PhD Position “AssetDrive: The role of management innovation in implementing performance contracting in the shipbuilding industry”, Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

About the PhD Position (Job Description)
In a traditional, conservative industry such as shipbuilding, innovation in terms of new processes, products and services can be a highly challenging endeavor. This NWO-financed PhD project focuses on ...

12 dagen geleden


Landelijk / geen vaste standplaats
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur


About the PhD Position (Job Description)

In a traditional, conservative industry such as shipbuilding, innovation in terms of new processes, products and services can be a highly challenging endeavor. This NWO-financed PhD project focuses on the development and introduction of performance con­tracting as a standard part of ship design in the maritime industry, which is considered a clear departure from traditional design practices. This radical service innovation requires the involvement and collaboration of various actors in the maritime chain, including ship builders, ship operators and maintenance firms. The existing body of academic literature has produced strong evidence that the overall success of such innovations (or innovation performance) is largely dependent on (inter)organizational investments in so-called non-technological innovation in general, and ‘management innovation’ (or social innovation) in particular. This includes, for instance, new ways of managing (e.g. more dynamic management styles), new ways of organizing (e.g. a more flexible organization) and new ways of co-creating value with external stakeholders (firms and other types of organizations). In this connection, the PhD project addresses the following research question: How does management/non-technological innovation play a role in successfully introducing performance contracting as a standard part of ship design in the maritime industry?


Admission Requirements

A PhD candidate for this project should have a completed Master’s degree in business administration (preferably), economics, or another field that provides sufficient background in the overall focus area of the PhD project. Furthermore, curiosity and an interest to work in an interdisciplinary environment are regarded as assets. The candidate needs to be ambitious, aspires to build a career in management research, has excellent academic writing skills, is able to work independently and to analyse complex problems, and is highly proficient in English. He/she is expected to write a dissertation that consists of multiple academic papers that are published – or have been accepted for publication – in high-quality international management journals, and to finish the dissertation within 4 years. Furthermore, the candidate is expected to have:

  • Excellent results in his/her first degree/graduate study.

  • Explicit interest in and motivation for scientific research.

  • A GMAT test (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) is required for all entering students. The test results should not be older than five years and an indication of the required score is 85%. In addition, a language test is required. This can either be a TOEFL (at least 100 points) or an IELTS (minimum 7.5).

In addition to these requirements, the candidate is selected on the basis of his or her CV, motivation letter and interview(s) with the supervisors. The supervisors of this PhD project are prof.dr. Henk W. Volberda (promotor) from the Department of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, and dr. Rick M.A. Hollen (second supervisor


Conditions of employment

Accepted candidates would participate in the ERIM PhD Programme. The PhD position is a fully funded and salaried position, meaning that the appointed PhD candidate will be an employee (promovendus) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU). Successful candidates are appointed on a full-time basis for a total of 4 years.

Working at the Erasmus University Rotterdam means working in a professional environment, where development is encouraged through an active career and mobility policy. The Erasmus University Rotterdam highly appreciates flexibility and offers a 38-hour workweek, flexible working hours, maternal/paternal leave, holiday allowance, end year bonus etc. Moreover, the University has a company childcare scheme, possibilities to participate in a terms of employment option model, company savings program and life insurance schemes and favourable collective insurance schemes. Employees can also make use of facilities such as sports facilities and library. For more information about the employment conditions please click here.

Furthermore, PhD candidates also benefit from the state-of-the- art research facilities and financial support programme (ERIM Support Programmes), which ERIM set up for a wide range of research-related activities like conference participation and visit, international job market visit, external courses, scientific and educational literature, working visit to international supervisor, international research study/visit, etc.

Additional information

In order to examine this question, different levels of analysis need to be taken into account. First, non-technological innovation at the level of the individual firm, e.g. the shipyard. For instance, shipbuilders possibly need to develop new ways of organizing and managing in order to enable a business model that is primar­ily demand-driven and mainly relationally focused (with regard to their clients, i.e. ship operators), rather than supply-driven and mainly transactionally focused, with particular attention for performance contracting and minimizing total user costs. These user costs include not only the initial design and ship construction costs but also, for instance, maintenance costs during a ship’s life cycle. Such a new business model will require new ways of collaborating with their clients. For example, ship operators will need to share information and knowledge regarding the behaviour of their ships/fleet. This illustrates that performance contracting requires a chain-level endeavor. Hence, on a higher level of analysis, it needs to be examined how shipbuilders, maintenance companies and ship operators can collaborate in such a way as to enable the new type of business model underlying the proposed service innovation, thereby reducing the total costs in the maritime chain. How to orchestrate and organize these joint endeavours? How to involve all the relevant parties in the maritime industry in sustainable shipping? The PhD Candidate will investigate socio-managerial patterns in the maritime chain related to (the absence of) performance contracting and related processes and activities, and study incentives for performance contracting and other sustainable solutions.

Given the exploratory nature of this research, case studies will constitute an important part of the research methodology. These case studies will be partly conducted within the maritime industry. For instance, interviews need to be conducted with managers of shipbuilding companies, ship operators and maintenance firms. In addition, comparative case studies will be conducted on comparable service innova­tions in industries like road and aircraft construction and chemicals. Also within these industries multiple interviews might need to be conducted, focusing on how service innovations and related business model renewal of the firms involved have been initiated and implemented in these sectors, from which lessons can be drawn for the maritime/ship building sector.

The PhD candidate will be part of a larger interdisciplinary team of researchers from Delft University of Technology and Leiden University, who will focus on the more technical side of the development of performance contracting as a standard part of ship design in the maritime industry (with a particular focus on ship design improvement by means of big data analytics). The consortium partners from the private and public sector are Croonwolter & Dros Rotterdam, Damen Shipyards, IHC Holland and the Dutch Ministry of Defense. The PhD Candidate will become enrolled in the doctoral (PhD) programme in Business and Management of the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM).

Organisation / Department

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 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. ERIM is accredited by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). For more information about ERIM please visit

How to apply

All applicants are required to follow our online application process. The application deadline is 1 September 2017.

Additional information can be obtained from:

ERIM Doctoral Office

Tel: +31 (0) 10 408 2382

Email: (or contact dr. Rick M.A. Hollen:

RSM is an equal opportunity employer and explicitly encourages applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities, and nationalities.


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