PhD Project: How Firms in Contested Industries Pursue Purpose-driven Renewal

PhD Project: How Firms in Contested Industries Pursue Purpose-driven Renewal

Published Deadline Location
6 Apr 15 Jun Amsterdam

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Job description

Corporations are increasingly being challenged to reflect on their purpose. Indeed, the relentless pursuit of profit as the raison d'être for corporations has had detrimental implications for our planet, society, and even shareholders - calling corporations to identify with a purpose that enables sustainable development. Accordingly, an ever-louder chorus of industry leaders have been questioning the shareholder-centric approach to business conduct. For example, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, called on firms to serve a broader societal purpose and shared value creation, and leading business consultants are increasingly advising firms to pursue a purpose that helps to cultivate a deeper connection with employees, customers, and communities. Earlier research has shown that firms are responsive to this development as they are rolling out new purpose-driven strategies and implementing changes within their organizations. However, firms that are particularly challenged by this development are those operating in contested industries including, for example, energy, aviation, and fast food. For these firms, pursuing a purpose requires fundamentally rethinking their core business activities, revenue models, and strategy.

Therefore, this PhD project seeks to perform an in-depth, longitudinal study of how firms in contested industries engage in purpose-driven strategic renewal. The objective of this project is to identify and theorize about the challenges, practices, and consequences of implementing such renewal. We envision this project to draw from, and contribute to, the literature on stakeholder management, strategic renewal, and organizational change. An elaborate description of the project, including a brief literature review, and outline of methodology and societal relevance can be found here.

What are you going to do?
  • Pursue and complete a PhD thesis within the appointed duration of four years, during which you will follow PhD level coursework, plan and conduct your PhD research;
  • actively collaborate with the researchers from Amsterdam Business School;
  • present research findings at international conferences;
  • submit your work to prestigious management science journals;
  • assist in teaching activities, such as tutorials and MSc thesis supervision.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


Formal requirements:
  • Masters' degree (preferably a Research Master´s) in Business Administration, Business Economics or a related field (also candidates with a degree in other relevant disciplines are encouraged to apply).

Task-related requirements:
  • Excellent speaking and writing ability in English, ideally with some experience in academic writing;
  • willingness and motivation to independently formulate research projects and carry them through to completion;
  • familiarity with qualitative research methods or a willingness to develop these skills;
  • willingness to travel abroad for data collection, conferences, and extended visits to other universities.

Additional requirements:
  • Strong motivation to pursue an international career as a leading scholar;
  • strong commitment to methodological rigor and scientific integrity;
  • intellectual curiosity, eagerness to learn, and openness to feedback;

Conditions of employment

The compensation package is competitive at the European level and includes several secondary benefits. To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterized by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society. Favorable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants. To know more about working at the University of Amsterdam, please check this link and

The employment contract will be for three or four years (depending on prior education) with an initial period of 12 or 18 months, with an intermediate evaluation after 12 or 18 months and a possibility to extend it for 24 or 30 months (in total three or four years, depending on prior education). End-result should be a PhD thesis. An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) conferences.

The gross monthly salary will range from €2.541 in the first year to €3.247 (base on 38 hours per week) in the last year. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer:
  • A role in which your own initiative and input is strongly valued;
  • an expert supervisory team with experience in supervising PhD students and publishing in top tier journals;
  • an enthusiastic, welcoming, and supportive department;
  • a vibrant, international work environment in the centre of Amsterdam.


Faculty of Economics and Business

Education and research at UvA Economics and Business (EB) covers a wide range of fields that includes economics, data science, business administration, business analytics, accountancy, control, econometrics, finance and entrepreneurship. This is organised in 2 Schools: the Amsterdam Business School (ABS) and the Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE). Over 7,000 students are enrolled in our UvA Economics and Business programmes and around 500 employees provide education and support.

At our Strategy & International Business section, managers in organisations are considered the central actors. Our areas of expertise in both research and education are sustainability, stakeholder management, digital transformation, and innovation strategy.

The section is committed to providing high-quality education at all levels, from undergraduate (BSc) to PhD level and Executive Education.

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  • PhD
  • Economics
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 11451


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Roetersstraat 11, 1018WB, Amsterdam

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