Doctoral Grant (BOF), Organization- and Management Sciences

Updated: 5 months ago

The Faculty of Business and Economics is seeking to fill a full-time (100%) vacancy in the Department of Management for a

Doctoral Grant by the University Research Fund (BOF) in the area of Organization- and Management Sciences

Project title: Are structural changes paradoxically undermining organizational adaptability? A study to the impact of continuous structural changes on decision-making within organizations.

Organizations need to continuously adapt in response to evolving circumstances and demands. One way to make organizations more responsive to their external environment is to drastically alter the organizational structure (e.g. mergers, acquisitions, splitting’s, changes of task,…), and thus the way an organization functions. However, major structural changes in organizations may also generate negative side-effects, in particular when occurring too frequently. In this project, the researcher will investigate whether structural change may unintentionally be harmful when rates of change become too high. In particular, the researcher will examine whether high rates of structural change can impede sound decision-making through the turmoil, uncertainty and stress generated within the organization. If confirmed, this could paradoxically mean that the adaptability of organizations is negatively affected by its own efforts to repeatedly restructure.

The pace at which such structural changes are introduced has increased significantly over the last decade, leaving less or no recuperation time for organizations and their employees. Corporate governance practices and systems can facilitate the successful implementation of these changes, for instance, by supporting and creating openness in decision-making processes. However, each single structural change inherently threatens the transparency of and participation in decision-making processes. Structural changes are likely to introduce a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety, putting strain on organizations and their employees (see Seo and Hill, 2005). This can lead employees to stick to established work procedures and to avoid new information that does not fit well with their established mode of thinking—thus directly affecting decision-making processes. Moreover, managers in various echelons of the organization will have a tendency to centralize decision-making in order to mitigate the perceived ‘crisis’ as swiftly as possible. These symptoms are expected to be reduced when organizations and employees are given sufficient time to recover from a structural change. However, the few studies on change sequences (for example, Rafferty and Griffin, 2006) have argued that intense structural change sequences will impede such a gradual recovery. This will, in turn, paralyze the working of an entire organization, threatening organizational adaptability (for example, McMurray, 2010). Nevertheless, to date, little is known about how decision-making processes evolve in the light of these continuous structural changes and how this impacts the adaptability of an organization. This research aims to understand the effect of intense structural change sequences on organizational adaptability through their impact on decision-making processes.

Job description

  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of Organization- and Management Sciences.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
  • You contribute to teaching and research in the Department of Management.

Profile and requirements

  • You hold a master degree in a relevant field (holders of diploma’s in public management, (organizational- or industrial) psychology, organizational sociology, organizational science or management science are particularly encouraged to apply).
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy .
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • You are capable of transcending the boundaries of qualitative and quantitative research; training and/or experience in quantitative methods is an asset.
  • You communicate well, possess presentation skills, at least speak fluent Dutch and English and possess excellent academic writing skills in Dutch and English.

We offer

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation;
  • the start date of the scholarship will be on October 1st 2020 at the latest;
  • a gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.447,20 to € 2.596,27;
  • a dynamic and stimulating work environment. (Department of Management and close cooperation with the Politics & Public Governance research group);
  • freedom within the limits of the initial proposal to give substance to the research in terms of content and methodology;
  • more information about staff, publications, projects and networks at: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/research-groups/ppg/ & https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/research-groups/management/ .

How to apply?

  • Applications may only be submitted online , until the closing date 15 March 2020.
  • A pre-selection is made on the basis of the submitted applications; the further selection procedure is function-oriented and is determined by the selection committee.
  • The interviews of candidates pre-selected by a selection committee will take place at the end of March 2020.
  • More information about the online application form can be obtained from vacatures@uantwerpen.be .
  • For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. dr. Jan Wynen, tel. 0032499199675 or by email jan.wynen@uantwerpen.be .

You must include the following documents with your online application:

  • your CV;
  • a brief research proposal in which you indicate how you would approach the research (approx. 2 pages, do not be afraid to give your own interpretation to the proposal, pay particular attention to the problem, research questions, theory and methodology);
  • a motivation letter in which you extensively state why you are the perfect candidate to conduct research on this theme, what your knowledge of the theme is and how you meet the profile requirements of this vacancy;
  • copies of the diplomas and list of credits for your Bachelor and Masters;
  • a recent, preferably English-language paper by you (e.g. Master's thesis) as an example for your analytical and academic writing talent;
  • a list with at least two referees who can be contacted by us. One or more letters of recommendation is recommendable.
  • You also send these documents to jan.wynen@uantwerpen.be , bjorn.kleizen@uantwerpen.be and danika.pieters@uantwerpen.be on the same date.

The University of Antwerp is a family friendly organization, with a focus on equal opportunities and diversity. Our HR-policy for researchers was awarded by the European Commission with the quality label HR Excellence in research .

We support the Science4Refugees initiative and encourage asylum-seeking, refugee scientists and researchers to apply for a job at the University of Antwerp.


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