Three PhD-positions and a Postdoc on Emerging Technologies at Work

Research / Academic

Are you interested in studying how emerging technologies such as Robots, Artificial Intelligence, Immersive technology, and Smart Devices, are changing work activities, work spaces, professions and organizational practices; and vice versa, how such technologies are shaped during development, implementations and use in organizational settings? Are you interested in studying such changes as an ethnographer embedded in organizations for a longer period of time? And are you interested in collaborating on such research with a leading team of researchers, including dr. Ella Hafermalz, dr. Marleen Huysman, dr. Maura Soekijad and dr. Anastasia Sergeeva? Then please apply for a PhD or Postdoc position at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam's KIN research group.

Emerging technologies are rapidly changing work, and predictions about job losses as well as increased work efficiency are continuously reaching newspaper headlines. Current debates, however, are typically framed around hypes and speculations, though seriously lacking in-depth empirical academic grounds. At the KIN Center for Digital Innovations, we have a long tradition to go beyond such hypes and go to the field where the action is, to study the changes. Typical to our research is that we take the development of these emerging technologies seriously as already during its design, assumptions about its use are included. Also typical to our research is that we include multi-stakeholders in our ethnographies, ranging from designers, decision makers, end-users and key actors in the particular industry. With such long-term organizational embedded research, PhD candidates are contributing to theories of technology’s role in work and organizations.

Duties of a PhD student

  • The PhD student will conduct theoretical and empirical research on themes such as the sociotechnical construction of emerging technologies; the impact and unintended consequences of deploying new technologies into organizations; the role of management in buying and implementing emerging technologies.
  • The PhD student will do field studies during an extended period in time, which sometimes implies being full-time ‘in the field’ doing observations and interviews
  • The PhD student will provide a modest contribution to the Department’s teaching programme, with the opportunity to obtain a basic qualification teaching certificate (shortened as "BKO").

Duties of a Postdoc

  • You will design and conduct ethnographic studies of emerging technology at work focusing on how it is developed in the lab and how it is later used on the work floor.
  • You will be performing ethnographic fieldwork, conducting literature review, writing empirical research papers for conferences and journals, and presenting at conferences.
  • You will contribute to teaching.
  • You will also collaborate with industry partners and organize workshops and symposia, disseminating your findings.


  • Motivated to do high quality research with the aim of publishing top level articles for both an organizational science and practitioner audience.
  • Communication skills required to collaborate with industry partner(s)l academic writing skills.
  • High proficiency English language; Dutch proficiency (or willingness to learn) preferred.
  • Research Master or MSc in business administration, sociology, anthropology, philosophy of science/technology.
  • Expertise in and affinity with qualitative research methods e.g. ethnography, interviews, and observations.

Requirements Postdoc

  • PhD in Business Administration, Management, Sociology, or related social science field. Candidates close to defending their PhD are also invited to apply
  • Strong experience with qualitative inductive research methods and ideally strong experience with ethnographic research
  • Excellent academic skills; demonstrated for example by the quality of publications or conference papers
  • Motivation to do high quality qualitative research
  • Ability to combine creative and analytical thinking
  • Flexible and communicative skills required to collaborate with industrial partner(s)
  • Excellent English language skills; Dutch language proficiency is a significant advantage due to the need to conduct ethnography among Dutch speaking employees

Salary Benefits:

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts € 2.770 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3.539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.

For the Postdoc

  • a salary of minimum € 3.226,00 (Scale 10) and maximum € 5.090,00 (Scale 10) gross per month, on a full-time basis. This is based on UFO profile Researcher 4. The exact salary depends on your education and experience.
  • a position for at least 0.8 FTE. Your employment contract will initially last 1 year. Afterwards, the possibility of expansion for another year exists.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and regulations. Some examples:

  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

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