Understanding the way people operate is central to the success of any organisation. Managing people requires understanding organisations in their full complexity, thus at several levels of analysis.

Our department produces high-quality research and provides excellent teaching of the management of people in organisations. Our diverse faculty apply micro- and macro-perspectives to understand the dynamics of organisations & their employees, and organisations’ interaction with their environment.

Prof. Steffen R. Giessner, Department Chair

Portrait of Steffen Giessner

The department covers topics on four levels: those that apply to the individual such as leadership, leader development, power, incentives, and goals; those applying at the team level such as diversity, team processes, hierarchy, and professional identity; those at organisation level such as organisational learning, organisational design, coordination, organisational culture and change, and organisation of work; and topics at the level of the environment such as social, technological, economic changes, and politics.

“These interrelated topics and the increasing complexity of organisations makes it necessary to develop specific as well as integrated knowledge to enable future leaders or teams to manage and collaborate with their employees within and through their organisations,” says Department Chair Prof. Steffen Giessner.

Pioneering new fields 

Research within the department of Organisation and Personnel Management has always been a force for positive change, helping people and organisations worldwide to thrive and prosper. Pioneering faculty work at the forefront of human issues such as diversity, organisational change and leadership studies. Working successfully with business cultures that may have very different methods, expectations and models to those in Europe, the UK and North America constitute an important focus. 

Business and societal impact

The department’s members work autonomously and together on projects of fundamental research as well as to create solutions for practical business and organisational issues. Sometimes their research has the potential to work for wide geographical areas.

One such initiative from the department of Organisation and Personnel Management is the Erasmus Centre for Leadership, in which colleagues from all of RSM’s departments collaborate. The Centre is a joint effort between this department and the department of Business Society Management. Its aim is to develop leadership within businesses and organisations as well as within society by preparing leaders for organisational and environmental changes such as digitalization, sustainability, and diversity – and by making them agents of positive change. It offers a platform by:

  • Creating a common value proposition for leadership education at RSM, driven by the current needs of business and underpinned by the latest scientific knowledge;
  • Enabling business leaders to share their insights and experience with the Centre and to learn from each other;
  • Providing business partners with expertise and support for leadership development so they can lead their organisations into the digital arena;
  • Using business and scientific knowledge to provide excellent education to students so they can develop into agents of change;
  • Develop tools, new procedures and programmes to provide life-long leadership education.


Throughout this department’s numerous projects and Centres of Expertise to which faculty members are linked, new knowledge is created then disseminated on

  • the academic level through publications in major international journals
  • through educational programmes and tools, and
  • via practitioner exchanges and knowledge hubs.

The business impact of our research translates into practical programmes at bachelor and master level, and for graduates with and without working experience. It helps us to prepare them to be critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

“Our partnership with business and society begin with the education we provide to everyone, from bachelor students in a three-year programme to executives taking part in three-day programmes from RSM Executive Education,” says Prof. Steffen Giessner. “It’s a very direct way to make a positive impact on business.”

About our research


Bachelor Programme

The department of Organisational and Personnel Management contributes to the curriculum of both the Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration programme as well as the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (in Dutch “Bedrijfskunde”) programme. 

Course topics include Human Resource Management and Change Management. In addition to introductory courses, we also offer elective courses and bachelor research projects.

MSc People, Organisations & Change

The MSc People, Organisations & Change focuses on the core component of any business organisation; living human beings interacting with one another. A student who wants to meet the business challenges of the future and improve competitive edge through a more creative input of employees and members of his or her company, has to understand what makes people more efficient, effective, creative and community-like.

Part-time/evening MSc in Business Administration programme

The two-year part-time/evening programme MSc in Business Administration at RSM Erasmus University is a leading management education, known for its pratical relevance and international orientation. The programma is in Dutch and open for students with a Bachelors or Masters diploma plus several years of practical experience.

Part-time MSc in Management programme

This new master programme is designed for young professionals and ambitious students. The Parttime Master in Management is in Dutch and lectures are on Friday afternoon. This programme is open for students with a Bachelors or Masters diploma. Dutch HBO-students can enter the programme if they follow the (parttime) premaster first.

Research Master in Business and Management

Whether you aspire to an international academic career, or want to do research in the wider world of business, the Research Master in Business and Management provides the ideal preparation. In this exclusive master programme offered by the high-ranking research institute ERIM, a select group of students will be taught by top researchers in management. With no more than 30 students, the two-year programme offers individual supervision, a highly personal approach and the opportunity to pursue your own research interests.

PhD in Management

Talented young researchers get the opportunity to do pioneering and innovative PhD research at ERIM, a top research institute in Europe. In its PhD programme in Management, ERIM offers PhD candidates personal supervision by internationally acclaimed management researchers and excellent research facilities, including a state-of-the-art behavioural lab and advanced survey technology. In addition, a special support programme pays for research expenses like conference visits, international research visits, and data collection. All ERIM’s PhD students are paid a competitive salary and receive career development support.


"Our international faculty members are focused on high-quality and impactful research on the dynamics of the organisational change, of organisations’ interrelationships, and of people within organisations. The department members contribute jointly to this endeavour and address topics in the fields of organisational behaviour, organisation theory, human resource management, cross-cultural management and historical as well as economic perspectives on organisation. As a consequence, our department members contribute fundamental knowledge primarily from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology, business and economics.”

Prof. Steffen Giessner, Chair Department of Organisation and Personnel Management

Areas of research

Keywords :

Individual leadership approaches; Leader development; Negotiation; Incentives; Motivation; Co-ordination; Stereotypes and prejudice at work; Power; Employee adjustment; Careers and transitions

Keywords :

Team leadership; Leadership development; Ownership; Remuneration; Hierarchy; Resource allocation; Diversity; Inclusiveness; Professional/team Identity; Changes in teams; Adaptive performance

Keywords :

Organisational Learning; Inter-organisational co-operation; Agencies, states, communities; Organisational culture and ideology; Cross-cultural management; Organisational change; Firm boundaries; New ways of work; Organisational forms/ownership; Organisational design; Incentives; Co-ordination; Career paths

Keywords :

Social, technological, and economic environment; Power and politics; Inter-sectoral collaboration; Labour markets; Contestation and contested industries; Creativity and the creative sector

Centres, projects and experts

Our faculty members constantly develop high-profile and relevant research; a number of them are also heads of Centres of Expertise or other important initiatives at RSM. Support for their research may come from companies, from EU grants, or other forms of sponsorship.

Erasmus Centre for Leadership
Scientific Director: Dr Hannes Leroy

The Erasmus Centre for Leadership supports RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world. It strives to create a hub of knowledge for state-of-the art research into leadership, to help make sure that research outcomes make their way into RSM’s educational programmes, and to inspire the public to join the debate on leadership.

Erasmus Centre for Cooperatives
Scientific Director: Prof. George Hendrikse

The Erasmus Centre for Co-operatives creates, disseminates, and applies knowledge about cooperatives by blending detailed description, informal theory, formal modelling, and empirical analysis to contribute to co-operative business practice as well as to science.

Erasmus Centre for Human Resource Excellence
Scientific Director: Dr Rebecca Hewett

The Erasmus Centre for Human Resource Excellence is RSM’s centre for researching human resource management. It executes fundamental and applied research into people management, which supports and develops observant, inspired and pragmatic business leaders, enabling them to apply managerial knowledge in a sustainable and respectful way.

Research expertise

The Erasmus Centre for Leadership supports RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world. We strive to create a hub of knowledge for state-of-the art research into leadership, to help make sure that research outcomes make their way into RSM’s educational programmes, and to inspire the public to join the debate on leadership.

Exploring issues from the micro to the macro level of analysis, the focus of ERIM’s internationally recognised Organisation programme is on the development and testing of fundamental theory in the area of applied organisational research.

Taking the perspective that people shape the internal organisation of companies, help define the relationships organisations have with their stakeholders and society at large, and are crucial to successful, ethical, and sustainable organisational performance, these aspects are at the very heart of the Organisation programme’s activities, which takes a behavioural approach towards most research questions.



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