kristy is a real ‘scholar’: her research is a true contribution to accounting knowledge, she is an inspiring lecturer and she fulfills her administrative duties with passion. My visiting period in Emory was a mind-opener because I observed how she combined these three tasks in a way that they reinforce each other.