Research programme Organization Sciences

Organizations & Processes of Organizing in Society (OPOS)

We live in a ‘society of organizations’, facing a “worldwide explosion of organizations and organizing”. Therefore, organizations are key to our understanding of societal dynamics, just as insights into ‘society’ are crucial for our understanding of processes of organizing. Research should feature ways in which organizations are interpenetrated with society and generate specific patterns of how we live in societies, as well as how those societies are actually governed and shaped. Research within the Department of Organization Sciences (ORG) at VU University Amsterdam centres on the intersection of organization and society.

At its core, the organization sciences discipline focuses on different forms of organizations and organizing, on questions of why and how organizational processes are developed, implemented and evaluated by their members, and how organizations are influenced by societal developments and vice versa. In a dynamic and increasingly (digitally) interconnected society of organizations the challenge we see is to get a better grasp of the connections and dynamics typical of contemporary forms of organizing. Therefore, the OPOS (Organization & Processes of Organizing in Society) -research program takes an interest in interdependence, conflict and collaboration, as well as instability, resilience and change.

In our research, we take a distinctly social scientific approach:

  • Friction between organization & disorganization
  • Actor-centred and context-sensitive
  • Social scientific methodologies
  • Engaged scholarship

The central goal of the research program is to increase understanding of the way in which organizations, groups, networks and individuals interact towards and relate with one another (i.e. interdependency), sometimes harmoniously, often disharmoniously (i.e. (in)stability), towards realizing organizational goals.

OPOS consists of four research clusters, which provide belongingness and room for further specialization within specific research approaches. The four research clusters* are: Cooperation and conflict between Individuals and within teams; Political, cultural and emotional dynamics of organizational actors; Organizational dynamics and inter-organizational processes within and between organizations, and Cultural dynamics and organizational change.

*For more information about the research clusters, please refer to the Research in the Department of Organization Sciences


To be able to read the publications of the research program, please refer to the Research Output of OPOS.