Gabriela and Carolina investigate the quality of life among the Dutch working population

Digital technology plays an increasingly important role in our work. How does this affect how we work, organise and manage? In short, that is what the master Organisational Dynamics in the Digital Society (ODDS) is about. Gabriela Veleva (27) and Carolina van Winkel (23) have almost completed this master. They talk about a special panel study about 'working life in the Netherlands', to which they have been contributing during their master.

Gabriela is from Bulgaria where she studied Psychology before coming to the Netherlands to do her master's degree. Carolina is half Italian, half Dutch. She obtained her propaedeutic certificate at the University of the Arts London (UAL) before coming to Rotterdam for the International Bachelor Communication and Media (IBCoM). That illustrates the international nature of ODDS, something both students particularly appreciate. Gabriela: “When you come from different backgrounds, you can learn a lot from each other. Thanks to the diversity in this master, I have learned to conduct research focusing on different angles.”

Gabriela Veleva

Interdisciplinary master

This diversity is also due to the range of disciplines that are covered: Public Administration, Psychology and Sociology. Carolina: “At the start of this master, I remember having serious discussions with one of the Psychology students. That is enriching, it helps you think in a different way. And we worked things out!" Gabriela agrees: “It has broadened my horizon. You gain new insights and you learn to engage in a dialogue with others.  And that is very important in the research process.”

Quality of working life

The two students are involved in the same panel study. The study focuses on the question: 'what is the impact of new technologies and flexibilisation on the quality of life among working Dutch people?' Because digitalization of work seems to lead to radical changes in how organisations organise themselves. There are more and more freelancers and temporary jobs in the Netherlands. Knowledge about the impact of this new way of working is urgently needed to ensure decent working conditions within these changes.

Test phase

Gabriela and Carolina helped set up the study. The test phase has now been completed, with satisfactory results. Gabriela: “After the initial data analysis, the refined questionnaire will be administered to a new sample. The great thing is that we will soon have a large amount of data. Data that enables us to make connections and compare. The variety in the group means we can compare the answers of self-employed people with those from employees with a permanent contract, for example. We can compare the answers of working women with those of working men. And we can compare different types of work and see whether that affects levels of work-related stress.” Carolina: “This research provides useful information that employers can really use in their policy.”

Future plans

Both students are still considering what they will do after their studies. Gabriela: “I want to do work that is closely related to psychology. I enjoy research. Maybe I'll become a consultant in an international context, I'm open to anything!” Carolina also likes an international working environment. “I find change management very interesting. I would like to help people deal with new digital developments.”

More information

Within the interdisciplinary master programme Organisational Dynamics in the Digital Society (ODDS), we study the impact of technology on our way of working and organising. For example, we look at how algorithms help shape work, how the use of robots can affect interpersonal relationships and how the increasing use of platforms changes the organisation of work.

Organisational psychologists, (digital) sociologists, public administration and communication scholars all collaborate in the ODDS master programme. Students will be supervised by two supervisors from different disciplines. In this way, we guarantee the interdisciplinary character of the study. Students can graduate on their own subject (for example in collaboration with an organisation) or on various themes suggested by the supervisors. These themes often closely align with the supervisor's research project. This way, students experience working with top researchers and even contribute to top research. Last year, students graduated on a range of themes including the legal case against Uber, the working conditions of online platform workers and the use of artificial intelligence in personnel recruitment.


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