Organisational Dynamics in the Digital Society

Study programme

Rapid advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and algorithms, change the organisation of work. This raises questions on the individual, organisational, and societal level. For example:

  • How does AI reshape collaboration and communication among employees?
  • Are hierarchical relationships at work restructured by robotisation?
  • Does platformisation influence our understanding of self-employed workers?

The programme provides you with multiple perspectives and tools to study digital technologies in the changing world of work (building on insights from Psychology, Sociology, and Public Administration).

 

Curriculum

This master programme offers both a theoretical and real world understanding of the changing organisation of work. We will provide many opportunities to apply classroom concepts to the real world, for example by going on fieldtrips to organisations, formulating policy advice, and developing coaching and consultancy skills.

The specialisation seminars will be taught by at least two professors, coming from different fields (e.g., a sociologist and a psychologist) to shed light on phenomena using different academic lenses, illustrating how this will yield different insights, all necessary to get a comprehensive understanding of organisational dynamics in the digital society. The classes will be taught in small groups with lots of room for discussion.

For your thesis you will have the opportunity to join a thesis group that will be supervised by two professors from different fields, again, to secure the multidisciplinary focus of this master and to provide you with a broad perspective. If you prefer to complete your thesis without a group, you will also be provided with two supervisors from different academic backgrounds.

The curriculum is subject to change. No rights can be derived from this information (including the information via the hyperlinks).

Prof. dr. Laura den Dulk; prof. dr. Arnold Bakker; prof. dr. Claartje ter Hoeven; dr. Wido Oerlemans; prof. dr. Ferry Koster; dr. Marjan Gorgievski; prof. dr. Bram Steijn.
Organisers of the programme

Mode of education

The programme consists of 60 EC. It is comprised of one introductory course, two specialisation seminars, one elective and a thesis. Next to studying social scientific approaches from different fields (Psychology, Sociology, and Public Administration), you will be able to participate in field trips and seminars.

Electives

The programme features some electives in block 2, but electives can also be selected from courses offered in other master specializations in Psychology, Sociology, and Public Administration.

  • Block 1

    • Course given by prof. dr. C.L. ter Hoeven

      Rapid advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and algorithms, change the organisation of work. For example, algorithms can reorganise work practices and work design, robotization can change relationships and knowledge sharing among employees, and platformisation can influence our perceptions of organising and organisations. This raises questions on the individual, organisational, and societal level. In this course we will focus on these different levels of analysis, and develop analytical skills and insights to understand the implications of taking one of these perspectives.

      In class, we will first evaluate relevant theories to study work, organisations, and technology (e.g., technological framing and sociomateriality). Second, we will discuss scholarly work specifically dealing with technologies which have been at the forefront of the popular and academic imagination, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and algorithms. Finally, we will discuss how taking one perspective (e.g., psychological, sociological and/or public administration) will shed light on particular issues and consequences, while possibly disregarding others. In doing so, we will move from subjects such as work design and automation (e.g., Parker & Grote, 2020) to power relationships (e.g., Kellogg, Valentine, & Christin, 2020) and algorithmic control in the context of the ‘gig economy’ (e.g., Wood, Graham, Lehdonvirta, & Hjorth, 2019).

      Students are encouraged to engage with the literature provided and also exchange their perspectives on the literature bringing in their BA backgrounds and possible previous work experiences. Finally, through a multi-disciplinary group assignment students will be invited to apply what they learned in practice, while an individual paper will provide room to develop personal ideas and critically reflect on a topic of choice.  

      7.5 ECTS

    • 7.5 ECTS

    Block 2

    • Course given by dr. F. Grommé and prof. dr. F. Koster

      Digital technologies, such as data analytics, sensors and algorithms, shape organisations and organisational processes – but how digital technologies are applied also is an outcome of organisational politics, cultures and identities. This course focusses on developing the analytical skills needed to understand the role of digitalisation in changing organisations, labour relations and professional practices - ànd vice versa. These analytical skills are relevant to take an informed standpoint on current policy issues such as how to manage the disruptive effects of platforms on the labour market, or how to make sure that automation does not introduce discriminatory algorithms in the provision of public services.

      Each week we will review a contemporary debate regarding organisational change. Examples of these debates are the relations between digitalisation and the privatisation of public infrastructures, or the possibilities of digitalisation for civil society organisations and collective action. We will focus on key questions regarding the relations between digitalisation and organisational dynamics in three empirical domains: the economic domain; the public sector and civil society organisations; and research and higher education.

      Students are invited to compare and contrast relevant theories and empirical insights from organisational sociology, public administration, digital sociology and science and technology studies. We end the course by applying our insights to the question of how to imagine and accomplish alternative organisational forms, for instance, cooperative platforms and citizen co-production.

      Course information may be subject to change.

      7.5 ECTS

    • See below

    Block 3

    • Course given by prof. dr. L. den Dulk and dr. P. Petrou

      New technologies, artificial intelligence, platform workers, digitalization, flexibilization: The digital age has seen unprecedented changes and has led to a virtually new world of work. Such revolutionary changes, though, do not signify changes only for organizations, employers and the market. They also signify a new workplace for individual workers. For instance, the flexibilization of work and the implementation of new technologies seem to fundamentally change people’s working conditions and their quality of working life. Self-employed micro entrepreneurs rely on smartphone APPs with smart algorithms to receive work tasks and income. Similarly, employees increasingly work in virtual teams and use remote networking technology to connect and interact with others.

      In the current course, building and extending on prior knowledge about the macro-level, we will particularly focus on the micro-level of organizational behaviour in the digital age. In other words, we will examine how individual work behaviours manifest within and are influenced by the context of the digital age.

      What consequences does the new way of working of the digital age has for work behaviours, motivation, well-being and performance? How can workers regulate their behaviours so as to deal with this context successfully? And, to go one step further, how can workers make the best of this new context and maximize their performance and their personal wellbeing? 

      Students are invited to use frameworks and theories from organizational psychology, management studies and sociology in order to understand, analyse and critically evaluate the implications of the digital age for individual work behaviours. The course will consist of lectures, working groups and seminars with international experts. Furthermore, through the practical group assignment of this course, students will be invited to apply what they have learnt in practice, either by diagnosing a real-life problem (e.g., via data collection) or by proposing an intervention that workers/organizations may apply in practice. 

      7.5 ECTS

    • Thesis coordinator: dr. M. Gorgievski-Duijvesteijn

      22.5 ECTS

    Block 4

    • Thesis coordinator: dr. M. Gorgievski-Duijvesteijn

      22.5 ECTS

  • Programme electives