Tilburg University department Social Psychology

Projects and Grants

Intercultural awareness training for TiU non-academic staff

Funding Body: Tilburg University

Summary - Project Team


Internationalization is one of the core objectives of Tilburg University (cf. TiU Strategy 2018-2021). The university strives to attract more students and staff from abroad, to create an international campus with international classrooms, to increase student and staff mobility, to strengthen international collaboration, and to increase international research funding. To achieve these objectives, Tilburg University needs to create a “global mindset” throughout all layers of the organization, not only among teaching and research staff, but also among the non-academic staff.

For that purpose, Tilburg University is conducting an evidence-based non-academic staff training, implemented by the Intercultural Communication Section of the University of Groningen. This project also consist of two studies, a qualitative (Study 1) and a quantitative study (Study 2). The qualitative study assesses the experienced challenges and learning needs among TiU non-academic staff. Insights gained from this study will be used to inform the quantitative study that aims to assess the effects of an intercultural competence training intervention, tailored to the needs of the Tilburg University non-academic staff.

Project Team

  • Guido van Leerzem (Project Owner, Senior Policy Advisor Internationalization, Academic Services)
  • Rachel Lindsay (Project Lead, International Office)
  • Michael Bender (Scientific Lead)
  • Byron Adams (Scientific Team)
  • Michaela Carriere (Section Head RUG, Trainer Intercultural Competence)
  • Hans-Georg van Liempd (Advisor, Managing Director TSB)
  • Lisanne Tan (Project Assistant, International Office)
  • Pleunie Beijers (student assistant)
  • Nienke Drupsteen (student assistant)
  • Annelot Vincken (student assistant)

ECILP - European Certificate for Intercultural Learning Professionals

Lead Organization: SIETAR Deutschland e.V.

Contact at Tilburg University: Michael Bender

Funding Body: This consortium project received funding via Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Summary - Project Team

Organizations have become increasingly aware that multicultural societies and a globalized business world need interculturally competent individuals - a key competence of the 21st century. The ability to effectively and appropriately deal with intercultural interactions is routinely addressed in education and training in sectors including industry, universities, government, the health sector, and migration/refugee support centres.

More and more individuals and organizations including VET in Europe offer IC training. Yet despite these trends towards IC training/education, there are no generally accepted, evidence-based standards allowing clients, learners and service providers to tell the difference of an effective from an ineffective IC learning intervention.

The project’s core aim is to develop and establish a framework of binding professional standards, regulations for the accreditation process and a self-assessment tool for IC providers. Such a framework will offer transparent, evidence-based, comprehensible and reliable guidelines for decision-making to clients, learners, IC service providers and institutions offering intercultural training qualifications.

Project Team

  • SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research) Germany
  • Tilburg University (Michael Bender)
  • assist Gesellschaft für Unternehmensberatung und Personalentwicklung mbH (assist International HR), Germany
  • I.B.I. Intercultural Business Improvement b.v., the Netherlands
  • CWEP – Centrum Wspierania Edukacji i Przedsiębiorczości (Centre for Education and Entrepreneurship Support), Poland
  • LABC, Italy

Training 21st Century Skills by Harnessing Horizontal and Vertical Asymmetries in Expertise and Diversity across the Curriculum

Principal Investigator: Michael Bender

Funding Body: This project received funding in form of a NRO NWO Comenius Teaching Fellowship in 2020 (theme: Bildung/personal development) under grant # 405.20865.313.

Summary - Project Team

There are two problems we set out to address with one integrated solution. First, Master students have limited opportunities to apply the expertise they develop, and when it happens it usually occurs within their own group. They are rarely challenged to instruct, moderate, and coach others. Second, local and international Bachelor students hardly interact with one another. Even more than Master students, bachelor students have few practical exercises. There clearly is untapped potential for meaningful intercultural contact to develop intercultural skills and attitudes.

We carry out a structural combination of vertical (master/bachelor) and horizontal (bachelor/bachelor) interaction between local (Dutch) and international Bachelor courses and a Master level course. We designed exercises in extra working groups to allow local and international Bachelor students to build basic intercultural skills relevant for their later careers by meaningfully interacting with peers from diverse backgrounds (horizontal peers). These exercises are facilitated by Master students, so they can apply and develop their advanced intercultural skills and group management expertise in a real setting, with real cultural diversity (vertical peers). The working group exercises are practical games in specific negotiation and mediation settings to ensure that learning transfer can occur (i.e., applying knowledge), but students at all levels realize that skills learned are applicable in real-life settings (i.e., actual culturally diverse local/international teams) relevant for their careers and life in general.

Project Team

Information Processing in Tax Compliance Decisions
(2018 – 2020)

Principal Investigator: Christoph Kogler

Funding Body: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 798824.

Summary - Activities - Publications


As acknowledged by the science and research programs of the European Union, the topic of tax fraud and tax evasion, represents a complex challenge for European countries. The scale of lost revenue due to tax evasion is staggering, one of the highest estimates refers to the amount of € 860 billion a year (Murphy, 2012). There are serious negative consequences for the fight against inequalities: Unpaid taxes limit the capacity of member states to invest in social and economic policies, as well as social protection systems. Various economic and socio-psychological factors have been identified as determinants of tax compliance, such as audit probability, level of fine, social norms, and considerations of fairness.
However, these factors have an observable influence in some situations but not in others. Empirical studies neither reveal consistent effects of purely economic factors (audits, fines) on tax payments, nor of socio-psychological factors (social norms, fairness considerations). To determine when these factors have a more pronounced influence on tax compliance decisions and when their influence is suppressed, information processing must be considered in combination with actual decisions.

So far, research in the field has neglected information processing and concentrated exclusively on decision outcomes. This ambitious and novel research project applies the investigation of cognitive processes underlying decision making to the important field of tax research where this approach has been neglected so far. The main objective of this research project was to investigate cognitive processing of information that underlies tax compliance decisions, considering both economic and socio-psychological determinants of tax behaviour.
The main novelty within the field of tax compliance research is the application of eye-tracking and MouselabWeb as research tools, which allow to observe which information is inspected, for how long and in which order, to investigate information processing in combination with actual behaviour. In line with the recently influential slippery slope framework of tax compliance (Kirchler, Hoelzl, & Wahl, 2008), the central premise of the project is that socio-psychological factors, such as social norms and fairness perceptions, influence the extent to which evasion and compliance decisions are based on economic considerations. Special attention is paid to inter-individual differences in information processing and their relation to underlying motivational postures.

Project Activities

  • Kogler, C., Barrett, A.M., & Olsen, J. (December 2018). Increasing tax compliance: The robust effect of delayed audit feedback. Presented at the ASPO 2018 Conference in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
  • Kogler, C. (March 2019). Zeitversetztes Feedback auf Steuerprüfungen: Auswirkungen auf Steuerehrlichkeit, Fairnesswahrnehmung und Reaktionszeiten. Invited Presentation at 1st Workshop of the Behavioral Taxation Network, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Cologne, Germany.
  • Kogler, C., Olsen, J., Barrett, A.M., & Evans, A.M. (August 2019). Timing of Audit Feedback Affects Tax Compliance and Reaction Times. Presented at the 27th Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making Conference (SPUDM 27) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Kogler, C., Olsen, J., Barrett, A.M., & Evans, A.M. (September 2019). Delayed Audit Feedback: Effects on Tax Compliance, Decision Time, and Information Acquisition. Presented at the IAREP 2019 Conference in Dublin, Irland.
  • Kogler, C. (December 2019). The Effect of Perceived Fairness and Trust on Tax Compliance. Invited Presentation at the Workshop “The Behavioural Aspects of Fairness” organized by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Kogler, C., Olsen, J., & Evans, A.M. (December 2019). Delayed audit feedback boosts tax compliance but increases acquisition of information on consequences of evasion. Presented at ASPO 2019 Conference, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
  • Kogler, C. (June 2020). Tax Compliance Research in Economic Psychology. Invited Presentation at the Taxand Academy of the Independent Tax Advisory Firm Taxand.nl, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Project Publications

  • Kogler, C., Olsen, J., & Bogaers, R. I. (2020). Enhanced anonymity in tax experiments does not affect compliance. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 177, 390-398. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2020.06.023
  • Kogler, C., Olsen, J., Müller, M., & Kirchler, E. (2020, May 18). Information processing in tax decisions: A MouselabWEB study on the Allingham and Sandmo model of income tax evasion. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/bpe8j

Culture, Character, and Competence – Students Dealing with Different Types of Adversity in a Globalized World

Principal Investigator: Michael Bender

Funding Body: This project received funding in form of a research grant by the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst, DAAD).

Summary - Project Team

Culture, Character, and Competence – Students Dealing with Different Types of Adversity in a Globalized World

Michael Bender, Jia He, Mark Brandt / m.bender@tilburguniversity.edu


People deal differently with challenges in their lives, depending on who they are. We investigate how differences in character help to understand how students deal with adversity. Students face different types of adversity, including academic stress (e.g., the pressure to perform, negative feedback) and, in the case of international students, acculturative stress (i.e., the stress associated with staying abroad).

International students are increasing in number world-wide, including in the Netherlands, but little is known about how these geographically and culturally mobile populations deal with academic and acculturative stress and adversity.

We use a longitudinal, experience sampling study to investigate how character affects how international and Dutch students deal with different types of adversity. There is still a scarcity of longitudinal data mapping out student trajectories. We expect that individuals’ characters are predictive of adjustment and academic success. Understanding, not only differences between groups of students, but also differences between individuals’ characters and their unique ways of dealing with challenges will be instrumental to increase intervention effectiveness (e.g., introduction weeks, counselling practices, activities of student associations).

Project Team