John Dumay on critical research, stewardship and his “homecoming”
In September 2018 John Dumay of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, was appointed as visiting professor of Nyenrode Business University. John is a renowned scholar in the field of non-financial corporate reporting. John worked for over 15 years as an independent business consultant across a wide range of industries before joining academia. During one of his first visits in December we talked about his plans and experience at Nyenrode and his Dutch roots.
‘My role as a Visiting Professor is to share my knowledge and skills with other staff and students at Nyenrode. For example, during my stay I delivered two lectures. The first was to master’s students on how to undertake a literature review, a topic on which I have also published a paper. Second, I am a critical scholar and thus my next lecture to staff was about conducting critical research. Additionally, I helped review a PhD proposal and talked to several staff about their current research projects. I am also collaborating on writing a research paper with two staff members, and the first draft of the paper is now submitted to a conference for review.’
‘This was my second visit to Nyenrode and I really enjoy the collegiality of a small university compared to a very big university where one can get lost in at times. I especially like the modern office and teaching facilities set amongst such a beautiful and historical campus. A private tour of Nyenrode Castle was most exciting. But most of all the people here have welcomed me with open hearts, and that makes working with everyone easy and productive.’
‘One interesting outcome of my visit was to find out the Nyenrode has instigated “Stewardship” as one of its core values. To me this is very important as it is subject of my latest paper about corporate reporting and disclosure. Unfortunately, it is not a subject we teach a lot about in business schools, as we seem to prefer to teach economic rather than social theories. I argue this contributes to having too much focus on the profits, and not enough focus on society and the natural environment. Therefore, if I can help Nyenrode achieve teaching and promoting stewardship, then it will add to my overall personal mission to promote stewardship as complementary theory to more economic focused theories such as agency, stakeholder and legitimacy theory.’
‘To me, coming to Nyenrode is a somewhat of a homecoming. Even though I was born in Australia, both my parents are Dutch. My mother is from Amsterdam, and my father is from Delft. I even lived in Amsterdam and Delft for almost a year when I was 17 years old. So I can speak some rusty Dutch, which greatly improved even during my short stay. It all came flooding back to me. So to come to Nyenrode whereby I can easily fit in a visit to my two brothers and two sisters who now live in The Netherlands, and to see my large extended family makse me feel right at home when I am here. I just need to improve speaking Dutch, but the more time I spend here, I am sure it will improve.’