List of ICS PhD Students (year of completion of disertation)

List of Non-ICS PhD students

Names, personal information and summary

Sectoral Composition and the Effect of Education on Wages: An International Comparison.

It is a widely-held conviction that, in order to earn a decent living, one needs a good education. However, the importance of education as a determinant of earnings is far from constant: it differs strongly between countries, and also between industrial sectors within countries. Little progress has been made towards explaining these differences, partly due to the small number of cases available to test explanations.
This study tackles this problem by pooling employee data from 11 capitalist countries, and focusing on differences in the sectoral context of wage determination. Depending on this context, employers may differ in their vulnerability to possible damage due to poor employee performance. Could sectoral differences in the impact of education be understood in terms of strategies used by especially vulnerable employers to safeguard the quality of worker performance? And might differences between countries then result, at least in part, from substantial differences in the distribution of the relevant context characteristics?
These questions are analyzed using a multi-level research design in which the impact of sectoral context variables on the education/wage relation at both the sector and country levels is examined. The results confirm that the effect of education on earnings varies strongly between countries, and even more strongly between industrial sectors within the 11 countries. As predicted, the variation between sectors in the education/wage relation is related to the potential damage which could result from poor employee performance. When damage potential is high, employers are more inclined to screen potential employees on the basis of their level of education. In general however, employers' main response to damage potential is to pay higher wages, thereby providing an incentive for workers to work harder. An exception is formed by the professionalized part of the public sector, where employers have less scope for paying higher wages, and therefore have to rely mainly on educational screening to safeguard the quality of employee performance.
The observed effects of sector characteristics on wages and on the education/wage relation show a pattern which is highly consistent across the 11 countries. However, contrary to what was predicted, controlling for these effects does not account for the differences between countries in the education/wage relation.

 

Stressful life-events and mental health problems.

Life events have effects on people’s mental health (i.e. internalizing and externalizing problems). In this projects, we investigate in which way life events have different effects for male and female youths. In particular we want to trace the differential effect of stressful events affecting status and those impacting affection. The data of this project come from the TRAILS study (TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey, age range 10-16), which is a large-scale, multi-informant, multidisciplinary, longitudinal cohort study.

Supervisors: T. Oldehinkel, J. Ormel, and S. Lindenberg

 

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Automatisering in bedrijf. Een empirisch-theoretisch onderzoek naar de effecten van automatisering op de functiestructuur van bedrijven.
(Automation in progress. An empirical-theoretical research into the effects of automation on the job structure in firms.)

 

The impact of automation on job structures has been the subject of a broad discussion since the seventies. Optimists point out the opportunities of new technology, such as new jobs, the demand for new skills and the improvement in labor conditions and career development of workers. Pessimists stress that automation will lead to degradation of work and polarization of job structures leading to negative career changes for less skilled workers. At the level of the organization, the debate was concentrated in particular around the finding that job structures in firms tend to be simultaneously upgraded and downgraded.
The aim of this study was to arrive at a general conclusion on (a) the impact and content of job structure changes after automation in firms and (b) the most prominent determinants of these changes. Therefore a theory is elaborated which generates hypotheses that predict in which firms, which changes in job structure, are to be expected. The theory is focused on choices of managers in organizations that are assumed to be the core of the explanation of why jobs and, at aggregate level, job structures change after automation. The conditions that influence the decisions of managers to alter jobs in certain ways are dealt with stepwise modeling of management behavior.
Evaluation of all the results leads to the first main conclusion that negative consequences of automation cannot be demonstrated empirically. Degradation of jobs and job structures occur with such low frequencies that it makes no sense to examine these phenomena in order to test the theoretical model and hypotheses.
The second main conclusion is that in general there is support for the model we developed to explain variations between organizations in the chances of job structure changes. Since not all technological features and decision making factors are significantly related to job structure changes, it is worth reconsidering the theoretical construction of these hypotheses. A suggestion with regard to the absence of an effect of market conditions might be a more accurate specification of the environmental features (for instance the temporal financial situation of the firm instead of stability of the market level).

 

Individual Production of Social Well-being. An exploratory study.

The ultimate objective of this project is to contribute to theoretical progress in the field of quality-of-life studies. For this aim, Lindenberg's Social Production Function theory is further elaborated to meet a number of specific needs in that field of research. This is achieved through an exploratory study of how Dutch adults produce social well-being and experience 'quality of life'. The analyses of the data result in a thorough conceptualisation of status, behavioural confirmation and affection as the three components of social well-being (for which Nieboer is presently developing standardised measurement instruments); a general inventory of the main relevant production factors that may be used to realise these forms of social well-being, and a systematic way of assessing these; and the specification of quality-aspects of social production functions (the 'metagoals') and the theoretical framework that links them together and to overall subjective well-being.

 

Tussen Hulpverlening en Ondernemerschap. Beroepsuitoefening en taakopvattingen van openbare apothekers in een aantal West-Europese landen.
(Between Aid and Enterprise. Professional practice and task conception of community pharmacists in a number of Western European countries.)

The aim of this thesis is to give a description and an explanation of differences in professional practice and task conception of community pharmacists in a number of Western European countries. Starting point was the existence of two dimensions in the community pharmacist profession: a professional and a commercial dimension.
Reason for this inquiry was an interest in the dualism in the professional practice of free professionals practitioners. This dualism is especially interesting, because it might be expexted that the professional activities sometimes conflict with commercial demands and vice-versa.
The inquiry shows that there are great differences in the time pharmacists in the various countries (Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Great-Britain and Portugal) spend on different tasks. It also shows that the countries differ greatly in the way in which health care and community pharmacy are organized.
The inquiry also shows that when other factors are kept constant, Dutch, British and Portuguese pharmacists spend more time on commercial tasks than pharmacists from Belgium and Sweden. British pharmacists spend more time on professional tasks than pharmacists from the other countries. Belgian and Portuguese pharmacists spend the most time on client contact, while Dutch pharmacists spend the least time on this.
Finally the dualism mentioned above was investigated by means of situations in which the pharmacist is asked to give advice on self-medication (i.e. without a doctor's prescription). Overall it can be concluded that in these situations the pharmacists' income and financial situation play hardly any role in the advice they give. All in all, it appears that there is much less conflict between professional and commercial tasks than was originally expected.

 

Status and affection among (pre)adolescents and their relation with antisocial and prosocial behavior.

During adolescence, peer relations become increasingly important for the social and mental development of adolescents. This thesis contains four studies on two particular aspects of peer relations: status and affection. The central question was, what mechanisms govern success or failure in the realm of affectionate affiliations (friendship, being liked, or being disliked) and popularity (status)? Do the two influence each other? If so, how? To answer these questions, this dissertation focused on the relation of status and affection with antisocial and prosocial behavior. Data in this study consist of peer nominations which stem from TRAILS (TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey); a longitudinal study on the development of adolescents.

Supervision: S. Lindenberg, R. Veenstra

 

Partner Relationships and Solidarity.

The aim of the research project is to have a better understanding of recent changes in partner relationships. Individual considerations seem to play a bigger role in relation formation, relation design and the dissolution of relationships. Therefore the question becomes relevant what partners contribute to the relationship itself (relation-specific investments) and what partners contribute to their individual interests (portable investments). What are the implications of diverging investments for their solidarity and their (marital) happiness? To answer these questions we examine the investments of partners in shared and individual goals. We will compare different cohorts and different family forms in the Netherlands. This research project is part of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study ( NKPS).

Supervison: T. Knijn, P. Dykstra, S. Lindenberg

 

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Time-greedy employment relationships: Four studies on the time claims of post-fordist work.

Recent case studies consistently show that employees in contemporary work structures (often referred to as post-Fordist work designs) spend longer hours at work than in more traditional workplaces. This study investigates the association of post-Fordist work with working unpaid overtime and over-employment, using a multi-firm survey in the Netherlands. We test a range of explanations of why people would agree to work overtime for no pay. We also examine how and under what conditions working overtime harms the well-being of employees. For example, are the possible negative effects of working overtime just as severe for people who enjoy their work? These research questions are examined with the Time Competition Survey. The data were collected by means of a multi-stage sample of 1114 Dutch employees within 89 function groups in 30 work organizations in the Netherlands.

Supervision: S. Lindenberg, A. Glebbeek

 

The Management of Technology Cooperations. Partner Search and Contracting from an Empirical Theoretical Perspective.

Dutch government policies are explicitly aimed at stimulating the elderly to participate actively in society. The assumption seems to be 'the more activity, the more well-being'. However, research indicates that more active behavior does not always coincide with more well-being among elderly people. For this reason the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between activity and well-being more thoroughly. Four determinants of well-being in the elderly, namely health, income, the presence of a spouse and the general activity level were compared with respect to their relative contribution to well-being. An important finding was that activity is an important contributor only when two or more of the other determinants are lacking. If only one or none of these resources are lacking, the contribution of activities to subjective well-being is only marginal. Activity in the elderly can therefore be taken as 'second-best', compared to the contribution to well-being of having a good health, a partner to live with and, to a lesser extent, financial resources.
An ironic finding of this study is that elderly in possession of the highest level of resources for participation in activities also have the lowest need for activities as a means to increase their well-being. It is concluded that the best compromise between the government's need for elderly to actively participate in society and elderly people's need to increase their well-being can be found in those subpopulations of elderly with moderate resource levels. These elderly have a need to increase their well-being via activity participation, and at the same time, they have sufficient resources to be able to engage in them.

 

 

Joint Production as the Key to Enhancing Active Citizenship Behavior in the Neighborhood

In this research project I focus on active citizenship in the neighborhood. As the Dutch society is ageing and people in general live longer, the costs of the Dutch welfare state are rising too high. Therefore, the governments' call upon the moral responsibilities of citizens to contribute to collective needs within society enlarges. In trying to stimulate active citizenship behavior, there is a strong focus on the context of the neighborhood. It is argued that especially when it comes to their own living environment, citizens will be prepared to contribute to collective needs. But how does active citizenship in the neighborhood come into being and how can the government stimulate active citizenship behavior? In this research project, based on Lindenberg’s theory of community, I first describe the mechanisms that influence the development of citizenship behavior in the neighborhood. Central to these mechanisms is ‘joint production’ (doing things together as neighbors), which engenders solidary behavior and a sense of belonging. Based on those mechanisms, two instruments are developed. First, a psychometric scale is developed that measures the level of active citizenship behavior as a basis for social cohesion. This measure gives insight into what extent residents of a neighborhood look after each other and are considerate towards each other. Hereby, local governments can identify those neighborhoods in which active citizen behavior needs to be stimulated in order to guarantee the wellbeing of all residents. Second, a dialogue method is developed to continuously stimulate active citizenship behavior in the neighborhood.

 

Supervisors: S. Lindenberg and F. Stokman

 

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Unreliability. Contract Discipline and Contract Governance under Economic Transition.

Notorious unreliability of the actors is a typical feature of a command economy. Does it change in the process of transition to a market economy? Yes, it does, tremendously.
Though the symptoms of unreliability are rather well known, they have been the subject of hardly any systematic analysis. Moreover, the usual bilateral approach of contract analysis, though dealing with opportunistic actors, does not admit the possibility that unreliability can be typical. Not that the actors would be morally constrained, but their part-ners would not tolerate being cheated on a regular base. In this book an extended model of contracting is presented that accounts for the more tolerant character of the actors in a command economy and the growing intolerance in an economy under transition with regard to being the victim in contracting.

 

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Intertemporal decision making: studies on the working of myopia.

People often make choices where costs and benefits occurring at different points in time have to be compared. In this dissertation it is investigated when people are most likely to weight only the immediate future and when they are more likely to take more distant consequences of their actions into account. It is argued and experimentally confirmed that people are especially prone to ignore distant consequences of their actions when hedonic consumption experiences are salient and when these hedonic aspects of a situation are presented vividly to the decision maker. In addition, it is investigated whether people systematically differ with respect to patience. That is, is one person in different situations consistently more patient than the other and can we predict such differences? It is argued that, since patience is advantageous in numerous situations, parents will attempt to raise patient children. Hence, the degree of patience people display should depend on parental characteristics as well as their raising in early childhood. We find strong and systematic differences between people's degree of patience depending on the raising by their parents. Finally, this dissertation investigates whether decision-making when comparing outcomes that are spread over time is similar to decision-making when outcomes are risky, when outcomes are available only at some spatial distance, or when outcomes do not occur to the decision-maker but to others. In fact, decision making between temporally delayed, risky and spatially distant outcomes appeared to be highly similar. As to the discounting of outcomes that do not occur to ourselves but to others, male subjects display the same behavioural regularities as in the three other choice domains but for females the results were inconclusive. Here, further research is needed. Alexander Gattig (1969) studied Sociology and Economics at the University of Bremen, Germany. He conducted the present research at the Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS) in Groningen, The Netherlands.

 

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LETS' Be a Community. The Level of Community in Local Exchange and trade Systems.

The subject of this study are Local Exchange and trade Systems (LETS or LETSystems). In a LETSystem, people exchange goods and services on basis of an alternative, local currency. These systems are started both for economic reasons (creating an extra source of income), social reasons (strengthening local networks) and for ideological reasons (creation of a fairer economic system). In this research it is studied what level of community can be found in LETSystems. The definition of community that is used is based on Social Production Function Theory (SPF) and Social Welfare Theory (SWT). A LETSystem is more a community when it is more multi functional, in other words, when more goals are realized by its members. One aim therefore is to see which goals are realized by members of LETSystems. It is expected that there are differences between LETSystems in the level of community that is realized. Another aim is to explain this difference. There are two rounds of data collection. In a first round, questionnaires are sent to the organization of the LETSystems. In a second round of data collection, information is gathered from the members.

Supervisors: Siegwart Lindenberg (RUG), Henk de Vos (RUG), Anna Petra Nieboer (UM).

 

High Performance Human Resource Management in Ireland and the Netherlands: Adoption and Effectiveness.

Over recent decades, there have been many claims that high performance human resource practices make a substantial difference to a company's performance, to its 'bottom line'. Arguments have been made that this bundle of practices offers companies the possibility to gain a substantial relative competitive advantage. Many are emphatic that if there is a good fit between the practices, if they are mutually reinforcing, then superior company performance will be the outcome.
Does this really work? Empirical studies have been inconclusive and the findings controversial. A major problem is that while there is a consensus among researchers that the associations between the high performance HR bundle and company performance reflects a causal link that flows from practices, through people, to performance, there is little by way of either empirical demonstration or theoretical explanation of this relationship. This problem forms the kernel of this study. Particular attention is given to the development of a theoretical explanation of several related questions: What does it mean to speak of a 'bundle' of high performance human resource practices? What is the link between the high performance human resource bundle and employee performance on the one hand and company performance on the other? Another puzzle prevalent in the literature is if the bundle really is so effective, why then is it that its diffusion is reported as being so modest? To answer this attention is given to the development of a theoretical explanation of the adoption of the high performance HR bundle.
Cross sectional data were collected from companies in Ireland and the Netherlands and this data is used to test the theoretical ideas developed for this study. Having conducted a survey in two countries also permits a comparative dimension such as whether there are differences in terms of effectiveness and adoption between the countries. Finally, the study also provides a discussion of the match between the high performance HR bundle and the institutional and cultural context of companies in the two countries.

 

Framing and the Maintenance of Stable Solidary Relationships.

The aim of this project is to elaborate and test experimentally a framing theory of solidary behavior in relationships. According to framing theory (Lindenberg, 2001) there are three high-level overriding goals that presumably influence cognitive processes more than other goals: hedonic goal ('to improve the way one feels'), gain goal ('to improve one's resources'), and the normative goal ('to act appropriately'). 'Solidarity' as the term is used here, refers to five different kinds of pro-social behavior (cooperation, fairness, altruism, trustworthiness, and considerateness) and, according to the theory, it is best served by a strong normative frame. Solidary behavior could be predicted and explained if we knew under what circumstances the normative frame becomes, and remains, dominant. This question is particularly interesting because the normative frame is predicted to be apriori weaker than the frames that belong to the other two overriding goals. Of special sociological significance is the fact that if the answer to this question is known, it would be possible to develop interventions to stabilize and strengthen the normative frame or to establish a frame change towards the normative frame.

Supervision: S. Lindenberg, D. Stapel

 

Sociale Gemeenschap in Scholen.
(Community in Schools).

At school one learns to live together. This conclusion is shared by a growing number of people. As individualization in society is receiving more and more attention, schools are expected to provide the necessary counterbalance for this indivdualization. In this study it is assumed that schools themselves must also function as a community. The social relationships between pupils and teacher are essential in determining whether schools are a community and what that means as far as social school results and competences are concerned.
This study deals with the issue from the pupils' perspective. It has been systematically checked to what extent young people can fulfill their wishes and needs by means of their relationships with their peers and their teachers. By putting questions to 1400 pupils of different secondary schools about their friendships, popularity, quarrels and the sense of belonging, the social relationships in schools were mapped. Evidently schools play a very important part in the lives of the pupils. The results show that most pupils experience school as a social community. The positions of outsiders, troublemakers and pivots show, however, that not every pupil experiences the same amount of social community. In almost all cases the
quality of the social community would improve if the bond between pupils and teachers was stronger.
That feeling a bond with school constitutes in effect a good preparation for future life in society does not only become apparent from the fact that pupils show more linguistic competence, but also from their more positive self perception and their only showing a slight degree of anti-social behaviour. The most important factors determining the degree of social community in schools are pupils' characteristics like their motivation for school and their upbringing. Remarkably as far as group characteristics are concerned, the size of the class and not the size of the school contributes to the experiencing of a greater sense of social community.

 

The “slippery slope” phenomenon of normative deviance: Cross-norm inhibition and goal-frame switch effects.

In organizations, but also in human relations, it is known that conformity to norms and rules can erode, at times with disastrous consequences. For example management may step by step get to act ever more opportunistically, eventually even ruining the jobs and pensions of their employees (such as happened in the Enron case). What mechanisms are behind this process of erosion? In this project, we investigate experimentally (in the lab and in the field) how goal-framing processes are likely to create such slippery slope pheonomea.

 

Supervisors: S. Lindenberg and L. Steg

 

Testing the effects and effectiveness of the Covey 7 habits training program.

The aim of this study is to investigate how the implementation of interventions designed to improve the functioning of individuals and work‐groups affects employee well‐being, performance and cooperation in organizations. The focus in this study will lay on the popular self‐ improvement program “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen R. Covey.

 

 

Troublesome pupils. An empirical study into the social causes of problem behaviour in elementary classrooms.

This dissertation addresses the question why some pupils behave less well in school than others. To what extent can differences in the problem behaviour of elementary school children be explained by the social influences of teachers, parents and peers on this behaviour?
The behaviour problems teachers find most troublesome are those that interfere with their teaching. Pupils should be attentive, active or quiet according to the situation. This behaviour can be described by the concept of rule competent behaviour. A rule competent person is aware what the rules in a specific situation are, and complies with them without needing external pressure to do so.
In order to understand better which causal processes in the social environment of the pupil influence his rule competent behaviour, this study follows a strategy of model building. It is assumed that social actors in school have one purpose: to obtain social approval. The teacher tries to obtain social approval from parents and collegues by simulating rule competent behaviour and good achievements in her class. Pupils strive for social approval from teachers, parents and peers, but differ in their capabilities (rule competence and IQ) to reach these intermediate goals: rule competent behaviour and good achievements. It is also assumed that rule competent behaviour has a positive influence on achievement. The more difficult it is for a pupil in getting good grades because of a low intelligence, the more important will it be for him to behave rule competently in order to reach the achievement standard of the teacher.
It is predicted that teachers in low SES classes will try to apply a high standard for order under all circumstances. Teachers in high SES classes on the other hand, will only under special conditions like a big class or a close parental community, opt for a high standard for order. The achievement of pupils will be influenced positively by a close parental community. For those effects on behaviour in class which have been established by family-research, new predictions are deduced from the behavioural assumptions of the model. These conditions are the absence of one of the parents in the family, outside employment of the mother, housing, family size, and the ordinal position of the child. Because teachers and parents approve of rule competent behaviour and good grades of children, and children strive for social approval, school children will be more popular with their peers if they behave rule competently and get good grades. However, if it is difficult for children to meet their teacher's standard of conduct and achievement, they tend to attach more importance to the approval of peers.
The major proportion of the model hypotheses passes our tests. Insofar as the hypotheses are not confirmed, this has to be attributed to circumstances not connected to the basic assumptions of the model. The model used in this study seems therefore suited to application in further research.

Supervisors: Siegwart Lindenberg and Frans Stokman

 

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Solidarity in economic transactions: an experimental study of framing effects in contracting.

Solidarity clearly affects economic behavior, but under what circumstances does it make economic sense to have relational concerns rather than hard-nosed self-interest?
In order to answer this and other related questions, this book addresses the problem of how bargaining and contracting behavior is affected by relational aspects. Until now, private gain-seeking has been considered the sole driving force in much, if not all, modeling of individual bargaining and contracting behavior. However, the increasing convergence between sociology and economics has created new leads with regard to the integration of two fundamental principles of human behavior in one model of individual decision-making: private gain-seeking and solidarity.
A recent development in rational choice theory allows explicit incorporation of relational concerns into a rational choice framework. In this book, the extended rational choice framework is applied to several aspects of bargaining and contracting, such as bargaining under uncertainty, ex post cost accounting, and reach of agreement. Each application is tested experimentally.

 

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Verdringing op de Nederlandse arbeidsmarkt: sector- en sekseverschillen.
(Crowding out in the Dutch Labor Market: sector and gender differences).

In this study we have tried to answer the questions of whether and how it is possible to explain differences in effects of "crowding out" between segments of the labor market and between the men and women within those segments. Crowding out is defined as a situation in which highly educated employees get jobs that were held by lower educated employees.
In this thesis we elaborate a model of the labor market that explains allocation, effects of crowding out and differences in labor market positions of men and women. The model is based upon relationships between employers and employees. These relations can be one of two kinds: relationships of trust or relationships of control. The kind of relation that develops depends on the difficulties employers have in measuring the productivity of their employees. If employers have difficulty measuring the productivity of the employees (the price of control is high) employers can maximize their profits by trusting their employees and by paying them relatively high wages. If employers can measure the productivity of their employees easily (the price of control is low) employers can maximize their profits instead by controlling their employees and by paying them relatively low wages. These facts lead to an efficiency wage model in which efficiency wages depend directly on the price of control, the amount of control, the level of effort of an employee, and the productive characteristics of employees.
Empirical tests of the model provided ample support. While crowding out seems to have occurred for both men and women, the effect is different. According to our model crowding out is more extreme for men than for women.
Separate analyses for each labor market segment show that changes in the allocation of men and women between 1981 and 1985 is, as predicted, especially apparent for segments with a high price of control. In addition crowding out appears to be more extensive for men than for women.

 

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The Governance of the Employment Relation. A Relational Signaling Perspective.

Modern organizations are dependent on the 'spontaneous' cooperation of their employees. How can employees be induced to cooperate consummately and how can such a cooperative attitude be sustained? In this book, these questions are addressed in essays that develop and apply a relational signaling approach to the employment relation. The basic idea of this approach is that the goodwill of employees is a function of their confidence in the relational integrity of the employing organization and therefore is maintained by relational signals that reflect the organization's commitment to relational norms ina credible and consistent manner. This idea is substantiated in a series of empirical-theoretical studies that cover various organizational activities which aim to secure the goodwill of the workforce. These studies consider whether and how these activiteis achieve this goal and examine the consequences of these activities for organizational structures and outcomes.

 

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Life-events and well-being: A prospective study on changes in well-being of elderly people due to a serious illness event or death of the spouse. Amsterdam: Thesis Publishers.

Illness events, such as a myocardial infarction, a congestive heart failure, a hip fracture or a stroke frequently have severe consequences for people and their loved ones. To lose someone close through death has an even greater impact on people's lives. These life-events are especially likely to have far-reaching effects on the spouse. Previous research mainly addressed differences in people's level of well-being after the event rather than changes in well-being due to the event. So far, the focus has been on the adjustment process, while neglecting the impact of the event. The present research is part of the Groningen Longitudinal Aging Study and follows people after their spouse experienced a serious illness event or died. This study is unique because it includes pre-event information as well as measurements briefly after and a year after the event. There are clear differences in the extent to which people's well-being deteriorates, as compared to their pre-event level of well-being. Moreover, their rate of adjustment also varies widely. This study reveals that circumstances before and briefly after the events influence the impact as well as the adjustment process. Following the social production function theory, activities of people are seen as means for the production of well-being. Impact of and adjustment to the life-event both depend on the degree to which these productive activities were dependent on the spouse who fell ill or died. The results support the notion that it is possible to explain something seemingly as "private" or "psychological" as dealing with a serious illness or death of a spouse with a theory about the joint (i.e. social) production of individual well-being. Social production function theory appeared to be well-equipped to address interdependencies between family members, the effects these interdependencies have on the objective meaning of the event and, consequently, on short- and long-term changes in well-being.
Anna Petra Nieboer studied sociology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, after which she worked at the Interuniversity Center for Social Science and Methodology (ICS). Currently, she works on a research program "The Future of Community" which is also conducted at the ICS. Her main research interests concern the consequences of life-events, quality of life, and life-span development.

 

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The role of positive illusions in approach motivation and social functioning.

When people think about themselves, they generally have a very positive image on their mind. Most people tend to hold such positive views about themselves that Taylor and Brown (1988) termed this tendency as 'positive illusions'. In this project, we investigate this better-than-average effect, which describes the systematic tendency to evaluate the self more favorably than the average other. We examine whether people hold these positive illusions because in the environment of evolutionary adaptiveness they served and may still serve today a specific function that helps us to adjust better to our social environment. We argue that holding such a view about the self has the function for people to keep an active "approach" mindset vis-à-vis their social environment, especially for group contexts. Further, we address the question how people come to hold these positive views despite of the objective reality. Thus, in one line of research we explore the possible adaptive functions of holding a better-than-average view on the self. In another line, we address the underlying mechanisms of the better-than-average effect as a heuristic people apply to evaluate themselves compared to others.

Supervision: S. Lindenberg, J. Park

 

Vakantiegemeenschappen. Kwalitatief en kwantiatief ondezoek naar gelegenheid en refreshmentgemeenschap tijdens de vakantie.

Does community life fade away in modern societies or do we observe a shift to new forms? The 'aandachtsgebied' 'the Future of Community', of which this project is a part, deals with possible alternative forms of community in modern times. Community is seen as a group of multifunctional relationships, i.e. relationships wherein people jointly reproduce important aspects of physical and social well-being. This project focuses on the possibility that people use vacations to become temporarily part of a community. Observing vacation destinations such as the typical Dutch campsite 'Camping Bakkum', we see people who socially interact and share sentiments for several months, year after year. In short, many features of traditional 'grown' community life appear to be reproduced in such vacation sites. But there can also be vacations with strangers in which 'instant' community might be achieved or vacations with family and friends from home which serve to 'refresh' the community among them. Possible sites for such 'instant' communities are Club Med and Ibiza. Important research questions of this project are: 1. What are the conditions under which grown and instant communities are formed? 2. Why do some people (want to) participate in a refresher, grown, or instant community whereas others do not?
To answer the first question, three vacation destinations have been studied: Campsite Bakkum, a Club Med village in Spain, and the club scene of Ibiza. Bakkum is ideal to study grown community as its visitors return year after year. Club Med and the club scene of Ibiza are suited for a study of instant community since its visitors stay only shortly. While Club Med helps its 'villagers' to form an instant community, the clubbers in Ibiza rely much more on themselves and sphere in the clubs.
To answer the second question, a large-scale telephone interview was conducted (n=1206). The questions concerned people's interest in community participation, their actual participation during their previous vacation and several personal characteristics.

Supervisors: Rudi Wielers (RUG), Siegwart Lindenberg (RUG).

 

Changing Prejudice in Hungary. A study on the Collapse of State Socialism and Its Impact on Prejudice Against Gypsies and Jews.

In this study prejudice against Gypsies and Jews in Hungary in relation to the transformation processes in Hungary during the nineties was investigated. For the explanation of this relation, a theory about the relationship between rapidly changing circumstances and changing prejudice was advanced. In order to integrate complementary ideas from psychological and sociological theories, the concept of structurally induced motivation was used as a starting point. The transformation of the system in Hungary predominantly influenced the social economic situation of the citizens. Their effort to reduce or compensate for loss was supposed to involve prejudice generating mechanisms.
(Panel)data collected in 1987, 1992 and 1993 were used to test the hypotheses. It was hard to draw unequivocal conclusions from the results. A comparison between 1987 and 1992-1993 indicated more tolerance towards Gypsies in stead of increasing prejudice against them. Another finding was that a deteriorating economic situation did not, unambiguously, lead to an increase of prejudice.

 

B. Ruschoff (expected). School-to-work transition: Predicting social network building and occupational success from adolescent popularity.  The goal is to monitor adolescents’ transition from school to work to answer the following main questions:  
-      What are the developmental trajectories of the different status groups when leaving school and entering the workplace?
-      What are the long-term consequences of adolescents’ popularity in the classroom for their integration into the workplace?
-      What are the long-term consequences of adolescents' behavioral patterns in the classroom for their integration into the workplace?
-      Main focus on aggressive popular adolescents as they combine potentially averse behavioral patterns with positive social outcomes (in the school context).
-      Do they perform better or worse than their (a) unpopular peers and their (b) prosocial peers?
-      Do they adjust their behavior according to the new context?

B. Ruschoff (expected). School-to-work transition: Predicting social network building and occupational success from adolescent popularity.  The goal is to monitor adolescents’ transition from school to work to answer the following main questions:  -      What are the developmental trajectories of the different status groups when leaving school and entering the workplace?
-      What are the long-term consequences of adolescents’ popularity in the classroom for their integration into the workplace?
-      What are the long-term consequences of adolescents' behavioral patterns in the classroom for their integration into the workplace?
-      Main focus on aggressive popular adolescents as they combine potentially averse behavioral patterns with positive social outcomes (in the school context).
-      Do they perform better or worse than their (a) unpopular peers and their (b) prosocial peers?
-      Do they adjust their behavior according to the new context?

 

 

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Female Pioneers. Women and men with a higher vocational education at the start of their careers.

This dissertation starts with the question: What becomes of women who opt for non-traditional schooling, and thus a non traditional job? Do women who follow 'masculine' courses receive the same job, or is their labour market position different from that of their male counterparts? These are the central questions in the first part of the study described here. In a study the (labour market) positions of 741 female and male graduates were registered half a year after graduation. It appeared that, despite an equal investment in training, the first job of female and male graduates of 'masculine' advanced vocational courses differ. Men have an edge: they receive, on average, a higher salary and experience a greater level of self reliance and responsibility in their first jobs than women. The research problem for the study was formulated as follows: Why are the first jobs of women with 'masculine' advanced vocational training lower than those of men with equal qualifications?
In this dissertation a mechanism, expressed in the life perspective theory, is elaborated. Assuming the graduates to be rationally acting individuals who strive for income, social approval and leisure time, the possible ways to achieve these goals differ for women and men. Men can achieve income and social approval by way of a paid career. Women can also achieve these goals indirectly through the realisation of an unpaid career. This means that women have two ways of achieving these goals (the carrying out of paid work and the bearing of and caring for children) while men only have one way (paid work). According to this mechanism, hypotheses were elaborated.
The complete study consisted of five smaller studies. Two studies were conducted to test the hypotheses concerning the life perspective and the preferences for particular types of jobs. Hypotheses concerning differences in search behaviour between women and men were also tested by means of two studies. The last study concerns the testing of the hypotheses concerning the behaviour of employers, their preferences with reference to particular types of employees and their recruitment behaviour.
The different studies show that the life perspective theory was a good mechanism to explain the differences between women and men with a higher vocational education at the start of their careers.

 

Promoting well-being in frail elderly people.

In this project, it was investigated if well-being in frail elderly patients (hospital and family practitioners patients) can be increased by means of increasing their Self-Management Ability (SMA). Frail elderly people have suffered interacting losses in physical, social, and psychological domains of functioning. These losses lead to a decreased reserve capacity for dealing with these and new losses. As such, frail elderly people have a risk of declining well-being. To counteract or mitigate these negative consequences of frailty, an intervention was proposed to increase frail elderly people’s adaptive abilities (self-management abilities) to realize well-being. The intervention consisted of six home visits by a geriatric nurse. The visits were psycho-educational and contained information and assignments. Effects of the intervention were tested by comparing an experimental and a control group, both about 50 persons. Besides, some theoretical models about the expected relations between frailty, self-management abilities and well-being were tested in several samples. These samples consisted of elderly people with different levels of frailty.
Main results and conclusions:
- Using frailty to select older people at risk for interventions may, therefore, be a large improvement compared to selecting people using chronological age.
- Both self-management abilities and well-being can be increased in frail elderly hospital patients by means of a general intervention that does not focus on the consequences of specific diseases, but on elderly people’s general capacity for realizing well-being.
- The intervention increased overall well-being, which includes physical, social, and psychological well-being.
- The intervention increased the self-management abilities and via these, well-being.
- The increase in self-management abilities and well-being was found in the short term (directly after the intervention) and in the longer term (4 months after the intervention).
- We were able to give our intervention a clear theoretical basis that connected the problem, the working mechanism, and the outcomes. Using the theoretical, we were able to design an intervention that increased the theoretical mechanism of self-management abilities and thereby appeared to lead to the expected outcome (increased well-being).
- Most of our theoretical propositions predicted positive well-being well. Other theorizing might be required to capture relevant predictors for negative well-being. Well-being must be considered multidimensionally.
- Self-management abilities are mostly related to positive aspects of well-being; frailty is mostly related to negative aspects of well-being.
- The SMA intervention can be implemented in transmural care for frail elderly hospital patients, but additional criteria for selecting the patients have to be used.

Supervision: N. Steverink, A. Buunk, J. Slaets, S. Lindenberg

 

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Does it Run in the Family? Dysfunctional Families and Problematic Behavior of Adolescents.

The aim of this project is to investigate and explain the influence of family relations and family ties on problem behavior (internalizing problems, externalizing problem behavior and weak school performance) of adolescents and emerging adults. It is explicitly concerned with the way all three problem behaviors affect each other. To outline the mechanisms behind the mutual influences of the three behavioral problems we look primarily at what we take to be the most important context for the possible link between the three kinds of problem behavior: the family. Questions concerning the mutual influences of problem behaviors within a family context have rarely been studied because it necessitates special datasets that compromise information on child characteristics, family characteristics and different areas of problem behaviors. Due to TRAILS (TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey, age range 10-16), it has become possible to find answers to these questions. TRAILS is a large-scale, multi-informant, multidisciplinary, longitudinal cohort study.

Supervision: S. Lindenberg, R. Veenstra

 

Networks In and Outside the School Grade: Peer Influences on Problem Behavior.

The aim of my project is to investigate peer relations in and outside the school-grade and examine the relation between these peer relations and problem behavior (especially antisocial behavior, weak school performance, and truancy). Until now, many studies have focused solely on the effects of peers within the school grade. However, an exception is the study by Kiesner, Poulin, and Nicotra (2003), who found that peer relations outside the school grade are very important for understanding antisocial behavior and weak school performance. Friendship networks outside the school grade are likely to put children more at risk, for the groups are more heterogeneous in gender and age, and the context is less supervised. Data will come from the TRAILS study and from a small town in Finland; both sets consist of several waves. Network analyses will be carried out on peer nomination data using the multilevel p2 model and SIENA.

Supervision: S. Lindenberg, T.A.B Snijders, R. Veenstra

 

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The Framing of Decision Situations.

Orthodox versions of Rational Action Theory postulate the maximization of a situation-invariant utility measure as the mechanism that underlies actors' behaviour. This postulate, as powerful as it is for predicting behaviour in a multitude of applications, also has its downside. Empirical results by decision theorists have proven that actual decision making is reliably incompatible with utility maximization in many applications, and that mental inertia as well as context cues can accurately account for these observed deviations from utility predictions. In the dissertation, it is argued that the insistence on utility maximization limits the scope of Rational Action Theory. As an alternative, a cognitive variant of Rational Action is elaborated: Framing Theory. Here, maximizing behaviour in the form of rational goal pursuit only occurs after the content of the goal is identified. This goal identification, however, is non-rational and driven by cognitive automatisms. The theory is formalized as a probability model for various types of choice data, which allows for detailed tests of the theory and its applications by means of model fitting. In a couple of experiments, the new methodology of data analysis is illustrated, and tests against more orthodox utility models are presented for validating Framing Theory's increased predictive as well as descriptive accuracy. Special attention is paid to the application of Framing Theory to behaviour in social dilemma situations. Here, the distiction between normative and gain framing is shown to substantially reflect actual behaviour in cooperation decisions, pointing out the adequacy of a cognitive approach to the study of strategic games. Overall, the data analytical method as well as theoretical actor model of framing theory are shown to be a fruitful contribution to sociological methodology.

Supervisors: Siegwart Lindenberg (RUG), Tom Snijders (RUG).

 

The Supply of Day Care.

Previous to the 1990s day-care supply in the Netherlands was lagging behind compared to most other European countries. Therefore, the Dutch government introduced the Stimulative Measures on Child Care at the end of the 1980s. These supply-side subsidies were used to increase day-care supply, especially in day-care centers. The Stimulative Measures were set up as a public-private partnership (government and employers). Employers were given an important role in the Stimulative Measures, via the so-called employer-financed places. In addition to the involvement of employers, the decentralization of policy from the central to the local government was an important aspect of the Stimulative Measures on Child Care. As a result, child care increasingly became the responsibility of municipalities and this had consequences for differences in the availability of child care between municipalities. Using data on day-care supply in Dutch municipalities between 1989 and 1995, the analyses show that day-care supply in municipalities was indeed increasingly determined by demand for day care by employers. However, parental income became a much stronger determinant of day-care supply between 1989 and 1995. This suggests that employers shift part of the costs to the parents and/or that relatively more high-income parents started using day care. This means that municipal day-care supply became more dependent on the municipality's employment structure. It also means that day care became less accessible for low-income parents.
The Stimulative Measures ended in 1995, which meant that day-care centers had to become more oriented toward the market. This transition from the welfare sector to the market sector is in line with government policy in recent years which has been characterized by a withdrawal of the collective in favor of the market sector. Day-care center decision-makers have now become social entrepreneurs contracting for money. Commercialization of the child-care sector is supposed to lead to increased efficiency, but it can also be expected to reduce the quality and accessibility of day care.
The second part of the study focuses on the effects of increased commercialization on efficiency, quality, and the accessibility of day care. These effects were studied on the basis of a survey among Dutch day-care centers. The analyses show that more commercialization in the day-care market can be expected to lead to more efficiency, a lower quality of care (staff/child ratio), and relatively fewer subsidized places, indicating a decreased accessibility of day care

Supervisors: J.J. Siegers, S. Lindenberg, and IJ.H. van Emmerik

 

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Inside an internal labor Market: Formal Rules, Flexibility, and Career Lines in a Dutch Manufacturing Company.

Within internal labor markets, the allocation of employees is governed by formal rule structures, which subsequently affect the careers of employees. Although these rigid structures are usually regarded as efficient, the situation raises the question as to how these structures are used considering that flexibility is necessary too. Two potential sources of flexibility can be distinguished: deviations from the formal rule structure or changing the formal rule structure itself. On a theoretically level, it was argued that deviations from these formal rule structures are not very helpful due to the damage to the legitimacy of the structure. As a result, changing the formal rule structure is more likely. However, this does not solve the problem in all detail. Although change does make it possible to address problems in the production domain of an organization, it simultaneously creates problems in the relational domain. In fact the demand for flexibility which is usually external to the rules itself creates an endogenous need for flexibility.
The empirical part of this research was conducted in a large Dutch manufacturing firm. In this firm, both the flexibility strategies as well as the effects of this strategies have been studied in detail. It turned out that the firm was confronted with a large number of changes which affected the application of the existing formal rule structures (such as technological changes, changes in the external labor market, changing management philosophies). As was expected, the demand for flexibility was addressed by changing the formal rule structures frequently. By changing the formal rule structures, new problems from the production domain and the relational domain of the organizations have been solved. However, the endogenous need for flexibility was solved by deviations after the new formal rule structure was developed. In order to solve the remaining relational problems with the present employees, formal deviations were allowed during a short period. The results of these application strategies could be observed rather clearly in the career lines of the employees (of 1600 employees during the period 1977-1992). The theory was capable of explaining the rather surprising content of the empirically observed career lines. Formal rule structures and the ongoing demand for flexibility turned out to be the critical elements for the explanation of these empirical variations.

 

The Effect of Collective Humiliation on Terrorist Radicalization.

Radical Muslims in West-Europe often state that their radical attitudes and behaviors are a reaction to perceived humiliation of their “Muslim brothers” in the Islamic world. Seemingly, they do not have to feel personally humiliated in order to radicalize; perceived humiliation of the in-group (e.g., cartoon crises) or its subgroups (e.g., Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan; Palestine – Israel conflict) apparently suffices in triggering a radical shift in attitudes and behaviors in them. Focusing on radicalization among Muslims in the Netherlands, the project examines whether collective humiliation (the perception that ones in-group or its subgroups are humiliated) can contribute to radicalization, and to what degree this depends on the level of identification with the relevant in-group. The project uses a multi-disciplinary approach. First, experiments will be conducted that test the causal relationship between collective humiliation and radicalization. Thereafter, the experimentally investigated mechanisms will be applied to guide field research of Islamist inspired radicalization in The Netherlands.

Supervisors: S. Lindenberg , E. H. Gordijn, R. Veenstra

 

Egoism, Altruism and Social Justice. Theory and experiments on cooperation in social dilemmas.

The central question in this thesis is how to explain cooperative or altruistic behaviour in situations in which there is no egoistic incentive to display such behaviour, namely in anonymous social dilemmas. To provide an answer to this question a new model is proposed:
the Constrained Egoism Model. The basic assumption of this model is that people like to be able to perceive themselves as fair persons. This implies that they assign a positive value to fair own behaviour as such. That is: even if their behaviour is not observed by others, people value adherence to norms of social justice. Seven experimental studies have been presented in which the model is developed and tested.
During these tests the Constrained Egoism model was compared with the Altruistic Model based on the work of Margolis (1982). Margolis' model predicts that, all else being equal, people will behave more altruistically to the degree that such behaviour has more positive consequences for the group. The Constrained Egoism Model predicts that, all else being
equal, the larger the benefits that one's own altruistic behaviour bestows on others, the lower the level of altruistic behaviour that is needed to reciprocate the benefits that one received from them. The results of the tests gave far more support to the Constrained Egoism Model.
Consequently this model has been developed further.
Finally the Constrained Egoism Theory is compared with other theories explaining non-egoistic behaviour e.g the theories proposed by Caporael et al.(1989).

Supervisors: S. Lindenberg and H. Wilke

 

Verschillen in ziekenhuisgebruik.
(Differences in the use of hospitals).

The central task of this study is the description and explanation of regional differences in the length of stay in hospital for a number of frequently encountered surgical procedures in the Netherlands. Four procedures displayed considerable regional differences in duration of hospitalization. The differences were noticeably smaller for the other procedures. Following this, the size of the differences in duration of hospitalization was examined within regions between hospitals. The differences between hospitals within the regions are great. It was concluded that the causes of differences in length of stay should therefore not be sougth at the regional level, but at a lower level of analysis: the hospital. The question was then posed whether the hospital level might not also be too high a level of analysis. The result of the analysis showed that differences in length of stay occur at the level of the hospital ward; close to the level of the individuals involved. The explanation question is thus adapted and reads as follows: Why does the average lenth of hospital stay for procedure-specific groups of patients differ between hospital wards in the Netherlands and what is the role of medical specialists and other relevant actors in bringing about these differences?
In constructing the theoretical model, we focus on three actors: the doctor, the patient and the hospital management. It is assumed that the doctor is the central actor in arriving at the length of stay decision, this assumption was later confirmed in the analysis. In the model the following two instrumental goals doctors pursue are formulated: avoiding criticism in order to maintain social approval from colleagues and patients and generation of income in order to increase physical well-being. These instrumental goals are, in turn, linked to lower level instrumental goals or 'production conditions' under which doctors make their decisions concerning patients' length of hospitalization: the degree of bed shortage, the doctor's remuneration system, the patient's occupational status. This stepwise process of theoretical analysis resulted in ten hypotheses, which were tested in four empirical studies.

Supervisors: S.M. Lindenberg and P.P. Groenewegen

Selectie en allocatie op de arbeidsmarkt. Een uitwerking voor de informele en geïnstitutionaliseerde kinderopvang.
(Selection and Allocation in the Labour Market. An elaboration on the informal en institutionalized child care.)

This thesis deals with labour market allocation mechanisms and particularly with the role of educational qualifications. This investigation into these mechanisms builds on Thurow's wage and job competition models (1975), Simon's theory of labour relations (1957) and Lindenberg's social production function (1988). In the model developed here selection in the labour market is looked upon as a process in which the foundation is laid for a long term weak solidarity relation. During the process of selection signals may be given aimed at establishing mutual trust. In the employment relation-signalling theory it is elaborated which signals employers have at their disposal to lay the foundation for a relation of trust. In the job structure theory it is argued how employers fit relational signals into establishing a job hierarchy structure. The implications for the importance of educational qualifications in the selection for various jobs is discussed.
Next, two labour market segments are described by means of this model. The first segment is the informal child care in which rates are settled during processes of negotiation. Although the recruiters say that educational level hardly plays any part in the selection and that this is certainly the case in establishing the rates, it is shown that higher educated people earn higher hourly wages. The hourly wage does not only depend on the educational level of the child minder, but certainly also on the family income. Low income families more often bind their child minder by means of informal mechanisms (investing in time and coffee).
In the institutionalized child care there is a strong relationship between job level and pay.
Admission to the various jobs can only be obtained when the conditions of educational and vocational conditions are met. The correlation between job and educational qualifications is based on institutionalized, formalized trust between the education system and the labour market system.
The empirical analysis shows how allocation and selection in the labour market works
for tasks that show a strong similarity, but whose institutionalized conditions are totally different. In both contexts it becomes apparent that higher educated people earn higher wages. The models developed in this thesis expose the mechanisms upon which these processes are based.

Supervisor: S. Lindenberg

 

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Interdependence and Informal Control in Organizations.

Modern companies increasingly rely on teamwork, trust, and 'flat' organizational structures in order to improve their flexibility. The members of 'self-organizing' teams now often carry the responsibility of both resolving work-related conflicts and monitoring the performance of their peers. Peer pressure, as it emerges in such workgroups, is widely considered to be an extremely powerful instrument for securing high performance. However, organizations vary considerably in how their members deal with grievances caused by their colleagues. Temporary avoidance, gossiping, public insults, but also friendly peacemaking, informal mediation or toleration - all of these behaviors are part of the vast spectrum of how people in organizations react to the undesirable behavior of their peers. The purpose of this research is to find out more about why differences in sanctioning behavior exist and how they differ in their consequences.
Drawing on an ethnographic study of informal control in the management team of a German paper factory and on longitudinal social network research in four Dutch organizations, the study develops and tests a theory of informal control behavior and its consequences for intra-organizational cooperation, focusing on the distinction between direct vs. indirect sanctions. Particular attention receive conditions that result in a decrease of peer control activities, as well as the impact of social capital on control behavior.
Within the management team under investigation, the giving of professional advice constituted a crucial element in the process of informal control. The ethnographic evidence shows that social control activities in the management team could flourish as long as sanctions were not challenging the existing hierarchy of professional status in the team. When changes in the formal structure of the organization led to a reinterpretation of professional advice as a status strategy, a partial breakdown of the system of informal peer control was the result. The engineers and managers started to react more and more passively on problems caused by their colleagues, or invoked formal control strategies rather than trying to resolve the problem directly.
From the network study it became evident that a large number of structural holes and coalitions in the personal network of a controller were foud to increase the use of indirect and formal control strategies, whereas a large number of weak ties has the opposite effect. However, neither the number of trust relations nor a high degree of network closure has a significant effect on control strategy choice. A particularly striking result consists in the finding that informal third-party control (via gossip) proved to have negative results on cooperation in virtually all situations, and that women are more active social controllers than men.

Supervisors: S. Lindenberg and T.A.B. Snijders

Rafael Wittek now works as a Professor at the Sociology Department in Groningen.

 

Testing goal-framing theory.

This project focuses on experimental tests of goal-framing theory.

Supervisors: Steg (Social Psychology) and S. Lindenberg.