PhD Position on Generative AI, CSR, and Corporate Legitimacy

PhD Position on Generative AI, CSR, and Corporate Legitimacy

Published Deadline Location
13 Jun 15 Aug Amsterdam

Job description

PhD position on the role of generative AI in corporate social responsibility communication and corporate legitimacy

Hundreds of millions of individuals increasingly use generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) in the form of conversational agents such as ChatGPT as sources of information. These agents help individuals learn about society and the world around them, including what companies do and how socially responsible or irresponsible they are. Against the backdrop of the mediatization, globalization and politicization of organizations, the project aims to improve our understanding of the extent to which conversational GenAI challenges how and what we learn about companies and their social (ir)responsibility and what effects the emergence of genAI has on individuals’ perceptions of corporate legitimacy, compared to (traditional) news media. The project's findings are expected to significantly contribute to research and practice by informing researchers, companies, policymakers, and other social actors and institutions about how the emergence of GenAI can disrupt processes affecting corporate legitimacy, particularly in the context of complex topics like corporate social (ir)responsibility.

We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic PhD candidate for the project “Generative (De)Legitimation: Corporate Social (Ir)Responsibility in the Age of Conversational Generative AI” under the supervision of dr. Sarah Marschlich, dr. Britta Brugman, and prof. dr. Theo Araujo. The project is embedded in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam.

What are you going to do
In this 4-year PhD project, the PhD candidate will explore (1) how individuals interact with conversational GenAI agents when seeking information about organizations, especially in relation to their corporate social (ir)responsibility and legitimacy, (2) how the answers by GenAI differ from regular news content about corporate social (ir)responsibility and legitimacy, and (3) explore the effects of GenAI on individuals’ corporate legitimacy perceptions, as a result of source perceptions and the use of specific frames.

Various methods are used in this project: in-depth interviews, quantitative (automated) content analysis, and experimental studies. The PhD candidate will write a paper-based dissertation and will strive to publish the results of individual studies in leading journals in the field of Communication Science. In addition to the scientific impact, the project will have societal impact, with outreach to interested stakeholders within and outside academia to disseminate the research conclusions.

Tasks include
  • conducting in-depth interviews with users of Conversational GenAI;
  • conducting a quantitative content analysis to compare how Conversational GenAI and news media differ in their portrayal of companies;
  • conducting experimental studies to investigate the effects of information sources and frames by Conversational GenAI on individuals’ corporate legitimacy perceptions;
  • completing a dissertation consisting of research articles within the appointment period;
  • presenting the research at national and international conferences;
  • contributing to the vibrant academic life in Amsterdam by attending ASCoR’s PhD club, workshops, meetings, and lectures;
  • conducting teaching-related tasks in the Bachelor programme of Communication Science (10% of your time).

What do you have to offer
You have
  • a (research) master’s degree in Communication Science or will have obtained this degree before the start of the project. Candidates with another (research) master’s degree are welcome to apply, but should motivate why their experience suffices for this project;
  • a strong interest in, and preferably knowledge of, both conversational genAI (such as ChatGPT) and concepts related to the research proposal, including framing, corporate legitimacy, and corporate social (ir)responsibility;
  • a firm basis in and, ideally, experience with empirical research methods and data analysis. In particular, the project involves content analysis, experimental studies, and in-depth interviews. It is no requirement that one has in-depth experience in all these methods; the PhD trajectory allows methodological training and further development. Please explicitly reflect on your methodological skillset in the motivation letter;
  • an excellent spoken and written command of English (as you will be writing an English language dissertation and presenting at international conferences; Dutch is an important plus).

  • are passionate about research;
  • have a strong affinity for the research topic;
  • are eager to learn and develop new skills and theoretical perspectives;
  • are able and enjoy working in a team;
  • are able to work independently and show initiative;
  • enjoy discussing and presenting research in research seminars, workshops, and conferences, and are keen to communicate results to non-academic audiences;
  • are willing to travel internationally to scientific conferences and workshops and engage with the scientific community at large;
  • are organized, flexible and attentive to detail.

What can we offer you
The planned starting date for this project is October 1st, 2024. The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours 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 approximately 10% of the contract. For this position, the University Job Classification profile “promovendus” applies.

Your salary will be €2.770 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3.539 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;
  • a nurturing environment that allows you to develop your talents and skills;
  • an enthusiastic and warm supervision team;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About us
The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) is the research institute for the Communication Science Department in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam.

We offer 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.

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. Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact prof. dr. Theo Araujo, Professor on Media, Organizations and Society,

Job application
Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by August 15th, 2024. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in one bundled .pdf should include:
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation (max. 2 pages) that outlines your relevant previous experiences and motivation to pursue this PhD project. Please be as specific as possible in describing how you meet the selection criteria. If you do not meet all criteria yet, please explain how you will acquire the required skills. Please clearly delineate your experience (or willingness to learn) with the methods required by this project;
  • a grade transcript of the followed Bachelor's and Master's courses;
  • a recent individual English and, if possible, Dutch writing sample (e.g., a Master's thesis or another recent individual essay).

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.

No agencies please.

If an ‘Error GBB451’ occurs, please click here for more information and help.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 13130


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Learn more about this employer


Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018WV, Amsterdam

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you


Apply for this job

Apply for this job

This application process is managed by the employer (University of Amsterdam (UvA)). Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.

Thank you for applying

Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.

Tip: save this job as favorite in your AcademicTransfer account. This gives you an immediate overview and makes it easy to find the job later on. No account yet? Create it now and take advantage of other useful functionalities too!

Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Aug 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).