Organizations & Processes of Organizing in Society (OPOS)
Organization & Processes of Organizing in Society (OPOS) is the research program of the Department of Organization Sciences (ORG) within the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA). Organizations are key to our understanding of societal dynamics, just as insights into society are crucial for our understanding of processes of organizing.
The objective of OPOS is to advance understanding of processes of organizing in a society of organizations. Studying organization in a societal context involves the adoption of a multi-disciplinary, multi-methodological perspective that brings together close-up, micro-level examinations and broader, contextual, macro-level analyses. See an overview of videos related to research conducted by OPOS, see the Organization Sciences Showcase.
OPOS creates an open research environment and contributes to research fields that are not fully covered yet and which require research on organizational interdependence and (in)stability.
Cooperation and Conflict between Individuals and within Teams
The research in the Organizational Behavior (OB) cluster focusses on cooperation and conflict and aims to contribute to the literature on organizational behavior at the micro and meso level, particularly related to conflict management, motivation of employees, well-being and performance. Theoretical foundations for the clusters’ research are social identity theory, interdependence theory, dual concern theory, and motivated information processing in groups theory. Methodologically, OB-researchers focus primarily on quantitative methods (survey and experimental studies), combined with qualitative studies that deepen specific insights. See the website of Force of Gossip for information about one of the research projects of this cluster. This cluster is headed by prof. dr. Beersma.
Political, cultural and emotional dynamics of organizational actors
The research in the Organizational Ethnography (OE) cluster focusses on the political, cultural and emotional dynamics of organizational actors’ sense- and meaning-making and narrative processes. In addition, the cluster focusses on organizational identity, legitimacy, transnational entrepreneurship and collaboration across cultural divides. It addresses how, in an interconnected, interdependent society, individuals work across boundaries to establish new business ventures and organizational forms, to deal with issues of diversity on both societal, organizational and individual levels. Methodologically, the cluster combines a variety of interpretive methods, including narrative analyses. With ethnographic sensibilities, it describes organizational life ‘from within’ and ‘from below’. This cluster is headed by prof. dr. Drori.
Organizational dynamics and inter-organizational processes
The research in the Organization Theory (OT) cluster focusses on organizational dynamics and inter-organizational processes at the meso- and macro-level. The cluster investigates the structural properties of organizations in order to understand their dynamics and outcomes. Theoretical foundations for this group are institutional theory, theories on coordination and (temporal) collaboration, and social network theory. Methodologically, the cluster employs a variety of methods such as in-depth case studies, social network analysis to understand the dynamics and outcomes of the structural properties and process dynamics of social, cultural, semantic or issue-based networks. This cluster is headed by dr. Kyratsis.
Cultural dynamics and organizational change
The research in Organizational Change and Resilience (OCR) cluster is related to the area of cultural dynamics and organizational change, and conducts research on processes of creating, maintaining, and disrupting organizational policies and practices. In this research domain the research cluster investigate change in complex, mixed public-private settings, such as megaprojects, as well as in administrative change processes in various settings including crisis management and higher education. Resilience in this cluster refers both to organizational stability (i.e. inertia) and organizational change. Methodologically, the cluster adopts a variety of approaches to unravel adaptive capacity of organizations and their capabilities for change. This cluster is headed by dr. ir. Boersma.
Some current research projects are:
- A Contingency Theory of Organizational Response to Paradoxical Requirements: A Study of Emergency Response Organizations
This programme studies how emergency response organizations in the Netherlands and the United States cope with the demands they must address while responding to crises.
- Contesting Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility is an empirical domain to investigate how various parties seek to contest and affirm the legitimacy corporate behavior, in particular in relation to the social and environmental consequences of organizing.
- Cultural Change in Infrastructural Sector
The programma gains insight into the manner in which collaborative cultures develop, into the dilemmas which develop as a result and into the manner in which public values can be enduringly safeguarded.
PhD students make an important contribution to the research in the Department of Organization Science. In recent years, some of our PhD graduates have been successful at publishing in major scientific journals. In the future we will be looking to offer talented and enthusiastic aspiring PhD candidates the opportunity to join our research team.
Students interested in applying for our PhD programme should contact the management team to find out what opportunities currently exist for research proposals and grants. PhD students usually complete their doctoral dissertation within four years at the Department. However, sometimes it is also possible for candidates to combine their PhD with teaching responsibilities, completing the dissertation in up to five years.