Professor Eva Knies

PROFESSOR OF STRATEGIC HRM

 

Utrecht University School of Governance

Bijlhouwerstraat 6, room -1.13

3511 ZC Utrecht

The Netherlands

+31 30 253 9696/8101

E.Knies@uu.nl

Welcome to my website

 

My name is Eva Knies and I'm Professor of Strategic Human Resource Management at Utrecht University School of Governance, The Netherlands.

 

My main professional interests are: strategic Human Resource Management (HRM), leadership, public service performance, and employability. My mission is to conduct societal relevant research in order to contribute to high-quality service provision in public sector organisations.

I received my education at Utrecht University (MA, 2005; MSc, 2007, cum laude). In 2012, I received my doctorate from Utrecht University (cum laude). In 2013, I was a visiting research associate at King's College London.

I hope that you'll find the information you are looking for. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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RESEARCH
 

My main research interests are Strategic HRM, leadership, public service performance, and sustainable employability. Below you can find more information about these themes. If you are interested in the publications listed here, please see my profiles on ResearchGate or Google Scholar or contact me.

RESEARCH PROJECTS

I've conducted several large research projects, including my PhD research on HRM and performance in a large financial service provider in the Netherlands (2007-2010, together with professor Peter Leisink), two international comparative research projects funded by the European Commission and coordinated by professor Stephen Bach ('Managing workforce change: strengthening public services social dialogue in an era of austerity', 2011-2013; 'New challenges for public services social dialogue', 2013-2014), and a research project on the employability of older police officers commissioned by the Dutch Police Academy (2012, together with professor Jo Thijssen). For my current projects see Current Projects.

PHD SUPERVISION

I'm supervising the PhD projects of Evelien van Leeuwen on professional performance and sustainable employability of older medical specialists (2018-present, promotores: professors Eva Knies, Jan-Willem Lammers & Toon Taris, co-promotor: dr. Liesbeth van Rensen), Julia Penning de Vries on HRM in secondary education (2016-present, promotores: professors Eva Knies & Peter Leisink), and Robert van Kleeff on lean management in health care (2016-present, promotores: professors Paul Boselie & Eva Knies, co-promotor: dr. Jasmijn van Harten). From 2012-2016, I supervised the PhD project of Jasmijn van Harten (dissertation: 'Employable ever after').

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Together with professor Lotte Andersen (Aarhus University), professor Peter Leisink (Utrecht University), dr. Wouter Vandenabeele (Utrecht University), and dr. Christian Jacobsen (Aarhus University), I'm co-chair of the Study Group 'Public Personnel Policies' of the European Group for Public Administration.

Together with professor Gene Brewer (University of Georgia), professor Sangmook Kim (Seoul National University), and dr. Wouter Vandenabeele (Utrecht University), I'm co-chair of the Study Group 'Strategic HRM and organisational behaviour in the public sector' of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences.

I'm a professional member of the Academy of Management (HR and OB divisions), and the Dutch HRM Network.

JOURNALS

I'm an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Human Resource Management. I act as reviewer for: Group & Organization Management, Human Resource Management Journal, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Personnel Review, Public Administration, Public Administration Review, and Review of Public Personnel Administration (selection).

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Below I've listed my main publications per theme. I also have some publications in the category 'other'. These are listed here:

  • Leisink, P.L.M., Knies, E. & Van Loon, N.M. (forthcoming), Does public service motivation matter? A study of participation in various volunteering domains, International Public Management Journal.

  • Knies, E. (2016), Entries on 'AMO model', 'job satisfaction, and 'organizational citizenship behaviour', in: A. Wilkinson & S. Johnstone, Encyclopaedia of Human Resource Management, Edward Elgar.

  • Weske, U., Leisink, P.L.M. & Knies, E. (2014), Local government austerity policies in the Netherlands: The effectiveness of social dialogue in preserving public service employment, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 20, 403-416.

  • De Lange, W.A.M., Leisink, P.L.M. & Knies, E. (2011), Lerend vernieuwen in de praktijk: Fundamenteel vernieuwen van HRM-beleid bij Achmea, Tijdschrift voor HRM, 14, 70-88. (in Dutch)

  • Knies, E. & Leisink, P.L.M. (2008), Wie wil er (nou) voor de overheid werken?, Bestuurswetenschappen, 62, 14-35. (in Dutch)

HRM & People Management
 

One of my research interests is Strategic HRM and people management. I'm not just interested in HR policies and practices as such, but also in the role middle and frontline managers play in their implementation. I use the term people management to refer to managers' implementation of HR practices and their leadership behaviour oriented at supporting the employees they supervise at work.

I'm interested in the antecedents (why do some managers do a better job in people management than others?) and effects of people management on employee (well-being, satisfaction) and organisational outcomes (extra-role behaviour, performance).

I've studied HRM and people management in various contexts: financial services, elderly care, education, and police.

People management in the public sector

E. Knies & P.L.M. Leisink (2017)

In: C. Brewster & J.L. Cerdin, Not For The Money: People Management in Mission Driven Organizations, Palgrave

This chapter discusses people management in public sector organizations, starting from the idea that it is their mission that makes public organizations different from private organizations. The mission-driven character of public organizations is a key distinctive characteristic that impacts on people management in combination with other distinctive features including the constraints on managerial discretion, perceptions of red tape, and employees’ public service motivation. It is also acknowledged that other specific contextual features should be taken into account as the public sector consists of a variety of organizational settings. This chapter focuses on the generic characteristics that make people management in public organizations distinctive and describes how these impact the effect people management has on societal, organizational, and employee outcomes.

HRM and public personnel reforms in European countries

P.L.M. Leisink & E. Knies (2017)

In: S. van Thiel & E. Ongaro, Public Administration and Public Management in Europe, Palgrave

This review of the literature on public personnel reforms and public sector HRM concentrates on three major topics. First, studies show that NPM continues to influence public personnel policies across Europe, not so much by a further decentralization and increase in managerial autonomy regarding HR decision-making but by a partial reorientation of the public service ethic. Second, studies provide evidence that leadership matters for the implementation of public management reforms and the improvement of public service performance. Research shows that HRM can help develop effective leadership. Third, studies have shown that HRM can contribute to a public service motivated workforce. However, recent studies also highlight that the relationship between PSM and performance is complex and contingent, and that there is also a dark side to PSM.

Linking people management and extra-role behaviour: results of a longitudinal study

E. Knies & P.L.M. Leisink (2014)

In: Human Resource Management Journal, 24 (1), 57-76

This article examines the validity of the assumption that employees' perceptions of those people management activities of their supervisor that impact on employees' abilities, motivation and opportunities to perform influence employee extra-role behaviour. The results of a longitudinal survey with data from 3,368 employees provide support for this assumption. This study's distinctive features – the concept of people management that involves the management of HR implementation, the longitudinal research design, and the use of the AMO framework for specifying the linkages between HRM and performance – make it possible to address the core questions in the HRM-performance debate that still remain unanswered according to Guest.

Meer waarde voor en door medewerkers

E. Knies (2012)

Doctoral dissertation Utrecht University

In this dissertation the mechanisms linking people management and outcomes are studied. By using the concept people management it is acknowledged that line managers play a crucial role in HRM implementation, and that their leadership behaviour is important in shaping employees' perceptions of HRM. Using a balanced approach to performance, both employee and organisational outcomes are studied. The AMO model is used as a conceptual model to link people management and outcomes. The study shows that both employees and organisations benefit from people management. (in Dutch)

A high performance work system in a multi-stakeholder context

E. Knies, P.L.M. Leisink &

P. Boselie (2012)

In: T. Dundon & A. Wilkinson, Case studies in Global Management: Strategy, Innovation and People Management, Tilde University Press

This chapter is a case study on the renewal of HR policies and practices, which resulted in a high performance work system (HPWS) at the Dutch insurance company Achmea. It is based on my PhD research. This chapter is a case study in which theory (HPWS, AMO, balanced approach) is used to analysed the case. It is particularly helpful to use in teaching.

When do supervisors support ‘tailor-made’ work arrangements? An exploratory study

E. Knies (2011)

In: Labour and Industry, 21 (3), 621-643

This study investigates the conditions under which supervisors support employees' demands for ‘tailor-made’ employment arrangements. Although it is assumed that these arrangements are generally beneficial for both employees and employers, conditions under which tailoring takes place have not been studied systematically. To investigate supervisor support for tailor-made employment arrangements, interviews were conducted with 19 supervisors drawn from a financial service provider. From the interviews, it is concluded that a number of conditions need to be met for supervisors to provide support for tailor-made arrangements. First, supervisors require organisational knowledge as well as people management skills (i.e. ability) to tailor employment arrangements. Second, supervisors are more likely to encourage tailor-made employment arrangements when senior management gives attention to human resource- related topics in management team meetings and introduces HR-related targets (i.e. motivation). Third, the relationship between supervisors and their superiors was found to be important, as was providing supervisors with sufficient freedom of action to tailor employment conditions to meet employees' preferences (i.e. opportunity). These findings provide a rich description of the multiple facets of implementing tailor-made arrangements and therefore are a valuable addition to previous quantitative studies.

Levensfasebewust diversiteitbeleid: De vernieuwing van HR-beleid bij verzekeraar Achmea

P.L.M. Leisink, E. Knies, W.A.M. de Lange (2010)

In: Tijdschrift voor HRM, 13 (4), 53-85

Nowadays the life course in western societies is seen as de-standardized, meaning that people are believed to combine and vary, throughout their life course, the activities and roles that used to belong to one specific stage of the classic life course idea. However, researchers continue to use calendar age as a proxy for a particular life stage. By contrast the research reported in this article is based on the self-identification by employees with a particular work-life stage. In addition, the concept of work-life stage diversity is seen as a perspective to study how various aspects of employee diversity (including visible aspects such as age and gender and less visible aspects such as work ethic) combine to bring forth particular configurations of employee needs. This concept of work-life stage diversity has been pioneered by Achmea, an insurance company with a long history of innovative HR-policies. Studying the results of a three year process of innovation of HR-policies directed by the concept of work-life stage diversity is of interest in various theoretical and practical respects. First, it offers the opportunity to examine the difference between calendar age and life stage based on self-identification. Second, the relevance for HR-policies of the work- life stage concept, which combines career and private life needs of employees, can be examined. Third, the assumption that HR-policies that relate positively to employee needs will produce positive employee and organizational outcomes can be examined. The article reports the results and discusses the conditions that make this kind of innovation of HR-policies a success. (in Dutch)

People management: developing and testing a measurement scale

E. Knies, P.L.M. Leisink & R. van de Schoot (2017)

In: International Journal of Human Resource Management

The central concept in this study is people management, referring to line managers’ implementation of human resource management practices and their leadership behaviour oriented at supporting the employees they supervise at work. In this study we conceptualize people management and develop a multidimensional scale to measure it from the perspectives of both employees and line managers. Using a Study 1/Study 2 design, including two-wave multilevel data from employees and line managers of a financial service provider, and cross-sectional data from teachers, educational support staff, and supervisors, we demonstrate the scale’s reliability and multidimensionality across samples and over time. We provide evidence of the convergent validity by showing that employees’ and line managers’ perceptions of people management are significantly related, and that people management is significantly related to transformational and transactional leadership. Also, we demonstrate that people management adds explained variance above and beyond transformational and transactional leadership in predicting team performance. We demonstrate criterion-related validity through people management’s relationship with job satisfaction, commitment, and work engagement. We discuss the implications of our measure for theory and research on people management, its antecedents, and its effects.

Public Value & Public Service Performance
 

The question what performance is for private organisations is relatively easy to answer. For public and non-profit organisations, 'performance' is much harder to define and measure. Political authorities decide what public value should be created by public organisations. However, multiple public values govern the process of public value creation. Consequently, public organisations typically have multiple goals. The resulting goal ambiguity makes the question as to what constitutes ‘performance’ – the actual public value created – a moot point in practice and research.

I'm interested in the question how public service performance can be defined and how public management/public managers can contribute to excellent service provision. My VENI project (see under Current Projects) addresses these questions in two sectors (elderly care, secondary education) and three countries (the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK).

Towards an empirical research agenda for public value theory

J. Hartley, J. Alford, E. Knies & S. Douglas (2016)

In: Public Management Review

There is considerable scholarly writing about the theory and application of public value concepts, but this article explores why there is, by contrast, so little empirical research on public value. The article then goes on to provide a framework and a research agenda for inspiring and guiding new empirical research, based on three different conceptualizations of public value, with researchers needing to be explicit about which approach they are using in order to avoid confusion. While case studies have been used as a research method, the authors suggest a much wider array of potential research methods (depending on the research question) covering both quantitative and qualitative approaches and with a wider variety of designs, including comparative analysis. It is suggested that empirical research is undertaken with a more diverse range of stakeholders of public value, breaking out of the public manager-centric approach. This is an exciting agenda for research, though the paper warns that public value may fade from view unless empirical research is undertaken to test, challenge and extend the scholarly contributions.

Hoe draagt peoplemanagement bij aan publieke dienstverlening van medewerkers bij de gemeente?

E. de Weert, E. Knies & E. van Veghel (2015)

In: Tijdschrift voor HRM

In both theory and practice, there is attention for the relationship between HRM and performance. However, up until now most studies have been conducted in the private sector; public sector studies are scarce. This study is conducted at the Customer Service Centre of the Dutch municipality of Rotterdam. We examined to what extent people management contributes to employees’ in-role behavior and their public service performance. We focus on people management as this concept captures HRM implementation and leadership behavior by managers. We studied people management by both line managers and coordinators because both actors have managerial tasks; the line manager is the formal supervisor, and the coordinator is responsible for the day-to-day support of employees. The results of this study provide insight into the relationship between people management and performance in a specific public sector setting. Our findings can contribute to the effectiveness of strategic HR activities and leadership in local government. The results of our study show that people management by line managers and coordinators contributes to employees’ in-role behavior and their public service performance. An important implication is that to improve customer service, attention is needed for leadership development of both line managers and coordinators. (in Dutch)

Public value creation and strategic human resource management: Public service motivation as a linking mechanism

W. Vandenabeele, P.L.M. Leisink, E. Knies (2013)

In: P.L.M. Leisink, P. Boselie, M. van Bottenburg & D.M. Hosking, Managing Social Issues: A Public Values Perspective,

Edward Elgar

The aim of this chapter is to identify and delineate the public value creation concept and link it to, and elaborate on, management strategy. First, the concept of strategy is discussed, how it relates to human resource management (HRM) and how in the public sector public value and public values fit in, answering the question what it is that public sector organizations should deliver. Second, the question as to what role HRM can play in delivering this type of performance is examined. By including the role of HRM in the analysis of public service performance, we tap into the HRM-performance research that has generated insights. This theoretical expansion links well with a distinctive feature of public sector employees, that is, their public service motivation. Therefore, third, the question is answered of how a focus on employees’ reactions to managerial actions, and particularly on public service motivation, can help to understand how public value is created. By answering these three questions, this chapter provides an integrated strategic perspective that can help public sector organizations deliver valuable public service performance.

Strategic human resource management and public sector performance: Context matters

E. Knies, P. Boselie, J.S. Gould-Williams & W.V. Vandenabeele

In: International Journal of Human Resource Management

This is the introduction to a special issue on Strategic HRM and public sector performance in the International Journal of Human Resource Management. In this editorial, we introduce the topic of SHRM and public sector performance and advocate the importance of studying HRM in a public sector context. We argue that the public sector is not just another context when it comes to studying questions of HRM and performance. We believe there are often far-reaching implications for the study of HRM within the public sector, so applying ‘what works’ in private sector contexts to the public sector is too simplistic. We do not believe scholars should view lessons from private sector studies as ‘business as usual’ by giving no or limited thought to the public sector context. That’s why we build a case for contextualizing in HRM while maintaining a balance between rigor and relevance.

Strategic human resource management and public sector performance: Context matters

E. Knies, P. Boselie, J.S. Gould-Williams & W.V. Vandenabeele

In: International Journal of Human Resource Management

This is the introduction to a special issue on Strategic HRM and public sector performance in the International Journal of Human Resource Management. In this editorial, we introduce the topic of SHRM and public sector performance and advocate the importance of studying HRM in a public sector context. We argue that the public sector is not just another context when it comes to studying questions of HRM and performance. We believe there are often far-reaching implications for the study of HRM within the public sector, so applying ‘what works’ in private sector contexts to the public sector is too simplistic. We do not believe scholars should view lessons from private sector studies as ‘business as usual’ by giving no or limited thought to the public sector context. That’s why we build a case for contextualizing in HRM while maintaining a balance between rigor and relevance.

Frontline managers’ contribution to mission achievement: A study of how people management affects thoughtful care

E. Knies, P.L.M. Leisink & S. Kraus-Hoogeveen (2018)

In: Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership, & Governance

This study addresses the question to what extent frontline managers’ people management activities contribute to mission achievement through frontline workers’ behaviors. Drawing on the case of elderly care, we contribute to the literature by (1) providing a compact measure of mission achievement in elderly care and specifying the requisite employee behaviors; and (2) by showing that frontline managers’ people management activities impact on employees’ behaviors, and ultimately on mission achievement. In doing so, we also contribute to more knowledge about elderly care, which is an under-researched sector, and about the role of line managers (instead of top managers) in implementation.

Public Leadership
 

In the public administration discipline, there have been a number of important studies on leadership within public sector organizations (for instance Fernandez 2005; Wright et al. 2012; Jacobsen and Andersen 2015). However, compared to related disciplines such as psychology and business management, the public administration literature is lagging behind. Hansen and Villadsen (2010: 247) concluded that, compared to other disciplines, ‘leadership theory has generally received little attention in public management research’. In a recent literature review on administrative leadership, Van Wart (2013) is more nuanced, stating that there has been a substantial development. However, he also noted that ‘fragmentation and conflicting nomenclature continue to be a problem, but at a more sophisticated level’ (p. 538). More specifically, Vogel and Masal (2015: 1179) argue in their overview study that ‘in current research on public leadership, the emphasis is still on the aspect of “leadership” rather than on the “public” element’ and that ‘research on public leadership needs to pay more attention to publicness itself’. (Tummers & Knies, 2016: 433)

I'm interested in the question what public leadership is, and what it can contribute to public service performance. This contribution is particularly relevant in a public sector context given the fact that it is often argued that public managers are constraint by government rules and regulations and as such are not able to have a significant impact on performance.

Leadership and organizational performance: state of the art and research agenda

E. Knies, C.B. Jacobsen & L.G. Tummers (2016)

In: J. Storey, J. Hartley, J.L. Denis, P. 't Hart & D. Ulrich, 

The Routledge Companion to Leadership, Routledge

A large portion of the everyday discourse about leadership and leaders takes it for granted that leaders make a big difference in terms of performance. However, the academic literature finds it hard to find reliable evidence for a clear association, because both main concepts (leadership and performance) are broad and difficult to define and because of many confounding variables that make it difficult to demonstrate clear cause and effect. But while some academics have seemingly abandoned the attempt to tackle this difficult but central subject, there are some who seek to trace the relationship. In this chapter we systematically examine the relationship between leadership and performance, both theoretically and empirically. We use public leadership and performance as illustrative of our analysis. We conclude with an overview of the current state of the literature and we outline a research agenda.

Measuring public leadership: Developing scales for four public leadership roles

L.G. Tummers & E. Knies (2016)

In: Public Administration, 94, 433-451

This article on public leadership contributes to the literature by focusing on the ‘public’ aspect of leadership and developing quantitative scales for measuring four public leadership roles. These roles all refer to the extent to which public leaders actively support their employees in dealing with public sector issues: (1) accountability leadership, (2) rule-following leadership, (3) political loyalty leadership, and (4) network governance leadership. We tested the factor structure using exploratory and confirmatory analyses, with satisfactory results. Also, as expected, the scales for public leadership relate to transformational leadership and leadership effectiveness. The scales also correlate with organizational commitment, work engagement and turnover intention. These results indicate that our four scales of public leadership work adequately. We conclude with a future research agenda on how the scales can be used in survey and experimental research. (See under Scales for the items measuring public leadership)

Leadership behavior in public organizations: A study of supervisory support by police and medical center middle managers

E. Knies & P.L.M. Leisink (2014)

In: Review of Public Personnel Administration, 34, 108-127

Leadership behavior is recognized as an important variable in the Human Resource Management (HRM)- Performance chain. However, in most studies, leadership behavior is viewed as an independent variable, and one that influences employees’ attitudes and behavior. Because of this premise, claims that public managers’ discretionary room for supervisory support is constrained, and that personal motivation is the most important reason for a manager engaging in supervisory support, have not been systematically examined. This article fills this gap by examining the antecedents of supervisory support by middle managers in the police force and in an academic medical center in the Netherlands. The results show that the extent of the discretionary room that middle managers experience has an effect on supervisory support and that this relationship is mediated by their willingness to support employees. Furthermore, a manager’s supportive ability is an important additional antecedent.

Leadership and meaningful work in the public sector

L.G. Tummers & E. Knies (2013)

In: Public Administration Review, 73 (6), 859-868

There have been many important studies on leadership in the public administration discipline; however, scholarly inquiry still lags behind related disciplines such as psychology and business administration. This article helps fill that gap by analyzing the role that public leaders play in making work more meaningful for their employees, which, in turn, has a positive influence on employee job outcomes. Specifically, the authors analyze the mediating role of work meaningfulness in the relationships between leader-member exchange and organizational commitment, work effort, and work-to-family enrichment. Samples from education, health care, and local government are used. Results show that leadership strongly influences work meaningfulness, which, in turn, influences job outcomes. In addition, the impact and extent of leadership and work meaningfulness are higher in health care and education than in local government. The results emphasize the importance of leadership and meaningful work in the public sector.

Employability & Older Workers
 
TEACHING
Employer's investments in hospital workers' employability and employment opportunities

E.J. van Harten, E. Knies &

P.L.M. Leisink (2016)

In: Personnel Review, 45 (1), 84-102

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between employer’s investments (through job characteristics and managerial support) and employees’ employment opportunities, with employability, conceptualized as perceived up-to-date expertise and willingness to change, as a mediating variable. Hypotheses are tested using structural equation modeling on survey data collected from 1,626 employees of three Dutch hospitals. Consistent with the hypotheses, the results indicate that job characteristics and managerial support are indirectly related to employees’ beliefs on employment opportunities, with the relationship mediated by up-to-date expertise and willingness to change. Further, managerial support is directly related to employees’ employment opportunities. This paper contributes to the literature by elaborating a consistent conceptualization and measurement of employability, by incorporating as antecedents both job characteristics and managerial support, and by examining to what extent employability mediates between these antecedents and employment opportunities. Previous studies refer to the same definition of employability but conceptualize this in different ways, and focus on either job characteristics or managerial support, and so fail to provide a systematic and comprehensive examination.

Vergrijzing en loopbaanverwachting bij de politie: De betekenis van ervaringsopbouw en ontwikkelingsondersteuning

E. Knies, J.G.L. Thijssen & P.L.M. Leisink (2016)

In: Tijdschrift voor HRM

This article examines the relationship between age and (1) current professional expertise as indicated by recent updates of expertise or learning experiences, labelled here as ‘experience acquisition’; and (2) career expectations as indicated by perceived career opportunities in the nearby future. In addition, this article examines to what extent developmental support provided by the supervisor is related to employees’ experience acquisition, notably their current professional expertise. This article reports a study of the Dutch police force, which sees a steady increase in workforce age and which has instilled policies aimed at offering supervisor support to promote employee up-to-date expertise. The study’ s results show that age is related to career expectations, both directly and indirectly through experience acquisition. Moreover, supervisors’ developmental support appears to be positively related to experience acquisition. (in Dutch)

The role of line managers in motivation of older workers

E. Knies, P.L.M. Leisink & J.G.L. Thijssen (2014)

In: P.M. Bal, T.A.M. Kooij & D.M. Rousseau, Aging workers and the employment relationship, Springer

This chapter sets out to answer the question as to what extent and how line managers support older workers at work and to what extent their support influences the motivation and productivity of older workers. The role of line managers in the implementation of Human Resource (HR) policies has grown over the years. This role is particularly important in the case of older workers as their situations differ greatly and line managers can tailor HR policies to their individual preferences. The support which line managers provide to older workers has a positive effect on their motivation to continue in work and on their productivity. An important issue is whether line managers are able and willing to support older workers. An overview of relevant factors which impact on line manager’s activities shows that negative stereotypes about older workers have become less salient in recent years. Meanwhile, research shows that the opportunities and support for line managers are important determinants of how they provide actual support for older workers. The implications of these findings are discussed in the concluding section of this chapter.

Aging as a career development challenge in organisations

J.G.L. Thijssen, E. Knies & P.L.M. Leisink (2014)

In: N. Chalofsky, T. Rocco & L. Morris, The Handbook of HRD: theory and application, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

In this chapter we examine what is distinctive about the cognitive capacities of older workers and the way in which their knowledge and expertise affect their employability. We do so by, first, presenting three cases which illustrate the career challenges that older workers in various categories of jobs face. These cases suggest that employees’ career development is impacted by individual characteristics of older workers, notably their knowledge and expertise, on the one hand, and by organizations’ HRD policies and their implementation by line managers on the other.

Line managers' support for older workers

P.L.M. Leisink & E. Knies (2011)

In: International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22 (9), 1899-1914

Line managers make a difference when it comes to older workers continuing to participate in the labour market. Depending on their coaching abilities, and their willingness to use these abilities, line managers can offer social support to those older workers that they supervise. This willingness is to an extent dependent on the opportunities for action that the organization provides to line managers. Contrary to earlier research, our study based on a survey of 160 front line managers, failed to find evidence that the social support that line managers provide is influenced by negative stereotypical attitudes about the lack of flexibility and the performance of older workers. This study adds new insights into the determinants of line managers' activities and underlines the essential role that front-line managers play in human resource practices for older workers.

Increasingly, organisations emphasize the need for highly employable employees. They want to be able to respond to environmental pressures and technical developments that threaten to render their employees’ existing skills obsolete. I'm interested in the concept of employability (that is, the extent to which employees possess a variety of skills and are willing to adapt to changing job demands), its antecedents (in particular line management support), and effects. I'm particularly interested in older workers' employability.

 
Dealing with a changing work environment: hospital job type contingencies

E.J. van Harten, E. Knies & P.L.M. Leisink (2017)

In: Journal of Health Organization and Management

Purpose – The paper’s purpose is twofold. First, it is examined whether workers in various hospital job groups differ in their perceptions of the provision of managerial support, and of their up-to-date expertise, willingness to change, and employment opportunities. Second, it is examined whether and how the relationships between managerial support, workers’ up-to-date expertise, willingness to change and their employment opportunities are moderated by hospital job type.

Design/methodology/approach – Survey data were collected from 1,764 employees of three Dutch hospitals. ANOVAs and structural equation modeling were used to test the hypotheses.

Findings – The research findings indicate significant differences between the hospital job groups with regard to up-to-date expertise, willingness to change, and employment opportunities. No support was found for differences in managerial support nor for a moderating effect of hospital job type. The latter means that the relationships of managerial support with workers’ up-to-date expertise, willingness to change, and employment opportunities are independent of job type.

Originality/value – Based on the findings, a classification system is constructed that shows how hospital workers’ up-to-date expertise, willingness to change, and employment opportunities can be explained by the combination of the educational level required by a job and its degree of specialization.

I teach courses on the bachelor (undergraduate), master (graduate), and executive level. I've obtained my Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO) in 2011, and my Senior Teaching Qualification (SKO) in 2014. Below you'll find information about the courses I'm currently teaching.

BACHELOR LEVEL
In the first year of the undergraduate programme, I teach a course in Methods & Statistics. Together with colleague Sebastiaan Steenman, I've developed a series of online tutorials for students on the use of SPSS (only available for students from Utrecht University).
In the second year of the undergraduate programme, I teach a course on organisational sciences. In this course, we discuss six influential theories (resource based view, transaction cost, institutional theory, etc.) by going back to the original articles, and discussing their  implications in present-day research.
MASTER LEVEL

I'm the coordinator of the master programme Strategic Human Resource Management, a one-year academic master. In this capacity I'm also a member of the board of the Academic School (BAS).

In the master programme I teach the first course (together with professor Paul Boselie) on Strategic HRM. The starting point for the course are the three principles for effective HRM as outlined by Gratton & Truss (2003): vertical alignment, horizontal alignment, and implementation.

Every year, I also supervise master students who are conducting research for their master thesis project.

EXECUTIVE LEVEL
I'm also involved in executive training. I act as a teacher and moderator in a programme on Strategic HRM in secondary education for school leaders and managers, commissioned by the VO Academy (2013-present).

I’m also programme coordinator for a course on People management for middle managers in secondary education, commissioned by the VO Academy (2017-present).

I've also contributed to several dedicated or in-house executive training programmes for line managers, HR business partners and HR experts and lecturers in different sectors.

CURRENT PROJECTS
 

Below you'll find information about three projects that I'm currently working on: my VENI project 'Capturing the Nature of Public Value Creation', HRM in secondary education, and Future of Work. I'll update the information on a regular basis, so that you'll stay updated. If you have any questions. please do not hesitate to contact me.

On a regular basis, I give presentations for academics and practitioners. The latter include presentations for the Dutch Association for Personnel Management (NVP), the Dutch Association for Residential and Home Care Organisations (ActiZ), and the Dutch Council for Secondary Education (VO-raad).

VENI Project
 

In 2015 I received a VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for conducting a 4-year study (2016-2019) of public service performance and people management in various national (Netherlands, Denmark, UK) and sectoral (healthcare, education) contexts. The project is entitled 'Capturing the nature of public value creation'. Below you’ll find more information about this project.

CAPTURING THE NATURE OF PUBLIC VALUE CREATION
Expectations of what the public value is that welfare states should deliver are changing and rising. This is a fundamental issue in an era where citizens are no longer recipients, but co-producers, of public services, in which tailor-made services are valued over standardized ones and in which ICT changes the nature of public service provision.

This project’s aim is to capture the public value that, according to various stakeholders, elderly care and secondary education organisations should create and to explain which factors and mechanisms contribute to high-quality public service provision. The question this project will answer is: what constitutes public service performance and what are determining factors and mechanisms?

The rationale of the conceptual model underlying this project, which builds on insights from the public management and Human Resource Management bodies of literature, is that the provision of public services is largely dependent on frontline workers’ competencies, attitudes and behaviours and that their supervisors’ people management activities can facilitate high-quality service delivery.

The model will be tested in three countries (Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK) that represent different welfare-state systems since institutional characteristics affect public value creation. Data will be collected from different stakeholders (employees, managers, public-service users) as these all play significant roles in the process of service provision. The research will use a multi-method design combining interviews and focus groups, to capture the nature of public-value creation according to different stakeholders and to raise practitioners’ awareness, with a longitudinal survey to test the proposed causal model.

This study will provide organisations in the fields of elderly care and secondary education with valuable insights into the essence of public value creation and a valid and reliable diagnostic tool to rate their performance and to identify areas where improvements are possible.

Data from Denmark and the UK will be collected by the myself in collaboration with highly respected partners (Denmark: professor Lotte Andersen, Aarhus University; UK: professor Julian Gould-Williams, Cardiff University).

HRM in Secondary Education
 

Together with my colleague professor Peter Leisink, I’m involved in research and teaching activities revolved around HRM and people management in secondary education. Together we are supervising the PhD project of Julia Penning de Vries.

 

SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL

Commissioned by the Dutch council for secondary education, we developed a self-assessment tool for schools which helps them to gain insight into the quality of their HRM policies and implementation. Schools also receive a report with recommendations. Information is provided by school principals, team leaders, teachers, educational support staff, and HR professionals. More information see SPIEGEL Personeel & School (in Dutch).

 

CURRENT STATE OF HRM IN SECONDARY EDUCATION

Commissioned by the Dutch council for secondary education, we conducted a study on the current state of HRM in secondary education. We surveyed all school boards in the Netherlands. The report entitled ‘De staat van strategisch personeelsbeleid (HRM in het VO)’ is available here (in Dutch).

 

EXECUTIVE TRAINING FOR SCHOOL LEADERS & MIDDLE MANAGERS

Together with colleagues from Utrecht University and Tilburg University, I’m involved in executive training for school leaders and managers on strategic HRM in secondary education. I act as a moderator, and I teach the part of the programme about HRM implementation and leadership by school principals and team leaders. See the website of the VO Academy for more information (in Dutch).

 

Together with colleagues from Utrecht University, I’m involved in executive training for middle managers on people management in secondary education. I’m the programme coordinator and I teach part of the programme about people management, HRM implementation, and leadership. See the website of the VO Academy for more information (in Dutch).

 

BROCHURE

If you are interested to learn more about HRM in secondary education, please download the brochure ‘Strategic HRM for school leaders’ by my colleagues professors Peter Leisink and Paul Boselie (in Dutch).

Future of Work
 

I’m a member of the coordination team of the Future of Work programme of the Faculty of Law, Economics & Governance.

 

In this programme we focus on today’s societal challenges such as innovation, globalization, migration, aging, and (in-work) poverty and inequality. We study their consequences for workers, employers, governments, and labour markets as a whole. Future of Work is a multidisciplinary initiative that supports research activities and helps build a knowledge platform of scientists, policy makers, public and private organizations, and the public at large to analyse these societal challenges.

 

Future of Work is organized in 3 interrelated research themes, each centred around:

  • Processes that have important consequences for labour markets such as technological progress or globalization.

  • The importance of inequality and the role of diversity on labour markets.

  • The sustainability of workers and of workplaces.

  • The importance of labour market institutions.

 

Below you can find two publications that are related to the themes studied in the Future of Work programme:

  • Van Berkel, H.H.A. & Knies, E. (2017), The frontline delivery of activation: workers’ preferences and their antecedents, European Journal of Social Work, 1-14.

  • Van Berkel, H.H.A. & Knies, E. (2016), Performance management, caseloads and the frontline provision of social services, Social Policy and Administration, 50 (1), 59-78.

 

For more information, please go to the website of Future of Work.

SCALES
 

Together with different colleagues, I’ve developed scales to measure some key concept in public administration and public management: public leadership, red tape, and trust. In the following sections you’ll find the definitions of these concepts and the items developed and validated to measure these. You are free to use these scales. Please refer to the original source.

People Management
 

Knies, E., Leisink, P.L.M. & Van de Schoot, R. (2017), People management: developing and testing a measurement scale, International Journal of Human Resource Management, doi: 10.1080/09585192.2017.1375963.

*** These scales are available in Dutch and English ***

People management is defined as line managers’ implementation of HR practices and their leadership behaviour in supporting the employees they supervise at work. We distinguish two components of people management: the implementation of HR practices by line managers and their leadership behaviour. Both components are broken down into two sub-dimensions. In the implementation of HR practices, we distinguish two levels of implementation: general practices and tailor-made arrangements. With regard to the leadership behaviour of line managers, two focal points are distinguished: the support of employees’ commitment and the support of employees’ career development.

 

Given that our goal was to develop a scale to measure both perceived and implemented people management, we developed two sets of paired items to reflect both employees’ and line managers’ perspectives. Below, the line manager items are displayed in italics.

 

SUPPORTIVE HR PRACTICES

  • I experience the following HR practices as being implemented to support me:
    I experience the following HR practices as being implemented to support my employees:

    • training and development

    • transition to another job

    • appraisal

    • compensation and benefits

    • changes in job design (e.g. changes in tasks, career advice)

    • vitality (e.g. prevention and health)

    • work-life balance (e.g. flexible hours, leave, working from home)

IMPLEMENTATION OF TAILOR-MADE ARRANGEMENTS

  • My supervisor tailors employment conditions to my personal situation.
    If it is required, I tailor employment conditions to an employee’s personal situation.

  • My supervisor tailors employment conditions to my individual needs so I can do a better job.
    I tailor employment conditions to my employees’ needs so they can do a better job.

 

SUPPORT OF EMPLOYEES’ COMMITMENT

  • My supervisor shows an interest in how I do my job.
    I show an interest in how employees do their job.

  • My supervisor shows an interest in my personal functioning.
    I show an interest in employees’ personal functioning.

  • If my supervisor appreciates the job done by me, he/she does not let this pass unnoticed.
    If I appreciate the job done by an employee, I do not let this pass unnoticed.

  • My supervisor asks me if I can manage my job.
    I ask employees if they can manage their job.

 

SUPPORT OF EMPLOYEES’ CAREER DEVELOPMENT

  • My supervisor informs me about opportunities for training and development.
    I inform employees about opportunities for training and development.

  • My supervisor offers me opportunities to participate in training.
    I offer employees opportunities to participate in training.

  • My supervisor supports me in utilizing opportunities for vertical mobility.
    I support employees in utilizing opportunities for vertical mobility.

  • My supervisor supports me in utilizing opportunities for horizontal mobility.
    I support employees in utilizing opportunities for horizontal mobility.

 

 

 

Public Leadership
 

Tummers, L.G. & Knies, E. (2016), Measuring public leadership: Developing scales for four public leadership roles, Public Administration, 94, 433-451.

*** These scales are available in Dutch, English, French, and German ***

We distinguish the following public leadership roles (Tummers & Knies, 2016: 436):

  • Accountability leadership: leaders who encourage employees to justify and explain their actions to stakeholders.

  • Rule-following leadership: leaders who encourage their employees to act in accordance with governmental rules and regulations.

  • Political leadership: leaders who motivate their employees to align their actions with the interests of politicians, even if this is costly for them.

  • Network governance leadership: leaders who encourage their employees to actively connect with relevant stakeholders.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY LEADERSHIP

My supervisor …

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to explain our actions to various stakeholders.

  • … encourages us to inform stakeholders of our way of working.

  • … provides us with the opportunity to explain our behaviour to stakeholders.

  • … emphasizes that it is important that we answer questions from clients.

  • … strives to ensure that we openly and honestly share the actions of our organizational unit with others.

  • … encourages us to explain to stakeholders why certain decisions were taken.

RULE-FOLLOWING LEADERSHIP

My supervisor …

  • … emphasizes to me and my colleagues that it is important to follow the law.

  • … gives me and my colleagues the means to properly follow governmental rules and regulations.

  • … emphasizes that my colleagues and I should carry out government policies properly.

  • … ensures that we accurately follow the rules and procedures.

 

POLITICAL LOYALTY LEADERSHIP

My supervisor …

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to support political decisions, even when other stakeholders confront us with it.

  • … encourages me and my colleagues not to jeopardize the relationship with political heads, even if that entails risks.

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to implement political decisions, even if that means undertaking additional responsibilities.

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to defend political choices, even if we see shortcomings.

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to support political decisions, even when we see downsides.

 

NETWORK GOVERNANCE LEADERSHIP

My supervisor …

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to maintain many contacts with other organizations.

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to invest substantial energy in the development of new contacts.

  • … motivates me and my colleagues to regularly work together with people from our networks.

  • … motivates me and my colleagues to develop many contacts with people outside our own department.

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to introduce others to contacts of our own networks.

  • … encourages me and my colleagues to be a ‘linchpin’ between different organizations.

Van Loon, N.M., Leisink, P.L.M., Knies, E. & Brewer, G.A. (2016), Red Tape: Developing and Validating a New Job-Centered Measure, Public Administration Review, 76, 662-673.

*** These scales are available in Dutch, English, French, and German ***

 
Red Tape

Van Loon, N.M., Leisink, P.L.M., Knies, E. & Brewer, G.A. (2016), Red Tape: Developing and Validating a New Job-Centered Measure, Public Administration Review, 76, 662-673.

*** This scale is available in Dutch and English ***

We define red tape as rules that employees perceive as burdensome and not helpful in achieving the rules’ functional objective in their respective job. We call this job-centered red tape (Van Loon et al., 2016: 663). The measure consists of two dimensions: lack of functionality and compliance burden.

 

LACK OF FUNCTIONALITY

The rules with which I have to comply in my core activities/personnel activities/procurement, finance and control activities …

  • … have a clear function for my job activities (reversed)

  • … contribute to the goal of my job activities (reversed)

  • … help me do my job well (reversed)

COMPLIANCE BURDEN

The rules with which I have to comply in my core activities/personnel activities/procurement, finance and control activities …

  • … cause much pressure at work

  • … take a lot of time to comply with

  • … cause much delay

Citizen Trust in Government Organizations
 

Grimmelikhuijsen, S.G. & Knies, E. (2017), Validating a scale for citizen trust in government organizations, International Review of Administrative Sciences.

 

*** This scale is available in Dutch and English ***

We distinguish the following dimensions of citizen trust in government organizations (Grimmelikhuijsen & Knies, 2017: 5):

  • Perceived competence: the extent to which a citizen perceives a government organization to be capable, effective, skillful, and professional.

  • Perceived benevolence: the extent to which a citizen perceives a government organization to care about the welfare of the public and to be motivated to act in the public interest.

  • Perceived integrity: the extent to which a citizen perceives a government organization to be sincere, to tell the truth, and to fulfill its promises.

 

Note: ADDED PREFIX: When it concerns [air quality policy] …

 

PERCEIVED COMPETENCE

  • [The municipality of XX] is capable.

  • [The municipality of XX] is expert.

  • [The municipality of XX] carries out its duty very well.

 

PERCEIVED BENEVOLENCE

  • If citizens need help, [the municipality of XX] will do its best to help them.

  • [The municipality of XX] acts in the interest of citizens.

  • [The municipality of XX] is genuinely interested in the wellbeing of citizens.

 

PERCEIVED INTEGRITY

  • [The municipality of XX] approaches citizens in a sincere way.

  • [The municipality of XX] is sincere.

  • [The municipality of XX] is honest.