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Manon Ruijters is Professor of Learning, Development and Behavioral Change at the School of Business and Economics of VU University Amsterdam. Together with Prof. dr. mr. Steven ten Have and Prof. Wouter ten Have Manon is a member of the team of Change Management and has a leading role in the change management programs (the fundamentals of organizational development and change; advanced program; interventionist program; part-time MSc. Program Change Management)   

Fascinated by the diversity of natural learning in contrast to the uniformity of learning and development as organized in organizations, Manon Ruijters wrote her PhD (Utrecht University, 2006) on diversity of learning in organizations and the 'language of learning’. For 17 years she worked at Twynstra Gudde, eventually as an Academic Partner. Now next to her work at the VU, she works as leading researcher (‘Lector’) at Aeres University of Applied Science Wageningen and is co-owner and consultant at Good Work Company.

Manon is intrigued by issues from and about professionals, from identitywork to organizational development. Her practice reflects her interest in bridging theory and practice, and in balancing wellbeing and wisdom with effectiveness and efficiency in individual, team and organizational learning and development. In her work, research and practice constantly intertwine. Practice keeps her on the right track. What she encounters and tries out in practice, then merges into current research and vice versa. Manon Ruijters likes to publish in both scientific and popular books and magazines.


Professionals have the difficult task of delivering good work and keeping up with a whole range of developments, in their profession, in their organization, in interprofessional interplay, in society. Organization have the difficult task to properly shape the learning and development of professionals and support good work. it is a pity that professionalization does not lead to professionalism, knowing that professionalism is a joint pursuit of professional and organization.

My work focuses on questions such as: How do you ensure resilient, wise and strong professionals? How much space should you give and where should you set limits? How do you help teams come to common images for good work? What is quality in our current organizations and how do you "guarantee" that? How do you organize good work?

Research into Work-based Research

This researchgroup consists of 8 researchers; two from the Aeres Hogeschool Wageningen (Tom van Oeffelt and Niek van den Berg); and 6 from outside (Cees den Hartog, Elly van den Berg Thomassen (CHE), Judith Wagter (VUMC), Floor Driessen, Ytzen Renema (Inspection Council). The overlap in our research lies in the fact that we are all working on research on themes that relate to professionalism and professional identity. In terms of content, our work also has a basis in other, related research groups, but together we want to better grasp work-based research, our own research paradigm. For example in how you deal with Consent, what language you use, how you name things (dialogue and interview evoke something else) and how you deal with images about what good research actually is.

Research into professional identity

The PI research group of 10 research-practionars forms the permanent core of the research into professional identity. After publishing our research on professional identity in our first book (Je Binnenste Buiten) and the workbook (Mijn Binnenste Buiten), this research group is now focusing on identity work in organizations. We want to find out whether it is possible to map how much pressure a specific work or organization puts on identity work and whether an analysis thereof can contribute to good work (work that is ethical, excellent and energetic).

Research into the creation of common images of good work in MBO

That key question about "when am I doing right now" is not just a question from the individual professional. Good work is increasingly the work of teams, also in MBO practice. The question "when am I doing it right" is therefore a collective question. A question that is also contextual, that is connected to an assignment, to a job that really matters. Delivering good work requires a targeted combination of learning and realization. How do you create standards, images of good work (what we call professional frames) together? Three research groups (‘lectoraten’), five researchers, three facilitators and 8 education teams are part of this NRO study.

Research into Professional Identity in the initial training

After the appearance of Je Binnenste Buiten, a question arose from initial vocational education as to whether we also wanted to work with professional identity in education. We have received so many questions about this that we have set up a new research group together with Artevelde Hogeschool, Hanze Hogeschool, and the Christelijke Hogeschool Ede (the group is still expanding). In the meantime we have fully embraced the issue and believe that it is important to prepare professionals in vocational training for the identity work that they will encounter. We are currently developing a conceptual framework in which we analyze professional identity into professional identity, student identity, professional identity and leadership identity and work on our first publication.

The Good Work Expedition

The Research Practice Partnership on Good Work has since 2016 grown into a solid network of 40 people (professionals and managers) from 15 organizations with the support of 7 tour leaders. Together we work on the edge of research and practice. We focus on four themes:

  • How do you help professionals to develop, rediscover, deploy, and nuance their obstinacy?
  • What are the issues of professional leaders, how can we support them in their development and how can we better deploy their strength in an organization?
  • What is good teamwork and how do you develop good work in teams?
  • What are the demands of the new developments regarding self-managing professionals?

Research into certification and registration

The key question for the professional remains: when am I doing well? Throughout the course of history there have been all kinds of ways to organize this through rules and protocols, certifications and registrations, point systems and the like. Sometimes more successful, sometimes less successful. What is the hidden dynamic of those quality systems and what is working for today's professional? A small researchgroup of five researchers is doing preliminary research on this theme.


I teach in a number of different courses: the fundamentals of organizational development and change; advanced program; interventionist program; part-time MSc. Program of Change Management)  

The content is about organization development, learning and development of professionals, process consultancy, design and facilitation of interventions, identitywork, learning organization, teamwork, work-based research and professional identity, and concerns teaching as wel as guiding learning and development

Ancillary activities

  • Aeres Hogeschool Wageningen | Wageningen | Lector Organisatie-ontwikkeling en Professionele Identiteit | 2010-11-01 - present
  • Good Work Company | Laren NH | Directeur/eigenaar | 2018-01-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily


  • H Social Sciences
  • Organization development
  • Learning organizations
  • Team work
  • Identity development
  • Identity work
  • Learning and development
  • Work-based research
  • Action research


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