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.”
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.
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.”
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.”