Multiple team membership and workplace inclusion

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 15 Oct 2023


Many employees in today’s organizations work in multiple teams simultaneously. Despite the increasing prevalence of “multiteaming” in organizations, research on its implications is still in its infancy.

An important omission in extant research is the question how multiteaming affects workplace inclusion - employees’ experience of being able to contribute to the larger collective as a full, valued member. Workplace inclusion is a critical precursor to employees’ well-being and productivity and an important societal goal.

To address this gap, this PhD project will (a) investigate how multiteaming impacts work relationships in teams and, through this, workplace inclusion and associated outcomes, (b) investigate differences in relational outcomes of multiteaming for men and women.

For questions please contact Dr. Julija Mell


Teams, multiple team membership, workplace inclusion, gender, social networks


Because of the increasing complexity of work and the need to employ scarce highly skilled workers efficiently, organizations increasingly adopt structures in which employees simultaneously work in multiple work or project teams. Multiple team membership is particularly common in knowledge-intensive industries which, in the Netherlands, currently encompass 55% of the working population and include sectors as diverse as healthcare, education, manufacturing, construction, research, information technology, engineering, government, and more. Among knowledge workers, between 65 and 95 percent work in multiple teams.

Despite the high – and increasing – prevalence of multiple team membership in today’s organizations, research on its implications is still in its infancy. Prior work has uncovered both opportunities – e.g., exposure to diverse information stimulating learning and knowledge transfer – and challenges– e.g., attention fragmentation and overload leading to stress. However, an important omission in extant research is the question how multiple team membership affects workplace inclusion. Workplace inclusion refers to employees’ experience of being able to contribute to the larger collective as a full and valued member, accepted and treated as an insider by others. It encompasses belongingness, i.e., the experience of having supportive and caring relationships with colleagues, and uniqueness, i.e., the experience that others seek out and value one’s unique contributions and perspectives. Workplace inclusion is underpinned by relational inclusion, that is, employees’ participation in the informal networks of affective (e.g., social support) and task-oriented (e.g., knowledge exchange) work relationships within the organization.

Extant research points to an ambivalent role of multiple team membership for relational inclusion. Participation in multiple teams creates many opportunities for contact but, at the same time, the part time membership of multiteamers may affect the nature and quality of the relationships they form within their teams, especially for women.

Based on this, this PhD project will aim to create a systematic understanding for how multiteaming shapes work relationships within teams and, through this, impacts workplace inclusion and associated outcomes and to investigate how the relational outcomes of multiteaming differ for men and women.


To test the hypotheses developed in this project we will conduct field surveys within organizations as well as laboratory experiments. The PhD project has a quantitative orientation and the PhD candidate will use advanced statistical methods such as multilevel analysis and social network analysis.

Required profile

Required by you

The candidate should have a degree in management (e.g., HRM or OB), psychology, or sociology with a strong focus on behavioural research. Ideally, the candidate has experience with survey research as well as laboratory experimentation, a solid grounding knowledge of theories of organizational behaviour, and strong English writing skills. The ideal candidate furthermore has a strong interest in the topics of team collaboration, workplace inclusion, and workplace relationships.

Required by ERIM

All application documents required by ERIM can be found here:

Below are the test scores required by ERIM:

- GMAT/GRE scores above the 85th percentile, not older than 5 years

- IELTS/TOEFL test scores, not older than 2 years:

  IELTS: minimum overall band score 7.5; no band score lower than 6.5

  Internet-based TOEFL: minimum total score 100, no sub-score lower than 23

  Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score 600

The successful applicant is expected to start January 1st 2024

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until 15 October 2023.

Expected output

The PhD project is funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) as part of a larger research program for up to five years and should be able to yield at least three journal publications. Targeted outlets include Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes. Results will also be presented at international conferences, such as the annual meetings of the Academy of Management.


The research group in which this project will be embedded has a strong international network of collaborators that can be called upon to host research visits of PhD students. Furthermore, the research group regularly hosts renowned faculty as seminar speakers or visitors, providing further opportunity to establish new international collaborations. Recent PhD student research visits, for instance, have included stays at Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Rice University, Stanford University, and University of Toronto. Such a research visit would in principle also be part of this research project, so that ideally part of the project research would be conducted in the course of such a visit.

Societal relevance

Given the wide-spread use of multiteaming in knowledge-intensive industries which make up the bulk of the Dutch and European economy, the effects that multiteaming as a way of organizing has on employees are felt throughout a large part of the workforce. Therefore, creating a better understanding of the potential adverse effects of multiteaming on workplace inclusion and how to alleviate these has the potential to foster workplace inclusion, improve productivity, and reduce stress for millions of employees.

Scientific relevance

The knowledge generated by this research has relevance for scholars interested in teams in contemporary organizations, diversity and inclusion, gender dynamics in teams, and organizational networks.

Literature references & data sources

O’Leary, M. B., Mortensen, M., & Woolley, A. W. (2011). Multiple team membership: A theoretical model of its effects on productivity and learning for individuals and teams. Academy of Management Review, 36(3), 461–478.

Margolis, J. (2020). Multiple Team Membership: An Integrative Review. Small Group Research, 51(1), 48–86.

Shore, L. M., Cleveland, J. N., & Sanchez, D. (2018). Inclusive workplaces: A review and model. Human Resource Management Review, 28(2), 176–189.

Grosser, T. J., Sterling, C. M., Piplani, R. S., Cullen‐Lester, K. L., & Floyd, T. M. (2023). A social network perspective on workplace inclusion: The role of network closure, network centrality, and need for affiliation. Human Resource Management, 62(4), 477–490.

van de Brake, H. J., Walter, F., Rink, F. A., Essens, P. J. M. D., & van der Vegt, G. S. (2020). Multiple team membership and job performance: The role of employees’ information-sharing networks. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 93(4), 967–987.

Heilman, M. E. (2012). Gender stereotypes and workplace bias. Research in Organizational Behavior, 32, 113–135.

Employment conditions

ERIM offers fully-funded and salaried PhD positions, which means that accepted PhD candidates become employees (promovendi) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO) .

Erasmus University Rotterdam aspires to be an equitable and inclusive community. We nurture an open culture, where everyone is supported to fulfil their full potential. We see inclusivity of talent as the basis of our successes, and the diversity of perspectives and people as a highly valued outcome. EUR provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, functional impairment, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Contact Information

For questions regarding the PhD application and selection procedure, please check the Admissions or send us an e-mail via .

Erasmus Research Institute of Management

ERIM is the research institute of management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, founded by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), both of which excel in their research and teaching programmes. The level and international character of their research and teaching programmes has put both schools at the forefront of academic excellence. They offer a diversified portfolio of accredited teaching and research programmes, ranging from pre-experience MSc to postgraduate Masters and executive development, and from fundamental research to applied research and business support, which are renowned throughout the world. RSM is one of the few schools worldwide that holds a triple accreditation from the AMBAs, EQUIS and the AASCB, and is positioned among the top European business schools. The scientific staff of both schools plays a major role in the schools’ interaction with the international business community.

ERIM distinguishes itself by the high-level and international character of its research and has repeatedly been ranked among top 3 research institutes in Europe. ERIM’s key aims are top-quality academic research with impact both on academia and managerial practice, and the advancement of international academic careers and high-level support for both research and doctoral education. For more information about ERIM please visit [link:].

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