PhD position “Employee Workplace Participation and Industry 4.0
Technological Adoption: A comparative study of the influence of Workplace
Participation Forums on Employee Quality of Working Life”
Last modification : Thursday, September 8, 2022
For the Centre for Sociological Research, Unit ‘Work and Organization', and in
collaboration with the Institute of Philosophy (both within KU Leuven), we
are looking for a PhD candidate for contributing to the project on “Employee
Workplace Participation and Industry 4.0 Technological Adoption: A comparative
study of the influence of Workplace Participation Forums on Employee Quality
of Working Life”.
The project focuses on Industry 4.0 technologies, which consists of the
automation of traditional manufacturing using ‘smart' technology. It
encourages research to explore whether, how and why Workplace Participation
Forums (WPFs) impact Industry 4.0 technological adoptions in ways that it
improves workers quality of working life (QWL) by using a phenomenological
perspective, supported by a sophisticated multi-case comparative design. A
distinctive cross-countries (i.e. Belgium, The Netherlands and US)
comparative approach is at the core of the research design of this project.
Moreover, the project aims at considering at the core of the empirical
investigation the supplier firms' different position in the value chain (lead
in manufacturing and lower position) and the trade unions' presence
(unionized and no-unionized) in workplaces. The target is to generate a
total of 12 cases. Case selection is grounded in a theorization which opens
expectation of revealing the relative potency of country, firm position and
union presence as factors which generate patterns that lead to specific QWL
The successful applicant will work towards a PhD degree in the Social Sciences
together with the other members of the team and under the supervision of Prof.
Dr. Valeria Pulignano, Prof. Dr. Lode Lauwaert, Prof. dr. Tod Rutherford,
Prof. dr. Lorenzo Frangi, Dr. Lander Vermeerbergen.
The PhD researcher will be based at the faculty of Social Sciences, on a
pleasant campus in the heart of Leuven.
Completed a Master's degree in sociology, labour studies, political
science, anthropology, philosophy, economics, management, research
methodology, psychology or related social science disciplines.
Interest in sociology of work, labour markets and employment and
industrial relations systems, job quality and well-being, Industry 4/5.0
and digitalization issues;
(Near) Native language proficiency in Dutch and French (the candidate
must be able to conduct in-depth interviews in both or either one of the
two languages) – proficiency in German is an advantage;
Good knowledge of the Belgian/Flemish and Dutch labour markets. Good
knowledge of the German labour market context is an advantage;
Excellent English speaking, reading and writing skills;
Ability to analyze and synthesize complex scientific theories;
Solid background in qualitative research methodologies for social science,
in particular interviewing techniques (phenomenology) and data analysis
with NVivo and ready, willing and able to extend the methodological
Excellence in knowledge in qualitative inductive research. Knowledge of
grounded theory is an advantage;
Commitment to stay abroad for sometimes to collect data;
Willingness to cooperate in an interdisciplinary team while at the same
time able to work creatively and independently;
Strong motivation to engage in a PhD program.
A 12 months full-time appointment to start with, to be extended with a further
36 months contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first year, in
order to finish your PhD;
Attractive doctoral scholarship adjusted to your research experience.
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Valeria Pulignano, tel.: +32 16
32 31 62, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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