PhD Fellow: Bureaucracy and Behavior in Public Service Delivery

PhD Fellow: Bureaucracy and Behavior in Public Service Delivery

Published Deadline Location
19 Sep 15 Oct Den Haag

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PhD Fellow: Bureaucracy and Behavior in Public Service Delivery (1,0 FTE; six years)

The Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University is looking for a PhD Fellow.

Vacancy number: 14089

Job description

Project description

The administrative structures, systems and procedures through which government agencies deliver public services frequently do not correspond with the expectations, capacities and behaviors of citizens. This limits access to and uptake of the public services on which many citizens depend, resulting in growing distance to the government and a diminishing trust in the wider democratic political system. Through a range of design interventions, government agencies attempt to better calibrate their bureaucratic systems of public service delivery to the circumstances of individual citizens. Despite such efforts, citizens frequently remain entangled in bureaucratic procedures and administrative burdens during their interactions with the state.

This project aspires to contribute to public administration research and practice through analysis of the relationships between bureaucratic systems and behavior in the context of public service delivery. The point of departure for the project is the recognition that the design of bureaucratic systems may both enable and constrain the behavior of citizens as well as public professionals, and that effective and responsive public service delivery is dependent on the behaviors of both these actors. By linking the external world of citizen experiences with public service delivery to the internal world of public management and organizational behavior, this project seeks to advance theoretical, empirical and practical understanding of the interrelations between bureaucratic design and behavior in the delivery of public services.

The project’s aims and scope will be specified in the first year giving the PhD fellow the opportunity to specialize in relevant research areas and approaches within the overarching theme of bureaucracy and behavior in public service delivery. The project is open to an internationally comparative approach and a variety of research methodologies.

Tasks and responsibilities

Over a period of six years, the PhD fellow is expected
  • To design and implement scientific research on bureaucracy and behavior in the context of public service delivery (approximately 50% of the appointment). The research may rely on a variety of qualitative, quantitative and/or experimental methodological approaches.
  • To contribute to the teaching programs of the Institute of Public Administration (approximately 40% of the appointment), with the opportunity to obtain the Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO). As the position comprises a combination of research and teaching, the PhD Fellow is encouraged to disseminate research insights through contributions to the teaching programs and development of educational materials.
  • 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.
  • To take part in relevant disciplinary and/or research methods courses, based on an individual training and supervision plan (approximately 10% of the appointment).


Leiden University


Selection criteria
  • A (research) master’s degree in social sciences with excellent study results, including public administration and/or public management, general or business management, organizational or social psychology, sociology, or political science. Students who will obtain their master’s degree before the start date of 1 February 2024 are encouraged to apply;
  • An affinity with and ambition to develop scientific research on bureaucratic systems, citizen-state interactions, public encounter and/or administrative burden in the context of public service delivery.
  • An interest to contribute to the education programs of the Institute of Public Administration, and a motivation to further develop your teaching competences;
  • 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;
  • The capacity to work both independently as well as collaboratively in research and teaching teams;
  • 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 6 years. After 1,5 years an evaluation will take place regarding the progress of the research (PhD thesis), the teaching capacity, personal capabilities and compatibility. Salary range starts from 3,226 euro in the first year up to gross per month up to 4.036 euro gross per month (pay scale 10 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.


Universiteit Leiden

The Faculty and Institute
Science for and about society is the domain of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA). FGGA is one of the seven faculties of Leiden University and is based in The Hague. It provides high-quality interdisciplinary education and research on social and governance issues such as terrorism, organization and functioning of public administration, climate change and economic crises. Because social issues are not bound by the boundaries of scientific disciplines, these themes are approached from various public administration, political science, economic, legal, and sociological perspectives. The faculty is a young, enterprising, and innovative organization that is growing rapidly. It has three scientific institutes, several centers, 3,500 students and 330 staff members.

The Institute of Public Administration, which is part of FGGA, is one of the largest and oldest institutes of academic research and teaching in the field of public administration in the Netherlands. The institute combines a solid international academic reputation with a central positioning among the international, national, regional, and local governance institutions of The Hague. The institute has an international profile and gets high peer reviewed ratings, both for its research and education. It offers a Dutch Bachelor of Public Administration, a Dutch Master Management of the Public Sector and the English Master programs Public Administration and Governance of Sustainability. Based on the strong academic disciplinary approach, the institute collaborates with other institutes and faculties of Leiden University on interdisciplinary research and education programs. It employs around 90 people and provides education to 1,200 students.

The successful candidate will be a member of the research group on Public Management and Leadership.


  • PhD; Lecturer
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14089



Turfmarkt 99, 2511DP, Den Haag

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