Professor Walter R. J. Baets

Director of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.

Areas of expertise: Innovation, Knowledge Management, Management Learning, Non-linear dynamic (complex) behaviour in management, Pedagogical approaches, Workplace Learning, Personal Development


Prior to being appointed as the Director of the UCT Graduate School of Business, Prof Baets was Professor of Complexity, Knowledge and Innovation, Associate Dean for Research and MBA Director at Euromed Marseille Ecole de Management. Previously at Euromed Marseille he was Director of Graduate Programmes. Before joining Euromed Marseille, he held the Philips Chair in Information and Communication Technology and he was director of NOTION (the Nyenrode Institute for Knowledge Management and Virtual Education) at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands. He has held academic positions in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain.

He graduated in Econometrics and Operations Research at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and did postgraduate studies in Business Administration at Warwick Business School (UK). He was awarded a PhD from the University of Warwick in Industrial and Business Studies and a Habilitation of Paul Cezanne University, Aix-Marseille III, France.

He pursued a career in strategic planning, decision support and IS consultancy for more than ten years, before joining the academic world, first as managing director of the management development centre of the Louvain Universities (Belgium) and later as Associate Professor at Nyenrode University, The Netherlands Business School. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Aix-Marseille (IAE) and GRASCE (Complexity Research Centre) Aix-en-Provence. He held visiting teaching positions at ESC Rouen, KU Leuven, RU Gent, Moscow, St Petersburg, Tyumen University, Purdue University and Narsee Monjee (Mumbai, India). Most of his professional experience was acquired in the telecommunications and banking sector. He has substantial experience in management development activities in Russia and the Arab world.

His research interests include: Innovation and knowledge; Complexity, chaos and change; The impact of (new information) technologies on organisations; Knowledge, learning and artificial intelligence; On-line learning, work-place learning and pedagogical innovation; A quantum interpretation of management.

He is a member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Information & Management, and Systèmes d’Information et Management. He has acted as a reviewer/evaluator and chair for a number of International Conferences (e.g. ECIS an ICIS) and for the EU RACE programme. He has published in several journals including the Journal of Strategic Information Systems, The European Journal of Operations Research, Knowledge and Process Management, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, The Journal of Systems Management, Information & Management, The Learning Organisation and Accounting, Management and Information Technologies. He has organised international conferences in the area of IT and organisational change.

Walter Baets is the author of Organisational Learning and Knowledge Technologies in a Dynamic Environment published in 1998 by Kluwer Academic, and of Complexity, Organisations and Learning: the quantum interpretation of business, published in 2006 with Routledge. He co-authored with Gert Van der Linden The Hybrid Business School: Developing knowledge management through management learning, published by Prentice-Hall in 2000 and Virtual Corporate Universities, published 2003 by Kluwer Academic. Along with Bob Galliers he co-edited Information Technology and Organisational Transformation: Innovation for the 21st Century Organisation also published in 1998 by Wiley. In 1999, he edited Complexity and Management: A collection of essay, published by World Scientific Publishing.

His most recent books are Knowledge Management and Management Learning: Extending the Horizons of Knowledge-Based Management, published with Springer (2005); and Rethinking growth: social intrapreneurship for sustainable performance (Palgrave MacMillan, 2009) co-authored with Erna Oldenboom.

2 Responses to About

  1. Paul Taylor says:

    Dear Walter

    I just heard on the BBC World Service your reflections on the bad habit of importing ‘WESTERN’ best practice (not informed practice) to African business schools. Wonderful stuff. I guess we are all aware of the of the consequences of the ‘one size fits all’ quick fix approach. Common-sense after all dictates our schools should think locally and act globally paying due deference to the unique culture and heritage of the African way of doing things.

    I am reminded of 2 quotes ‘. . . . . renewal – whether of ponds, gardens, people or institutions – is an internal process whatever the external concerns or stimulants’. (Goodlad, 1987) and ‘. . . teachers of the 21st century school, college, academy or corporate university will increasingly be designers of learning experiences, processes and environments’. (Dudderstadt, 1999)

    As for accreditation, Deming delighted us with the observation ‘inspecting it in is out’. Someone once said in relation to whole school improvement ‘. . . . it’s like surfing on the waves of events and decisions. Nobody can ride the surf successfully to detailed instructions from the shore. Quite so.

    Enhancing and sustaining learner capability and potential is somewhat simpler than the pundits would have us believe. Simple but not easy. Balancing work, play learning and imagination distinguishes best in class from the rest. It’s the world’s worst kept secret but few get it.

    All kudos to you for your thought-provoking observations . . . . . you put your sparring partner firmly in the shade with your eloquence and insight

    Kind regards

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