PhD candidate Human Resource Management for Sustainability

PhD candidate Human Resource Management for Sustainability

Published Deadline Location
9 Oct 21 Nov Heerlen

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Job description

Project description

Organizations face increasing pressure to enact environmental and social responsibilities. This research project aims to explore how performance management, a crucial HRM function, can be leveraged to not only enhance employees’ performance but also promote their well-being and environmentally-friendly behavior.

While performance management is a powerful tool for achieving organizational goals, using it to advance sustainability may be challenging. In this role, you will identify these challenges for different stakeholders, analyze their outcomes, and substantiate feasible solutions. The project’s objectives include gaining insights into how sustainable performance management policies (1) impact managers responsible for implementation (e.g., role conflict), (2) relate to employee well-being and performance (e.g., work engagement), and (3) interact with the workforce’s interpretations of these to establish meaningful results (e.g., authenticity beliefs).

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct a state-of-the-art review of relevant literature in performance management, sustainability, and broader relevant HRM fields;
  • Refine the research project to align closer with the identified gaps in the literature, your strengths, and interests;
  • Develop and implement survey instruments;
  • Present your research progress at (inter)national academic conferences and to industry stakeholders;
  • Actively participate in the project team research meetings and brainstorming sessions, as well as department meetings;
  • Dedicate about 15-20% of your working time to educational activities within the faculty;
  • Aspire to publish in top tier peer-reviewed management journals. 


The Open Universiteit (OU)


Your profile

  • Hold a MSc degree in HR, (Industrial and Organisational) Psychology, (Applied) Economics, or a related field. Knowledge of performance management and sustainability is a plus;
  • Possess strong analytical and creative thinking skills, along with a strong ethical foundation;
  • Have experience in quantitative data analytics;
  • Demonstrate a passion for academic development;
  • Be capable of working independently and collaboratively with excellent interpersonal skills;
  • Have fluent written and oral communication skills in English. Dutch language skills or the motivation to acquire them are plus.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: temporary position for 4 years.

Conditions of employment

The PhD candidate will be appointed for a period of 15 months. The appointment will be extended to 4 years based on performance. The salary is determined in accordance with salary scale P of Appendix A of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities and amounts to € 2.770,= gross per month upon commencement, in case of full employment.


The location will be primarily at the Open University campus in Heerlen within the Faculty of Management, but with extensive hybrid working arrangements, allowing for flexibility and up to 60% working from home. Due to new regulations, conditions may apply for cross-border workers.


Open Universiteit

Flexible studying online anywhere in the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders)

The Open Universiteit (OU) is the part-time university in the Netherlands. Students follow personalised and activating academic distance education and disciplinary research is carried out within the various fields of science. Students can complete bachelor and master programmes in seven fields of study. The characteristics of education are openness, flexibility and quality (see Much attention is paid to improving the study success of students. The OU has over 18,000 students and more than 750 employees. The OU has branches in the Netherlands and Belgium (see The main office is located in Heerlen. The latest technologies and educational insights are applied both in the bachelor's and master's programmes and courses and in projects and programmes with partners. Nationally and internationally, the OU plays an important role in the innovation of higher education. Education is interwoven with research, which also ensures that the current state of science is incorporated. The OU invests not only in disciplinary research in eight scientific fields, but also in research in a multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience.


​​​​​​​Faculty of Management

The faculty of Management is one of the six faculties of the OU of the Netherlands. Education, research and valorisation are the main tasks. The faculty offers academic bachelor and master programmes in the field of Management and Business Administration, and is involved in the master programme of Health Sciences. The faculty’s research programme focuses on Learning and Innovation for Resilient Systems (LIRS). Furthermore, the faculty is partner in the Center for Actionable Research of the OU (CAROU). The faculty has PhD-students who conduct research on various current topics within the LIRS research programme.

Department organisation

The Department of Organisation conducts research in areas such as Organizational Change, Organizational Behavior, HRM, and careers. The group specializes in exploring how organizations can help to address sustainability challenges by drawing from multiple scholarly disciplines and perspectives. The proposed PhD-project benefits from the expertise of supervisors in Sustainable HRM, Performance Management, Organizational Behavior, and Leadership. More specifically, Thomas Van Waeyenberg PhD is an assistant professor in HRM, Judith Semeijn PhD is a professor in Sustainable HRM, and Petru Curseu is a professor in Organizational Behavior.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society; Economics
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2770 per month
  • University graduate
  • MW/23113


The Open Universiteit (OU)

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Postbus 2960, 6401 DL, Heerlen

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