PhD project Legitimacy Strategies of Digital Labour Platforms

PhD project Legitimacy Strategies of Digital Labour Platforms

Published Deadline Location
16 May 10 Jun Amsterdam

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Do you have a MSc in Business Administration or related? Do you want to research digital labour platforms in the gig economy? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

Job description

We are offering a fully funded, four-year PhD-position on the rise of the platform economy, with a specific focus on the legitimacy strategies of digital labour platforms (e.g. Uber, Upwork).

Labour platforms face a dual strategic hurdle. They want to create a competitive business model and be legitimate in the eyes of relevant stakeholders. They address this in various ways, for example by building advocacy coalitions with fellow platform organizations, and helping shape future regulations. As a PhD candidate for this project, you investigate how platforms deal with these challenges. You carry out cross-national, longitudinal case studies of platforms, combining quantitative media analysis with in-depth interviews and roundtables. Your research includes several sectors, such as domestic services, delivery, and online freelance work.

Your PhD project is part of a wider NWO-funded project called PlatWork-R. This project brings together scholars from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, VU Amsterdam, Maastricht University, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam and Statistics Netherlands (CBS). PlatWork-R is an interdisciplinary project combining economics, sociology, law, public administration and design science. Our goal is to investigate platform work and possible regulations with stakeholders from public and private sectors. As a PhD candidate in this project, you will be part of a larger group of seven researchers (five PhD students, one postdoc, one medior. You collaborate with them in PhD training and project workshops throughout your project.

The project can start anytime between 1 September 2022 and 1 November 2022.

Your duties
  • you develop a thorough understanding of neo-institutional theory and related theories in management and organization studies
  • you conduct empirical research on themes related to the legitimacy strategies of digital labour platforms
  • you publish your research to both an organizational science audience and practitioners
  • you give a modest contribution to the department's teaching program, with the opportunity to obtain a basic teaching qualification certificate (BKO).


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • you have a Research Master or MSc in business administration, organizational studies, sociology, or equivalent
  • you are familiar with qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • you have the communication skills to collaborate with industry partners
  • you are highly proficient in English, with academic writing skills
  • you are motivated to do high quality research with the aim of publishing top level articles for different audiences

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2.443 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,122 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor - from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

School of Business and Economics
The School of Business and Economics (SBE) provides high-quality education and excellent research in business administration and economics with a focus on contributing to the social, economic and ecological challenges of our time. Whether it is the use of robots in society or big data, labour market participation or flexibility in the labour market, traffic jams or the housing market, flash crashes in the stock market or choice behaviour in gambling, leadership or change management: we believe in goal-oriented scientific research and understand that progress in academics, the business community and society is achieved through cooperation, openness and social responsibility.

At SBE, all of our highly-motivated colleagues work together closely in a stimulating, dynamic and international environment to achieve our collective goal of encouraging society to make informed choices. Approximately 7,000 Bachelor's and Master's students and 1,700 executive students are enrolled at the School, and employs roughly 600 people.

KIN Center for Digital Innovation (KIN) ( is one of the departments of the School of Business and Economics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. KIN conducts research on the development, use and business value of innovative organizational processes and technologies. The research contributes to an international field that is relatively new and multi-disciplinary. We work closely together with faculty and researchers from other universities and cooperate with an extensive network of business partners. The KIN research group is also responsible for several courses in the Business Administration curriculum at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and facilitates the Master Digital Business and Innovation.


  • Assistant professor
  • Doctorate
  • 11807


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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