Utrecht University: Post-doc ‘Combatting the Queen Bee phenomenon in the workplace’


The department of Social and Organizational Psychology of the Utrecht University is looking for a Post-doc on an NWO-funded project entitled ‘Combatting the Queen Bee phenomenon in the workplace’.

This four year post-doc project focuses on the ‘Queen Bee phenomenon’ whereby senior women limit the career opportunities of junior women. Queen bees are senior women in male-dominated organizations who have achieved success by displaying masculine behavior and distancing themselves from other women. Research has established that queen bee responses among women leaders are not a typically female response but develop particularly in masculine organizational cultures in which women come to see their gender as a liability to career success. Moreover, men have been found to contribute to this phenomenon by rewarding the behavior of queen bees. The current project examines the underlying processes of the role women ànd men play in the development of this phenomenon. In experimental and longitudinal field studies mediating and moderating mechanisms such as gender identification and social identity threat will be examined among male and female employees in typically masculine organizations (e.g. the police force). The ultimate goal of the project is to design and test interventions aimed to combat the Queen Bee phenomenon.

This post-doc project is part of the larger NWO VIDI -funded project ‘The Queen-Bee-Phenomenon: How men and women maintain gender inequality in the workplace’ awarded to prof. dr. Belle Derks. This full-time appointment will be located at the Department of Psychology (Social and Organizational Psychology unit) and includes 0.2 FTE teaching time. Additionally, the post-doc will co-supervise a Ph.D. candidate who is also involved in the larger project.

Your tasks will consist of:

  • reading the relevant literature;
  • recruiting organizations to participate in the research;
  • designing, programming, coordinating and conducting studies;
  • analyzing data;
  • writing scientific papers for peer-reviewed journals;
  • presenting at national and international scientific conferences;
  • sharing results with participating organizations;
  • co-supervising a Ph.D. candidate.

We are looking for someone who:

  • holds a completed Ph.D. in Psychology (preferably Social psychology, Work and Organizational psychology or related areas);
  • has a keen interest in both fundamental research and the application of behavioural theories to practice;
  • has a – preferably proven – research interest in the topic of the project. Experience with research in organizations is preferred;
  • shows scientific creativity and productivity, as evidenced by innovative research projects and publications in (international) peer-reviewed journals;
  • has an excellent written and spoken command of English;
  • has advanced data-analytic skills (e.g. longitudinal data analysis, multilevel analysis);
  • has the ability, willingness, and commitment to work in a small team.

The position starts 1 November 2015, and is initially for one year that, with satisfactory completion, will result in an extension of three additional years (until 31 October 2019). The gross salary depends on qualifications and experience and ranges in principle between €2,476 and €3,908 per month for a full time employment of 38 hours per week. The salary is supplemented with an annual holiday pay of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. We offer flexible working conditions to support a good work – life balance of our employees. Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible employment conditions. For more information visit Working at Utrecht University.

About the organisation
Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles which are centred on four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas: Behaviour in Social Contexts; Child and Adolescent Studies; Cognitive and Clinical Psychology; Education and Learning; and Methodology and Statistics. More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.

You will be employed in the Department of Social and Organisational Psychology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University. The department’s research concentrates on three interrelated domains: Motivation, Performance, and Self-regulation, in which applied and fundamental approaches are combined to study cognition and behaviour in the social, organisational, and work contexts. A variety of methods are employed, including survey studies, diary studies, behavioural lab experiments, and psychophysiological studies.

The department has outstanding research facilities within a state-of-the-art, newly designed (autumn 2013) faculty lab environment. In addition, the department has access to a mobile lab and has well-developed expertise in conducting research in work and organisational settings. The department contributes to three Bachelor’s degree programmes (Psychology, minor programme in Social Neuroscience, and Social Sciences at University College Utrecht), a one-year Master’s degree programme (Social and Organisational Psychology), a two-year Master’s degree programme (Social and Health Psychology), the Kurt Lewin Institute PhD programme in Social Psychology, and the Helmholtz PhD programme in Cognition and Behaviour. The department participates in the Utrecht strategic theme of Institutions, and has ongoing research collaborations with the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), the Utrecht School of Law, TNO, and Unilever. The department further participates in the focus areas Professional Services, Future Food, and Neuroscience and Cognition.

Additional information
For more information, please contact Prof. Dr. Belle Derks (B.Derks@uu.nl, +31 30 2534571).
Please provide a letter of motivation, a CV, and two names of referents before September 17, 2015.
We aim to have job interviews between September 21 and 30, 2015.

The application deadline is


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