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  3. PhD candidate Leadership in an Age of Inequality

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PhD candidate Leadership in an Age of Inequality

The Amsterdam Business School has a vacancy for a PhD candidate: Leadership in an Age of Inequality. This PhD project will explore the effects of income …

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Roetersstraat, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


The Amsterdam Business School has a vacancy for a PhD candidate: Leadership in an Age of Inequality.

This PhD project will explore the effects of income inequality on leadership emergence and selection. Despite increasing levels of inequality, there is little work on the effects of income inequality in the workplace, with the majority of work focusing on how salary disparities might drive the performance and motivation of employees. The current project aims to assess the impact of inequality on the strategies that individuals use to attain leadership positions, the moral compunction of leaders, and the consequences of these for employees and organisations.

We define immoral leadership as leadership behaviors that prioritise self-interest over the interests of followers. Immoral leadership is a problem of enormous scope. Group leaders who pretend to be interested in the welfare of their group, but are primarily motivated to enrich themselves, cause unnecessary conflict, and are a drain on organisations and society at large. However, when and why leaders show more or less moral behavior remains insufficiently clear. The proposed research will provide a framework for understanding the origins of this problem of immoral leadership, and will also pursue methods for addressing it.

In short, the goals of the proposed research are to investigate the:

  • circumstances under which inequality does and does not lead to immoral leadership;
  • sychological processes that enable unqualified aspirants to attain leadership positions;
  • individual differences that push people toward moral or immoral leadership styles, and how they interact with inequality of outcome;
  • leadership selection strategies that minimise the likelihood that unqualified aspirants will attain leadership positions.

Data will be gathered from both the lab and the field. Laboratory experiments will provide the opportunity to test for the hypothesized main effects and mediating mechanisms within an environment that provides tight control over the examined variables. Field data will allow us to explore the hypothesized effects within more ecologically valid contexts.


The ideal candidate holds a (Research) Master’s degree in a relevant field with a quantitative focus (e.g., experimental psychology/economics). We seek a highly motivated student with a track record of excellent grades in their core discipline, applied statistics, psychometrics, and a strong interest in leadership and organisational behavior.


The appointment will be for a period of 4 years, with an intermediate evaluation after 18 months. End-result should be a PhD thesis. An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) conferences. The PhD candidate is also expected to assist in teaching at undergraduate level. The gross monthly salary will range from €2,325 in the first year to €2,972 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

We offer the possibility to join a young, vibrant and very collegial group, and help shape a growing business school at an internationally recognized university that has the ambition to become a leading international player in the field of business research and education.

For more information about the research policy at the Amsterdam Business School please check our site.

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