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drs. Patrick van Veen

drs. Patrick van Veen

"Help! My boss is an ape"
Languages : English, Dutch, German

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  • Science
    • Biology
  • Management
    • Change Management
    • Human Resource Management
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  • Ape tricks on the work floor

Why redecorating the new manager's office, only two years after the room has been refurnished compelety? What makes communication so difficult that misunderstandings are inevitable? Why does sensitive information reach the work floor prematurely? Why are files, knowledge and skills not handed over spontaneously? Is it a coincidence that faults and failures are always discovered too late? Why is the old system always better than the new one according to the sytem

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Why redecorating the new manager's office, only two years after the room has been refurnished compelety? What makes communication so difficult that misunderstandings are inevitable? Why does sensitive information reach the work floor prematurely? Why are files, knowledge and skills not handed over spontaneously? Is it a coincidence that faults and failures are always discovered too late? Why is the old system always better than the new one according to the sytem manager? The answer to all of these questions might be surprising and won't reassure everybody. That's because we are all apes. That is, an important part of our behaviour is determined by the same impulses that determine the social behaviour of apes. Not everything we do is as rational as we may think. Should we worry about that? No, on the contrary. This primitive behaviour enables us to live and work in complex and large social groups. But, in corporate processes, the same behaviour hinders us  regularly. It is amazing that we don't pay much attention to our own social behaviour, when trying to solve problems and answer questions. We have to consider our natural roots, which are hidden in our genes.

In his lectures, Patrick van Veen addresses questions like 'Why do we show certain behaviour?', and 'Why do problems arise?'. The behaviour of apes is his starting point. They aren't bothered by shame, rational approach, culture or concealing clothes, a perfect frame to investigate our own problems.

Patrick van Veen studied Biology at the biology faculty of the University of Utrecht. He graduated in 1993 in Social Biology. He worked as a free lancer for social organisations, the government and the University of Utrecht. In 1996, he made a radical turn. He decided to pursue a real career this time and joined an insurance company, where he held various positions, studied and specialised as a project manager. He took part in a management development program.

In 2002, he became an independent biologist again and started his own company. He advises enterprises, gives lectures and organises corporate workshops on social behaviour. He organises training sessions for managers in co-operation with the Apenheul Zoo. His current work is based on his survey on the similarity between the social behaviours of apes and co-workers. In 2004, he wrote 'Help! My boss is an ape, social behaviour in organisations from a biological perspective.' His second book, about his experiences at  the Apenheul Zoo, was published in 2006. His mission is to make managers and entrepreneurs aware of our biological behaviour.

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