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PhD position in Organizational Behaviour, Human Resource Management – ERIM, Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERiM), The Netherlands

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ERIM’s research group in Organizational Behaviour (OB) and Human Resource Management (HRM) is seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to contribute to its research program and activities.

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General Info

Position: PhD position
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: ,
Deadline to Apply:
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: 5 Years
Salary: According to Standard Norms

Organizational Behaviour (OB) and Human Resource Management (HRM)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERiM)
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Qualification Details

The candidate should have a degree in management (e.g., HRM or OB), psychology, anthropology, or sociology with a strong focus on behavioural research. Ideally, the candidate has experience with survey research as well as laboratory experimentation, or qualitative methods and a solid grounding knowledge of theories of organizational behaviour or human resource management. At minimum, the candidate should have an active interest in, and some experience with, behavioural research, good English writing skills, and a strong interest in OB/HRM.

Responsibilities/Job Description

Companies can increasingly achieve a competitive advantage through their human capital – the people working and the company and the knowledge, information, and expertise they represent. High-quality performance in knowledge-intensive work relies greatly on people’s ability to contribute their expertise, insights, and ideas to collaborative team efforts. This holds the challenge of effectively motivating diverse groups of people to collaborate for collective objectives and to integrate their diverse expertise and insights to reach more innovative, higher-quality products and services. With growing diversity and reliance on cross-national collaborations, this also increasingly includes the ability to bridge gaps in understanding and experience to achieve effective collaboration and synergy. Most notably is the renewed interest in leadership for the flourishing of modern-day organizations and the people within it. All of this renders an understanding of the factors influencing the motivation, collaboration, and performance of people at work of growing importance to business success and building sustainable businesses. The influence of such factors is the domain of study of organizational behaviour (OB) – the study of individuals and groups at work—and Human Resources Management (HRM) – the study of workplace practices, structures, and processes that enable people to perform at their best while experiencing positive working lives. The research group (i.e., Dirk van Dierendonck, Steffen Giessner, Rebecca Hewett, Inga Hoever, Anne Nederveen-Pieterse, Hannes Leroy, Meir Shemla, Sofya Isaakyan, Tina Davidson, Anne Burmeister, Julija Mell, Colin Lee, and others) is looking for a PhD candidate in OB/HRM to be part of this program of research. The specific focus of the project will be determined in collaboration with the supervising faculty, but the expectation is that the focus would be aligned with their core expertise. The following outlines issues that could provide fruitful starting points for the project.

For research on teams, the key question is: how can teams effectively coordinate their expertise, efforts, and behaviour while representing satisfying and stimulating work environments for their members? Modern workplaces regularly rely on teams to accomplish some of their core tasks and objectives. Furthermore, such teams typically do not function in a vacuum but rather are embedded in broader collaborative networks and work interdependently with other teams, oftentimes in a distributed and/or virtual manner. This renders knowledge on successful teamwork and inter-team collaboration a priority. In this respect, the research group has a strong research tradition in the topics of team composition, team leadership, team learning, team creativity, and team processes and on how these play out across time, levels of analysis, and contexts.

For leadership research, the key question is: what makes leaders effective in mobilizing and motivating followers? For today’s organizations that focus on knowledge-intensive work, leadership has become a critical issue. For instance, one leadership challenge these organizations face is the need to foster leadership that develops employees’ proactive engagement and enhances creativity and innovation. At the same time, they face challenges in building commitment and motivation around a shared vision in times when organizations become more diverse, dynamic, and virtual, and employees have a great degree of autonomy. An additional challenge for leadership is how to put issues of ethics, morality, and social responsibility high on the agenda for employees who have great freedom in shaping their own actions at work. The research group investigates such issues as part of the extensive research they conduct on servant leadership, empowering leadership, sustainability leadership, visionary leadership as well as how to effectively develop leaders in these areas.

For HRM research, the key question is: how can we create value for the organization, its employees, and stakeholders through HRM practices?  Within a context of ongoing job layoffs and increased work pressure, as well as the people-related challenges arising from the pandemic, attention for topics such as people management, leadership development, and diversity management is more relevant than ever. In this respect, the research group pays specific attention to the challenges of complex processes in people management, cross-cultural collaboration, organizational climates for diversity and inclusion, and to the role of stereotypes in cross-cultural interactions. The group is also concerned with the processes through which people management practices influence individual well-being and performance outcomes from a range of different angles, including attributional processes, knowledge exchange, employee motivation, people analytics, and the role of managers and other stakeholders in HR implementation.

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About the Project/Department

The research group has great expertise in quantitative (survey research as well as experimental research) and qualitative methods. The PhD project may primarily rely on survey and/or experimental methodology in data gathering efforts, qualitative methods (including ethnography, case method, interviews and empirical observation), and mixed-method approaches combining qualitative and quantitative research are also possible. Specifics of the project clearly depend on the direction the project would take, but the broad conceptual and methodological base of experience and expertise present within the research group guarantees a solid basis for any project within the group’s domain of study.

ERIM is the research institute of management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, founded by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), both of which excel in their research and teaching programmes. The level and international character of their research and teaching programmes has put both schools at the forefront of academic excellence. They offer a diversified portfolio of accredited teaching and research programmes, ranging from pre-experience MSc to postgraduate Masters and executive development, and from fundamental research to applied research and business support, which are renowned throughout the world. RSM is one of the few schools worldwide that holds a triple accreditation from the AMBAs, EQUIS and the AASCB, and is positioned among the top European business schools. The scientific staff of both schools plays a major role in the schools’ interaction with the international business community.

About the Employer: Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERiM)

Note or Other details

The PhD project is funded for up to five years and should be able to yield at least three journal publications. Targeted outlets include Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management Studies and Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes. Results will also be presented at international conferences, such as the annual meetings of the Academy of Management.

The first year will start with an orientation on a possible focus of the dissertation research through consulting with the faculty involved in the project and study of the relevant literature. As a more specific focus emerges the literature study to demarcate the topic of interest will become more focused, culminating in the design of the first study. In the second half of the first year, this study will be conducted, analysed, and prepared for submission to an academic journal and conference. In addition, the candidate will use the first year to follow relevant PhD courses.

The following years will be used to conduct the studies needed for a second and third empirical dissertation chapter and journal submission. Ideally, all data gathering efforts are completed by the end of the third year, so the final two years can be dedicated to bringing the empirical chapters to publication (i.e., not only submitting to journals but also preparing revisions) and to finalize the dissertation. These years will be used to present the results of the project at international conferences, and ideally also for a research visit abroad.

In addition to the project research, these latter years will also be used to gain teaching experience. PhD students participate in the department’s teaching in bachelor and master programs, and thus are able to gain valuable experience that better qualifies them for a position in academia once they gain their PhD.


The research group has a strong international network of collaborators that can be called upon to host research visits of PhD students. Furthermore, the research group regularly hosts renowned faculty as seminar speakers or visitors, providing further opportunity to establish new international collaborations. Recent PhD student research visits, for instance, have included stays at Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Rice University, Stanford University, and University of Toronto. Such a research visit would in principle also be part of this research project, so that ideally part of the project research would be conducted in the course of such a visit.

Societal relevance

Beside scientific relevance, research should also address practical problems and, therefore, contribute so relevant societal topics. The Rotterdam School of Management support dissemination of findings to the wider society in various ways (e.g.,

Scientific relevance

The research group has an established track record for cutting-edge research in leadership, on teams and human resource management. The PhD project will likewise focus on advancing our knowledge of organizational behaviour in important ways. Obviously, the specific contributions the project will be able to make are contingent on how the project is shaped by the PhD student, and whether its main focus is on leadership, teams, or HRM. Regardless of its focus, however, the expectation is that the project will contribute to theory development by a strong focus on not only the outcomes of interest but also on the behavioural-psychological processes leading to these outcomes.

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Contact details

For questions regarding the PhD application and selection procedure, please check the Admissions or send us an e-mail via

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