Authentic Leadership

About Authentic Leadership

The Authentic Leadership research group of the Creative Business Research Center focuses on the question of how people can take ownership from their strengths for what they find in everyday life. How do you discover the best version of yourself in connection with the world around you? It is about leadership; not as a fixed function or assigned to someone, like leading or taking charge. Leadership is a task for everyone. What do you find important to co-create in your environment? How do you, as a human being, come into your own with all your talents?

Authenticity is thus a continuous journey inward (who do I want to be?) and outward (what do I want to create with others?). Especially for creative professionals, the pursuit of such authentic leadership is important. They can use their gift - their creative talents - for a task: to break our current patterns of thinking and working and to help shape the society of the future.

For education and work field

We invite our students, aspiring creative professionals, to join us on a journey to authentic leadership. To do this, how do they develop an inner compass and the courage to continually take a reflective journey inward and outward? As a professional but also as a team. We link this exercise to concrete social issues that we tackle together with the field in living labs such as the City Lab in Haarlem. We set up design-oriented processes for this in which the creativity of our students combined with their conscious action can lead to surprising ideas and concepts.

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Collaborate with Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership is truly demonstrated in action. This is evident, for instance, in the way we shape the education of tomorrow. It also becomes clear when we collaborate with multidisciplinary teams of students to tackle complex issues directly from the field of work. How can each of us contribute to accelerating societal transitions?

Interested in a collaboration? Send an email to


Gift and task

Authentic leadership as a search for the best version of yourself in connection with the world around you

On March 10, 2021, professor Jürg Thölke delivered his inaugural lecture "With great talent comes great responsibility: Authentic leadership as a search for the best version of yourself in connection with the world around you" in Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. You can watch the recording of the livecast here (Dutch spoken) or download the accompanying publication. Would you like more information? Please send an email to our secretary's office.

Research topics

At Authentic Leadership, we conduct research on how to elevate authentic leadership to address social issues faster and more effectively. But also to use authentic leadership to renew our ways of learning, researching and collaborating.

Leadership and Inholland

What role does authentic leadership have within our own university of applied sciences? For example, we are exploring how student participation in word and deed can connect to Inholland's organizational vision and what it means for our organization.

Leadership in lab education

In living labs, we are shaping the education of the future together with working field partners. For example, in the City Lab Haarlem, which focuses on supporting change toward greater sustainability in urban environments. Authentic leadership plays an important role in this: how can we increase it? We are exploring ways to leverage and integrate our labs and other environments with education.

Creativity and art

If creativity is a tool for shaping freedom, how can music, dance and theater, for example, be vehicles for working on leadership and cutting heavy issues in a light way.

Research consortium Welfare & Bonding

Social bonding and student well-being

In 2021, Inholland received funding under the National Education Program (NPO) to strengthen student well-being and social bonding and reduce internship problems, among other things.

In response, a consortium of five research groups was formed, including Student Success. This consortium is called, "Developing Well-Being and Social Bonding and Reducing Internship Problems with Student Participation Initiatives," in short, "Well-Being & Bonding.


Want to know more?

The goal of the consortium's research activities is to (further) develop evidence-informed sustainably employable interventions within Inholland, with the aim of promoting student well-being and social bonding.

Read more on the Well-being & Bonding consortium page (Dutch)

Expert Network for Systemic Co-design (ESC)

Complex and tough societal challenges no one can tackle alone. Think of tackling obesity, undermining, off-the-gas and cyber-security. These are issues that often fall outside existing organizational structures and must therefore be viewed from different perspectives. Professor of Authentic Leadership, Jürg Thölke, is founder of the Expert Network for Systemic Co-design (ESC), together with professors Wina Smeenk and Guido Stompff. In this network, Hogeschool Inholland works together with De Haagse Hogeschool, Hogeschool Utrecht and Hogeschool Rotterdam to initiate and accelerate the sustainable, digital and health transition with concrete cases.

Read more

The professor of Authentic Leadership

Jürg Thölke
Jürg Thölke
Jürg Thölke

News about Authentic Leadership

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