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Work design, beer and chocolate in Brussels

Hosted by Dr Anja van den Broeck (shown here), Professor Sharon Parker visited Brussels this week in her role as Visiting Scholar for the Faculty of Business and Economics, KU Leuven, Belgium. She gave a presentation to students and faculty on work design, and ran some career workshops for PhD students and faculty within the department.

Click here for the slides: on Work Design: 100 Year Review and Future Directions; on Managing Your Career (for staff); on Making the Most of Your PhD (for PhD students).

Highlights of the trip for Sharon included:

  • Working with Anja on collective research projects. Anja also showed Sharon where to find the best beer and chocolates!

  • Lunch with Professor Eva Demerouti, Netherlands, including interesting conversations about Eva's recent research on job crafting.

  • Meeting with Dr Jessie Koen and Dr Roy Sijbom, who also visited from the Netherlands to catch up on joint research.

  • Dinners, lunches, and meetings with faculty, students, and Deans from the Faculty of Business and Economics.

  • A careers workshop with PhD students. It was very interesting to learn about how the Belgian PhD system is different. Students receive around 24,000 Euro’s per year for their PhD, and the PhD is generally considered more like a ‘job’. But the challenging situation is that it is very hard for PhD students to get academic jobs on completion. Most students prefer to stay in Belgium, meaning that only around 10% of students get academic posts.

  • A meeting with Professor Geert Van Hootegem, a Sociology professor and Director of Prepared Mind, a consulting company focused on applying sociotechnical systems theory to organisational design. Geert shared some of his expertise on the topic of “modern sociotechnical systems theory” and described how he and his colleagues have been applying these principles within several hundred companies across Belgium.

  • A little bit of time to wander around the Grand Place in the Centre of Brussels, checking out the wonderful chocolate shops, and indulging in the occasional specialist Belgian beer.

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