Research group Organising Change in the Public Domain

This research group has the ambition, by way of practice-based research, to support organisations in creating and guaranteeing inclusive work for all groups of workers and for those at a distance from the labour market who would like to work. This ambition is directly in line with the core values of inclusion and justice of the Research Centre for Social Innovation, in which this research group participates. The research group concerns itself with two central themes: 1) creating meaningful work for people at a distance from the labour market, i.e. access to inclusive work, and 2) securing meaningful work in changing organisations, or permanently guaranteeing inclusive work. The first theme also includes a research line (including a ‘Professor by Special Appointment’) on the issue of refugees and the labour market.

Recent developments - such as digitisation, demographic shifts and robotisation - are currently reshaping the world of work. This is giving rise to opportunities such as the emergence of new professions. The aforementioned developments are also accompanied by challenges; economic security has declined, especially for individuals who are less educated and lack digital skills. This creates a gap in the labour market between the so-called ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, which is expected to widen in the coming period. However, the dividing line between these two groups is not fixed. Even the highly educated ‘haves’ in our labour market are feeling the pressure of increased workload and job insecurity. A related issue, among others, is that mental health remains a globally neglected health problem, even though it is crucial to be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals drawn up by the United Nations. 

For the Research Centre for Social Innovation, of which this research group is a part, (access to) inclusive work is an important theme. This is one of the tools by which to promote social innovation and inclusion in our society, whereby it also provides citizens with economic independence. Definitions of social innovation at the level of labour organisations make it clear that this is mainly about increasing labour productivity and improving business performance, in combination with better psychological and physical health among employees and greater attention for talent development.

We seek to add a dimension to this by adopting a more social perspective, by studying how social innovation in organisations can contribute to resolving labour market issues as well as increased labour participation as a means of social integration. This includes topics such as age-conscious personnel policies, diversity management, health policies and labour integration of employees from all layers of the labour market.

In order to realize this, employers and organisations need to be closely involved; they are indispensable in creating and permanently guaranteeing inclusive work. For example, managers can ensure that employees feel safe and valued at work by setting up an appropriate HR policy and by adopting a more tailor-made approach. Naturally, it is also important to not lose sight of crucial organisational goals and outcomes. Also, choosing an appropriate change management approach remains crucial in the effective implementation of desired changes to working environments. 

The ambition of this research group is, in short, to conduct practice-based research with students and lecturers that can support organisations in the creation of work and in the safeguarding the quality of work, including work for all groups of workers as well as those looking for work.

Research lines and education

This research group focuses on the following two central research lines:

The research group works closely with students and lecturers from the Institute for Labour and Organisation and the Institute for Social Work in carrying out its practice-based research. The results of this research allow the research group to contribute to the professionalization of Human Resource Management students and professionals, in the innovation of the education of the Human Resource Management programme, and the development of new master’s and post-bachelor’s degree programmes, such as the Master Community Development.


Visiting adress:
Padualaan 101
3584 CH Utrecht
Postal adress:
Postbus 85397
3508 AJ Utrecht
088 481 21 32

Deputy Professor

Associate professor