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Irmgard Borghouts and Charissa Freese jointly appointed to chair HRM and Social Security

Published: 01st February 2021 Last updated: 02nd February 2021

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Dr. Charissa Freese and Dr. Irmgard Borghouts-van de Pas will be jointly appointed to the new endowed chair 'HRM and Social Security' as of February 1, 2021. They will each work from their own disciplines and in close collaboration to give substance to the chair established by Instituut Gak. The added value and strength lies in the intensive interdisciplinary collaboration between the two new full professors. The double chair will be established at the Tilburg School of Social and Behavorial Sciences (TSB) and Tilburg Law School (TLS).

Instituut Gak wants to contribute to the quality of social security in the Netherlands by financially supporting research, projects, and chairs (www.instituutgak.nl). With this chair, the institute aims to contribute to the scientific study of the influence of policy and measures in the field of labor market and social security and its practical application within human resource management in companies, businesses, and other organizations.

Prof. Geert Vervaeke (Dean TLS): “We are very pleased that Instituut Gak allows us to conduct research into this social issue even more intensively. For several years now, Instituut Gak has stimulated the link between scientific research and practice in the Netherlands and through this chair we continue our constructive collaboration also within Tilburg University.”


The coronavirus pandemic exposes the existing vulnerabilities in the labor market 


Two remits have been formulated in this unique chair, one for an endowed professor with an emphasis on Human Resources Management (Freese) and one for an endowed professor with an emphasis on Social Security (Borghouts).

1. HR sciences study the relationship between work, well-being, and organizational performance and how HRM activities can contribute to this. In organizations, this is reflected in recruitment, selection, hiring, promotion, and outflow policies.

Charissa Freese: “Good HRM policies contribute to better motivation, productivity, well-being, and employability of workers. In the current labor market that increasingly consists of people who are only temporarily part of the organization, it is important that these more vulnerable groups of workers can also benefit from good HRM policies, so that they can more easily make a transition to other work. This contributes to a more inclusive labor market. This theme is currently underexposed in HR sciences and can only be effectively studied in conjunction with social security policy. With this chair, we are able to put this theme on the map.”


Good HRM policies contribute to better motivation, productivity, well-being, and employability of workers


2. Social security sciences study the function, organization, legal basis, costs, and effects of social security and labor market policies. Our public social security system protects individuals and households from the financial consequences of illness, disability, unemployment, and old age.

Irmgard Borghouts: "With this chair, we can contribute to solutions for the current imbalance in the labor market. In social security, there is a dichotomy between types of employment contracts. In addition, there is a group of people who do not or cannot participate in the labor market yet. The coronavirus pandemic exposes the existing vulnerabilities in the labor market and social security more explicitly and increases the imbalance. The innovative aspect is the bringing together of social security and labor market policies on the one hand and HRM policy in organizations on the other.  Everyone is entitled to work and social security regardless of the type of employment relationship.”

The HRM and Social Security chair, therefore. focuses on the interplay and mutual influence between social security arrangements (public and private) and HRM policies within organizations.


With this chair, we can contribute to solutions for the current imbalance in the labor market


Charissa Freese

Dr. Charissa Freese (Groningen, 1970) studied Work and Organizational Psychology at Tilburg University (1994), and then began her PhD program. She was a lecturer in Personnel & Labor at the Avans University of Applied Sciences (1999-2008) and obtained her PhD in 2007 on research into the psychological contract during organizational change. She then became a post-doctoral researcher at research institute ReflecT (2008–,2011) and, since 2011, is a senior researcher “New labor relations” at the HRS Department of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Charissa Freese

Research. Her research focuses on how strategic HRM can contribute to a more inclusive labor market and how current labor market developments affect workers and organizations. She has authored more than 70 scientific articles and two management books and is co-supervisor of eight PhD candidates. In total, she has acquired research projects worth more than €1.2 million. She is a member of the Daily Board of the Department of HR Studies with the portfolio Impact. In 2019, she became Director of the People Management Center, having been a board member of this platform for co-creation on HRM knowledge between university and HR practice since 2013. In this role, she establishes partnerships with companies, with whom there is close collaboration in the areas of research, education, and knowledge exchange. As an Academic Director and core lecturer, she is involved in various HRM-related courses at TIAS Business School and VO Academy, among others, and gives master classes to organizations starting with inclusive work practices. Charissa was academic advisor for Tilburg University's implementation of the Participation Act.


Irmgard Borghouts


Dr. Irmgard Borghouts-van de Pas (Tilburg, 1973) studied Labor Market and Social Security at Tilburg University (1998). After jobs at Utrecht Municipality, IVA Beleidsonderzoek, OSA, and Ecorys, among others, she started working at Tilburg University in 2009. She obtained her PhD in 2012 on an international comparative study of employment security systems. In 2016, her research was awarded a science prize in Berlin. Borghouts is affiliated with the Department of Private, Business & Labor Law within Tilburg Law School. Her multidisciplinary expertise lies in the fields of employment security, labor market policy, social security, and inclusive HRM.

Research.  In her research, social policy and social security law are the starting point and she links this with strategic HRM issues. Two transitions are central in this: 1) the transition from inactivity to employment with special attention to vulnerable groups (including the Participation Act, Wajong, Unemployment Act) and 2) the transition from work to work for people who lose their jobs or are in danger of losing their jobs. Irmgard has been awarded almost €1.3 million in research funding for scientific research. She has extensive experience in leading and conducting (international) scientific and applied research and has been involved in many quantitative and qualitative studies commissioned by the European Commission, the Ministry of Social Affairs, municipalities, and sector associations. She has over 100 publications to her name and is a much sought-after speaker at home and abroad.


For further information and/or interview requests please contact i.borghoutsvdpas@tilburguniversity.edu and c.freese@tilburguniversity.edu.  

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