PhD Rethinking the Workplace: How Technological Innovations Can Improve Employability and Efficiency

University of Amsterdam
April 06, 2023
Offerd Salary:€2541 gross
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD Rethinking the Workplace: How Technological Innovations Can Improve

Employability and Efficiency

Faculty/Services: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Educational level: Master

Function type: PhD position

Closing date: 6 April 2023

Vacancy number: 11321

Are you eager to uncover how technology and AI can be implemented at work to help employees learn at work and perform more efficiently? Are you interested in how high-risk professionals, such as those working for the military and the police, respond to new technology at work? Is it your ambition to achieve impact based on systematic and evidence-based research? Do you like a challenging and independent job in a dynamic setting in close collaboration with the Dutch military? In this joint research project with TNO and the Ministry of Defense, the department of Work and Organizational Psychology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a PhD student on “Rethinking the Workplace: How Technological Innovations Can Improve Employability and Efficiency”.

Project description

Technological innovations, including artificial intelligence, robotization, VR/AR and data analytics are rapidly transforming the workplace. These technological developments promise increased efficiency, sustainable employability and better decision-making: much-needed outcomes in a continuously changing and increasingly tight labor market. However, without careful consideration of employee needs, motivation and well-being, such technological innovations can backfire and threaten the quality and continuance of people's jobs. In this PhD project, we aim to uncover how technological innovations can help to redesign jobs in such a way that they optimize individual employability and development, as well as organizational efficiency. We argue that this can only be realized if high-risk professionals are willing and able to adopt and implement the new technology, and, hence, that they should be included as active agents in the adoption of technology.

The PhD project aims to answer the following research questions using a multi- disciplinary and multi-level approach, combining organizational psychological principles with the principles of human-centered social innovation:

  • Which work characteristics (work design) help/hinder employee attitudes toward (the use of) new technology?
  • How can we deploy technology to (re-)organize work in such a way that it stimulates learning, employability and (organizational) efficiency?
  • How does the work environment (organizational culture, socio-economic conditions) influence the impact of technology and work design on employee efficiency?
  • The University of Amsterdam and TNO collaborate on this PhD project. You will be based at the Work and Organizational Psychology Research Group of the Psychology Research Institute at the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences , working under the supervision of Dr Matthijs Baas (UvA), Dr Jessie Koen (UvA/TNO Healthy Living & Work ) and Dr Esther Oprins (TNO Defense, Security & Safety ). In addition, you are expected to occasionally work at TNO (Soesterberg).

    What you are going to do

    Together with the University and TNO, you will carry out an interdisciplinary research program dedicated to stimulating the employability and efficiency of high-risk professionals such as the military workforce in the Netherlands. With your research, you will contribute to a sustainable workforce that is ready to cope with digital and technological transitions.

    Within the PhD project, your activities will include data collection using various methods (e.g., multi-level survey studies, daily diary and intervention studies), (systematic) literature review. You will analyze data and write articles for scientific publication. Based on research findings, you will also present relevant outcomes to a military audience from the Dutch Military of Defense or international communities such as NATO. You will also closely collaborate with TNO colleagues, participating in research program ‘Arbeidsextensivering' for the Ministry of Defense. In addition to conducting research, you will be involved in teaching activities (15% of the time) in the teaching program of work and organizational psychology (e.g., supervision of thesis research of students, tutoring working groups).

    What do you have to offer

    We are looking for a candidate that:

  • has (or is within 3 months of obtaining) a university master's degree in the field of psychology, HR, behavioral economics, or a related discipline in the social sciences; a degree in Work and Organizational Psychology or Organizational Behavior/ HRM is a plus;
  • is enthusiastic, motivated, driven, conscientious and independent;
  • has (proven) knowledge of, and experience with, quantitative (field) research;
  • has excellent methodological and statistical skills;
  • has excellent oral and written communication skills in Dutch and English;
  • has affinity with the military and/or other high-risk work environments;
  • likes to work in a team and knows how to manage interests of different stakeholders;
  • has a passion for applied research and the application of research findings in practice; is prepared to engage in teaching activities, such as the supervision of thesis research of university students and the tutoring of working groups;

  • As you will be working in the domain of defense and security, a Certificate of No Objection issued by AIVD (The Dutch General Information and Security Service) is mandatory. This means you will have to undergo a security screening. Read more about security screening.
  • What can we offer you

    The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of 4 years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor's students.

    For this position the University Job Classification profile PhD applies.

    Your salary will be €2541 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3247 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

    The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

    What else do we offer

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued;
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam, where colleagues are leading experts in their field;
  • challenging and varied work with a real impact.
  • About us

    The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

    About the faculty

    A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

    Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


    Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • Jessie Koen , senior researcher Future of Work, [email protected] , T: +31 6 21328703
  • Matthijs Baas , associate professor, [email protected]
  • Job application

    Do you recognize yourself in the job profile and do you get excited? Then we look forward to receiving your application by April 6th 2023. You may apply online by using the link below.

    Applications in one bundled .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • your master's thesis;
  • your master's degree and list with courses and course grades.
  • The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

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