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We are looking for two postdoctoral researchers who will do research within the ERC Consolidator Grant Project "The unknown force: How gossip shapes the …

4 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 3637 - € 4978 per maand


We are looking for two postdoctoral researchers who will do research within the ERC Consolidator Grant Project "The unknown force: How gossip shapes the functioning and performance of organizational groups" (FORCE-OF-GOSSIP). Gossip, informal evaluative talk about absent third parties, is omnipresent in organizational groups. However, for scientists and practitioners alike, it is still an "unknown force" in organizations, because research findings about its effects on group functioning and performance are inconsistent. Whereas some studies point to the disruptive aspects of gossip, others claim it enhances group cooperation. The overarching goal of the project is to develop and test theory on when and why gossip has negative or positive effects on the functioning and performance of organizational groups.
The project consist of four subprojects. Two lab-based PhD projects, which started in September 2018 and March 2019, respectively, experimentally test hypotheses about motives for gossip, recipient reactions, and group processes. Postdoc project 1 aims to examine gossip processes by developing a process-oriented computer model with high potential for self-organization. Postdoc project 2 aims to examine gossip in ongoing work teams in organizations, using qualitative methods and longitudinal surveys, does contributing to establishing the external validity of research findings.
As Postdoc 1 will examine gossip processes in a computer-based model self-organization of gossip and its effect on performance of the group, and wellbeing in it, the candidate for this position needs to have experience in building computer models and have a background in complexity science. Postdoc 2 needs to have experience with qualitative and quantitative field research in organizations (i.e. interview studies, concept mapping, longitudinal multilevel studies).

Your duties
Postdoc 1:

  • developing (in several stages) a computer model on the self-organizing effects of gossip
  • analyzing results of computer modeling on gossip and comparing them to empirical data

Postdoc 2:

  • designing qualitative and quantitative field studies
  • contacting and collaborating with participating organizations
  • collecting qualitative and quantitative data
  • analyzing different types of data
  • co-supervising PhD students

Postdoc 1 and 2:

  • writing scientific articles about these findings
  • collaborating with other team members in the project, (FORCE OF GOSSIP)
  • co-organizing project meetings
  • teaching to undergraduate students (mainly thesis supervision related to research topic, maximally 10% of total time)


Postdoc 1:

  • Ph.D. degree in complexity science, specializing in computer models of self-organization
  • interest in social processes in organizations
  • ability to develop an abstract computer model based on empirical data
  • strong ability to translate abstract computer models into everyday language

Postdoc 2:

  • Ph.D. degree in organizational / social psychology
  • experience with independently running qualitative and quantitative field studies in organizations
  • good project management skills

Postdoc 1 and 2:

  • good track record of publishing scientific work
  • good teamwork skills: ability and interest for working in a multi-disciplinary team
  • demonstrable good teaching skills


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 3,637..- and a maximum of € 4,978..- in accordance with salary scale 11, depending on your education and experience. The job profile (Onderzoeker 3) is based on the university job ranking system.
The two postdoc positions each are based on a four-year project with 90% research time. The initial employment contract will affect a period of 12 months. Upon good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining 36-month period.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • considerable employer’s contribution to the ABP pension scheme
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Send us an e-mail with your curriculum vitae, a cover letter and the names of two references, preferably as one PDF file, by 28 February 2019. Please mention vacancy title POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS IN ORGANIZATION SCIENCES.

Name: Elles Bandringa
Position: Department Secretary

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy or if you would like to receive the project proposal for the FORCE OF GOSSIP project, you may contact:

Name: Bianca Beersma
Position: Professor Organization Sciences
E-mail: b.beersma@vu.nl