Dr. Ben Suykens

Ben SuykensContact details / research disciplines / publications

Question & answer

What is your research about?

My research is about marketing civil society organisations. Think of management based on performance measurements, introducing management tools, such as critical performance indicators, or integrating earning models in core activities (e.g. entrance fees) or side activities (e.g. raffles). Research shows that CSOs are struggling with marketing all over the world. While proponents indicate that this trend can contribute to a more efficient and financially stable civil society, critics warn that this evolution undermines the social mission. Rather than taking a normative position, I will try to empirically examine the conditions under which business practices can or cannot work for certain types of CSOs.

Where did the interest in that subject come from?

For my doctoral research, I worked for a social enterprise for a while. This taught me that using business practices and knowledge to achieve social objectives is not an easy thing to do. This experience prompted me to continue working on this academically. 

Why is your research socially relevant?

Besides stimulating the social debate and bringing people together, CSOs provide a multitude of public services. My research provides insight into when it is useful for CSOs to engage in business practices/knowledge, and – above all – when it is not.

How would colleagues describe you?

‘A driven staff member and a great team player’ – I’d like to think anyway ;-)

What is the first thing you do when an unexpected slot opens up in your schedule?

As long as I’m not behind on my research or teaching activities, this is a no-brainer: exercise or sleep ;-).