Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior

Research topics

  • Strategic and comparative HRM

    The strategic HRM line of research is mainly focused on theories and practices of HRM strategy in organizations, and consequently the follow up of HRM strategy with the use of HRM measurement systems. The central focus is firstly unravelling the black box of setting up strategic HRM systems and practices, and the final HRM and organizational outcomes. Secondly, the research team is also interested in developments in the field of strategic HRM measurement systems such as HRM scorecards, ROI approaches, and HRM analytics. Thirdly, we are more and more moving towards a sustainable approach of HRM.

    We do this by using an economic and managerial approach of HRM, and, subsequently, looking to the added value of HRM in organizations. Therefore, we have projects in investigating the strategic approach of HRM in organizations (private as well as public organizations) and developing HRM measurement systems and methodologies to make organizations more aware of strategic and sustainable approaches in HRM.

    For more than 20 years we are part of the European research group called ‘CRANET’ which groups more than 30 countries over the globe who meet every 6 months and conduct a joint comparative survey every 5 years on HR tendencies and analytics within the corporate world.

  • Employment relationships

    With the line of research on the employment relationship, we study the employee-organization relationship and its outcomes at different levels, thus recognizing that employees are managed at multiple levels and how these distinct levels interfere with each other. At the job-level, we study the employer's perspective pertaining to what the organization offers to the employees at the job-level and what is expected from the employees in return. Considering that organizations are more and more changing their mutual investment approach to employment into an underinvestment approach (in which a lot is asked from employees compared to what is offered to them), it is important to study the impact of these changes for different employee and organizational outcomes. Furthermore, at the individual level, we study the employee perspective pertaining to the Leader-Member Exchange relationship. The line manager as an agent of the organization implements the employment relationship with the individual employee. Therefore it is important to study LMX as an important facet of the wider employee-organization relationship. It is our aim to contribute to our understanding of how the employee-organization relationship affects employees and organizations. We specifically study mediational and moderational processes in this linkage.

  • Performance management

    This line of research focuses on performance management and organizational behavior. The research is dedicated to a better understanding of how organizations can perform more effectively by better (HRM and performance) management. We aim to examine and improve the effectiveness of various HRM and performance management practices, systems and policies in organizations. In addition, the research conducted within this team focuses on the role of employee well-being in the Human Resource Management – Organizational performance Relationship. The central question is how the organizational management system, strategy, culture and behavior can be optimized to facilitate and improve employee well-being and effectiveness, team and organizational performance.

  • Strategic management

    This line of research uses the Strategy-as-Practice framework to examine the characteristics of strategic planning processes and the use of strategic planning instruments in public and non-profit organizations both from a social constructionist and systems perspective. More specifically, we examine the relationship between the characteristics of strategic decision-making processes and proximate and/or distal outcomes. The characteristics of the strategic decision-making process encompass the strategic planning practitioners (e.g. team characteristics and roles), the strategic planning practices (e.g. process characteristics) and the strategic planning praxis (e.g. strategic tools and strategic plans). Proximate outcomes of interest are: quality of strategic decisions, strategic planning effectiveness, shared understanding and commitment to strategy and strategy communication. Distal outcomes of interest are organizational performance, realized strategy and strategic legitimacy. Data is collected in public and social profit settings using survey designs and survey experimental designs in combination with secondary data.

  • Recruitment and employer branding

    Recruitment aims to identify and attract the right human capital to achieve the organization’s goals and strategies. Even in times of economic recession, the “war for talent” continues as organizations struggle to strike a balance between keeping a lean workforce yet attracting the necessary talent to maintain a competitive advantage. Demographic trends suggest that human capital acquisition will be even more important in the future. Moreover, given that recruitment influences the quantity and quality of applicants and new-hires, it has implications for all other human resource practices. As a result, recruitment has become one of the most critical human resource functions for organizational success and survival. As these evolutions warrant a thorough understanding of recruitment and organizational attraction, research within this domain has grown exponentially over the last years. Recent studies have moved the field forward by using marketing and branding theories and constructs to further elucidate the recruitment process. Within the domain of recruitment and employer branding, major research topics of our research team are the study of recruitment sources, job search behaviors, word-of-mouth communication, social media, employer image, and applicant diversity.

  • Corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship

    Corporate social responsibility and social enterprises have in common the challenge of combining economic and social sustainability. In this research line the focus is on studying social enterprises, which develop revenue generating activities in order to realize social goals. Social enterprises are considered as ‘extreme cases of hybridization’ because realizing the social and the economic goals are core to the functioning of social enterprises, while it may imply practices that are not always compatible. Studying social enterprises is therefore considered to be particularly interesting to gain insight in the challenges of introducing corporate social responsibility in organizations with a main focus on economic sustainability.

    We study the background, values and goals of managers and board members in social enterprises in relationship to the dynamics and the decision making in the top management team and the board of directors, ultimately influencing the performance of the organization. Evaluating organizational performance, we not only consider financial performance, but also aim at measuring social performance. Therefore we also develop research activities in order to be able to measure non-financial performance of (social) enterprises.

  • Career/talent management

    This research stream concentrates on the life cycle of the employee starting from the ‘job applicant stage’ and ending at the retirement age. All HRM development and talent management issues in between are being researched from a matching perspective (individual vs organization). In doing so, the emphasis is both on the developmental needs of the individual, and on the potential solutions that organizations might come up with in order to retain their people in a way they remain motivated and engaged. This research stream has let to numerous publications around the following teams: career systems, triple career ladders, psychological contract, job crafting, different generations at the work floor, career self-management behavior, etc…

  • Learning organizations

    The major fields of interest are the learning organization, professional skills, change management, emotional intelligence, cognitive styles and leadership.


  • Alex Vanderstraeten
  • Herman Van den Broeck
  • Dirk Buyens
  • Greet Van Hoye
  • Sebastian Desmidt
  • Adelien Decramer
  • Lieven Jonckheere
  • Mieke Audenaert