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Work and Organizational Psychology

Managing Jobs and Careers

Motivation and self-regulation in job search and reemployment

Most people start new jobs several times during their working lives, for example after job loss, when finishing school/university, or when pursuing new career opportunities. The process of pursuing (new) employment or job search, can be described as a goal-directed but dynamic and ambiguous process during which motivation and self-regulation are essential in order to deal with difficulties, obstacles, failures, and rejections. Our current research is directed at developing and testing self-regulation theory in job search, for example focusing on questions like: Why do people fail to act on their (job search) intentions? How do setbacks influence subsequent self-regulation? What does a high quality job search look like? How can we  train people to more effectively search for employment?            

Van Hooft, E. A. J. (2014). Motivating and hindering factors during the reemployment process: The added value of employment counselors' assessment. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19, 1-17 .

Noordzij, G., Van Hooft, E. A. J., Van Mierlo, H., Van Dam, A., & Born, M. Ph. (2013). The effects of a learning-goal orientation training on self-regulation: A field experiment among unemployed job seekers. Personnel Psychology, 66, 723-755.

Website research on job search:

Adaptive careers

Today’s labor market is full of challenges for building a successful career. Economic conditions and job requirements are constantly changing, and people have to deal with unemployment, job insecurity and flexible employment contracts. Our research examines how people can cope with these contemporary labor market challenges, by focusing on their adaptability, employability, and proactivity. In addition to understanding the moderators and processes underlying the impact of contemporary labor market challenges, our research has great societal value as we provide practical insights and develop evidence-based interventions. As such, we aim to help people turn today’s labor market challenges into opportunities for building a successful career.               

Koen, J., Klehe, U. C. & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2013). Employability among the long-term unemployed: a futile quest of worth the effort? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 82, 37-48.

Koen, J., Klehe, U.C. & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2012). Training career adaptability to facilitate a successful school-to-work transition. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81, 395-408.

Klehe, U. C., Zikic, J., Van Vianen, A. E. M, Koen, J. & Buyken, M. (2012). Coping proactively with economic stress: career adaptability in the face of job insecurity, job loss, unemployment and underemployment. In P.L. Perrewé et al. (Eds.): Research in occupational stress and well-being (pp. 131-176), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bradford, UK.

Koen, J., Klehe, U. C., Van Vianen, A. E. M., Zikic, J. & Nauta, A. (2010). Job-search strategies and reemployment quality: the impact of career adaptability. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77, 126-139.

Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2013). Dynamische loopbanen: een kwestie van vooruitkijken. Assen: Koninklijke Van Gorcum.

Why are people bored at work? Why do people procrastinate?

Sometimes people are not so motivated to start or finish their work. For example, people may experience boredom at the workplace, or may engage in procrastination of tasks. Our research focuses on examining why people experience boredom and engage in procrastination, and on the consequences of boredom and procrastination for individuals and teams, in terms of well-being, work behavior, and task performance. Both laboratory and field research is conducted to gain in-depth understanding of motivational processes related to boredom and procrastination in individuals and teams.            

Van Hooff, M. L. M., & Van Hooft, E. A. J. (2014). Boredom at work: Proximal and distal consequences of affective work-related boredom. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19, 348-359.

Van Hooff, M.L.M., & Van  Hooft, E. A. J. (in press). Work-related boredom and depressed mood from a daily perspective: The moderating role of work centrality and need satisfaction. Work & Stress.                  

Van Hooft, E. A. J., & Noordzij, G. (2009). The effects of goal orientation on job search and reemployment: a field experiment among unemployed job seekers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 1581.                

Wanberg, C. R., Zhu, J., & Van Hooft, E. A. J. (2010). The job search grind: Perceived progress, self-reactions, and self-regulation of search effort. Academy of Management Journal, 53, 788-807.

Happy and healthy employees

Workload and new ways of working and organizing have an impact on employee health, well-being, and motivation. How can organizations boost work engagement of their employees? What can employees themselves do to stay engaged at work and to prevent burnout? In our research we focus on psychosocial working conditions, such as job demands (e.g. workload, job insecurity) and job resources (e.g. leadership, support, autonomy), as well as personal resources, proactive strategies and behaviors, which may affect employee functioning and well-being. The aim being that these aspects may help employees to adapt to changes and increase perceived person-job fit, work engagement and performance. Particularly, we study the effectiveness of strategies such as job crafting and job crafting interventions, as well as mindfulness and mindfulness interventions at work.

Van den Heuvel, M.,  Demerouti, E., & Bakker, A. B. (2014). How psychological resources facilitate adaptation to organizational change. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23, 847-858.

Van den Heuvel, M.,  Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2013). Adapting to change: The value of change information and meaning-making. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83, 11-21.

Aging at work

The proportion of older employees in the workforce is increasing. Politics and media tend to portray this ‘‘graying’’ as a problem for economic innovation. Furthermore, organizations have concerns about the alleged lower willingness of older workers to adapt to change. Both organizations and employees tend to assume that aging impede learning and development. However, research has shown that older employees vary with regard to their learning attitudes. We examine the extent to which personal and situational factors may impact older employees’ willingness and capacity to adapt to job and organizational changes.

Van Vianen, A. E. M., Dalhoeven, B. A. G. W.,  & De Pater, I. E.  (2011). Aging and training and development willingness: employee and supervisor mindsets. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32, 226-247.

Dalhoeven, B. A. G. W., Van Vianen, A. E. M., & De Pater, I. E. (2014). Waarover praten zij? Het functioneringsgesprek met oudere en jongere medewerkers over ontwikkeling en comfort. Gedrag en Organisatie, 27, 241-268.

Dalhoeven, B. A. G. W., Van Vianen, A. E. M., & De Pater, I. E. (in druk). De leerervaringen en ontwikkelbereidheid van (oudere) medewerkers na een functioneringsgesprek en reorganisatie. Gedrag en Organisatie.

Faculty working on Managing Jobs and Careers: Jessie Koen, Machteld van den Heuvel, Edwin van Hooft, and Annelies van Vianen

PhD students: Loes Kreemers