PhD Candidate for the research project "Administrative Attention amidst Political Failure"

PhD Candidate for the research project "Administrative Attention amidst Political Failure"

Published Deadline Location
4 Apr 28 May Den Haag

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The Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University is looking for a
PhD Candidate for the research project "Administrative Attention amidst Political Failure"

Job description

Project description

Amidst an affluence of societal challenges and an abundance of information, political processes increasingly result in unclear and inconsistent policy objectives. Amidst such "political failure", public managers rely on performance information to define how societal problems and causal origins should be understood and which policy solution should be selected to remedy the problem. Public managers possess historically unrivaled information about the many societal challenges that government seeks to address. Paradoxically, this abundance of information leads to an ever-increasing scarcity of attention, as the available information greatly exceeds managers' information-processing capacities.
The Institute of Public Administration seeks to recruit a PhD Candidate to contribute to the broader NWO Vidi project "Administrative Attention amidst Political Failure" by conducting a PhD research project. The focus of the PhD research project is to provide further theoretical and practical understanding of public managers' search behavior in response to societal and organizational challenges. Search behavior concerns the processing of information to define the relevant characteristics and causal origins (problem-definition search), as well as to identify and generate the potential policy solutions (solution-generating search).
As part of the broader project team, the successful applicant will utilize experimental research methods (for instance survey experiments, lab-in-the-field experiments) to empirically analyze and evaluate these search behaviors. In particular, the PhD candidate will seek to inform the occurrence (i.e. when do public managers search?), locus (i.e. where do public managers search?), and sequence (i.e. in what order to managers search for problem and solution-related information?) of search behavior. The PhD candidate will also design and conduct research to examine how the dynamics of search behavior are dependent on the presence of political failure.

Tasks and responsibilities

The PhD candidate is expected
  • To design and implement scientific research on the information processing behavior of public managers. In line with the broader project, the research methodology will consist of experimental designs and methods to inform public managers' attention allocation as information processing behavior.
  • To disseminate research findings by publishing scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals and presenting research at academic conferences.
  • To communicate scientific findings to evidence for practice, for instance through publications in practitioner-oriented journals or websites, the development of trainings and/or interventions for practice, and participation in practice-oriented debates about public management and decision-making.


Leiden University


Selection criteria
  • A (research) master's degree in social sciences with excellent study results, including public administration and/or public management, political science, public policy, general or business management, organizational sciences, economics, sociology, or (organizational) psychology. Students who will obtain their master's degree before the start date of 1 September 2023 are encouraged to apply;
  • Experience with quantitative analysis and an interest in (survey) experimental research design;
  • Interest in and affinity with communicating scientific insights to practice.
  • Excellent spoken and written proficiency in English. Proficiency in Dutch can be considered an asset, yet international candidates are strongly encouraged to apply;
  • Experience with software for statistical analysis (for instance r/rstudio, stata) and survey research (for instance Qualtrics);
  • The capacity to work both independently as well as collaboratively with the project team;
  • Good organizational and communicative skills;
  • The capacity to work in a creative and curiosity-driven way, with a good eye for detail.

Conditions of employment

Terms and conditions

We offer a full-time appointment of initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the research, teaching evaluations, personal capabilities and compatibility, the appointment will be extended for another three years. Salary range starts from € 2.541,- gross per month up to € 3.247,- gross per month (salary scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information: Job application procedure and employment conditions.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research.


Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs

The Faculty and Institute
Science for and about society is the domain of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA). FGGA provides high-quality interdisciplinary education and research on social and governance issues such as terrorism, organization of public administration, climate change and economic crises.
Contemporary issues are approached from an administrative, political, economic, legal and sociological perspective. This interdisciplinary approach gives the faculty's education and research a cross-border character.
The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) is one of the seven faculties of Leiden University and is based in The Hague.
The FGGA is a young, enterprising and innovative organisation that is growing rapidly. The faculty has three scientific institutes, two centres, 3500 students and 330 staff members.
Within the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, the Institute of Public Administration is one of the largest and oldest institutes of academic research and teaching in the field of public administration in the Netherlands and is located in The Hague. The institute combines a solid international academic reputation with a central positioning among the international, national, regional and local governance institutions of The Hague. It employs around 80 people and provides education to 1200 students. The successful candidate will be a member of the research group on Public Management and Leadership.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 13583



Turfmarkt 99, 2511DP, Den Haag

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