Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Understanding the sociology and psychology of human actions

Research program

"Human Resource Management and Performance:
In search of balance"

The research program of the Department of HR Studies has its starting point in the area of the employment relationship. The employment relationship can primarily be considered as an exchange relationship, in which the elements for exchange, like labour, reward, voice, development, etc are subject to the psychological context, the transactional/business context and the legal/societal context.
The main sources of inspiration and theorizing can be found in the related disciplines of Human Resource Management, Work and Organizational Psychology/Organizational behavior, Industrial Relations, Educational Studies, Business Economics/Administration, Organizational studies/Strategic Management, Sociology and Law.
The employment relationship is a concept which brings to the fore:

  • At individual level: exchange between employer and employee - psychological contract, employment contract, legal contract.
  • At organisational level : the different HR practices (attracting, recruiting, rewarding, training, developing, appraising) and overarching topics (diversity, flexibility, work systems, HR metrics, human capital valuation, individual learning, team learning, organisational learning, leadership, power/authority, participation/co-determination, climate, culture, conflict, organisational change) and their subsequent effects on performance.
  • At societal level : industrial relations, employee relationships, social welfare, (un)employment, future of work.

Especially important is the fact that it focuses on the exchange, power and authority relationships between employer and employee at different levels of analysis (societal, organizational, team and individual level) and that it allows analysis both from the perspective of the employer/manager/owner as well as the perspective of employee/ individual. In our program we deliberately include the dual perspectives (organizational - individual) in order to study and analyze effects both from a business as well as more psychological perspective. This leads us to:

  • A balanced approach, taking into account both the organizational and managerial perspective as well as the societal and individual perspective;
  • Focus on performance as a multi-facetted concept encompassing both hard/financial/quantitative performance indicators as well as the more soft humanistic performance indicators such as well-being, fairness, legitimacy and development;
  • Carrying out research which is both multi-level as well as multi-actor oriented;
  • Strong international focus, with a strong institutional linkage with prestigious research centers;
  • Strong and rigorous in research methods, which fits the profile of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Program leader: Prof. dr. Marc van Veldhoven