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Bente Elkjær


Bente Elkjaer
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Bente Elkjaer holds a chair (2002-) within learning theory with special focus upon learning in organizations and working life at the Department of Education, Aarhus University (Campus Copenhagen). Bente researches at the 'crossroads' between educational and organizational studies and she is engaged in how organizations and people 'produce' knowledge and how knowledge can be shared through the organizing of work and management as well as through learning. Bente’s main theoretical sources of inspiration are American pragmatism by way of the philosopher and educational thinker, John Dewey's works, which she is continuously struggling to understand. She is particularly interested in how pragmatism may be understood in light of the ‘practice turn’ in the social sciences.

Bente’s current project (with Ass. Prof. and Dept. Head, Pia Bramming) is researching into the issue of the accreditation of universities, how it affects organizational relations and what it does to the quality of education. In terms of teaching, Bente is coordinating the subject, ‘Development and Management of Human Resources and Organizations’ in the Department' MA in Educational Science as well as gives miscellaneous talks and supervises students at different levels.  

 Apart from her past employment at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) (1989-2002), Bente is the former Head of The Doctoral School of Organizational Learning (DOCSOL) (2004-2010), and the Editor in Chief of Management Learning. The Journal for Managerial and Organizational Learning (2005-2010). Bente is also the former Head of the Department of Learning at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University (Campus Copenhagen) (2008-2011).  

Bente has also studied overall one year in different American Universities, University of California, Berkeley in 1993 and University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1998. These studies were made possible through first the American stipend, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and later a FUHU-Fulbright stipend. The stipends were earned in order for Bente to study the most important of her theoretical sources of inspiration, the American pragmatism by way of the philosopher and educational thinker, John Dewey' works.

 In the left spare time, Bente is engaged in moving at a decent speed by way of hiking in Denmark and elsewhere, everyday bicycling, yoga and cross-country skiing in Norway. Apart from that, she reads many novels in her reading-group, watches moves in the cinemas as well as enjoy travels in Denmark and abroad.




In Bente' research on learning in organisations and working life she is particularly inspired by American Pragmatism, especially the works of John Dewey. With a point of departure in a practice-based theory of learning Bente Elkjaer has worked on developing a 'third way' for organisational learning. A Pragmatist approach is particularly helpful in trying to overcome the often reproduced dualisms between process and results, content and methods, mind and body, cognition and emotion as well as subject and world (person and organisation).

Bente is particularly engaged in exploring the meaning of organisational change for the development of an organisational arena for learning. In this pursuit Bente Elkjaer is engaged in defining the 'tensional tales' and the 'wrestling voices' as learning opportunities.

Bente Elkjaer is also engaged in exploring how processes of organising and learning are related. She is currently engaged in the notion of 'co-learning' as a way to understand learning across titles and professions.



Bente Elkjaer has teaching experiences from all levels of university teaching from BA to PhD. For many years she has taught at PhD courses in several Danish, Nordic, and European universities within her field of inquiry and in 'Writing and Publishing for Publication'. Bente Elkjaer is also an active teacher, supervisor and coordinator at the Department's new BA and MA in Educational Science.

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