I want to know why people are motivated
'I am particularly interested in people themselves. During the bachelor's degree in psychology that I first did, we mainly looked at the individual, at the psychological and neurological processes. But much less at what is happening around them, at how society changes, at the influence of, for example, the legal and institutional context. That is the part that you gain in Public Administration and Organisation Science, so that's why I chose Strategic Human Resource Management.
I started this Master’s programme with the idea of going into the consultancy or dealing with policy issues, but when I was working on my thesis, I thought that was so great that I continued doing research. I received such good guidance and so much opportunity to give substance to my research, that I fully immersed myself in it.
Following the Master's programme I started my PhD in Leiden and after I was a postdoc at the University of Bern (Switzerland). As a researcher, I want to find out what people are concerned about, what is motivating them and how they deal with conflicts. With what conflicting values do they have to deal and what conflicts do they experience with the different identities that everyone carries.
“You constantly learn things in a slightly different way”
During my doctoral research into decision-making processes, I came into contact with a very specific group of highly educated professionals working in a context where there are many rules and guidelines: the supervising veterinary inspectors at the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. That was a very interesting area of tension. How do these people, that are used to a lot of autonomy, deal with such a vastly regulated context? And what makes them want to work there?
In Switzerland I did research with the police. The police officers felt that they were losing authority in the changing society. The question was how they dealt with this, whether it influenced their motivation. My research showed that expectation management made them more aware of the social changes, of the way people treat you, and they were much better able to handle that.
What I experienced as very positive in this Master's programme was of course the small-sized classes. Now, as a lecturer, that motivates me too. As twenty students we worked together very intensively. In addition, we had contact with many different lecturers. As a result, you realize that everyone has their own perspective and experiences and, on that basis, analyses issues in a certain way. So you constantly learn things in a slightly different way. Moreover, I found the link with practice valuable. Thanks to guest speakers, you can sometimes immediately apply knowledge from a lecture in the morning to a specific issue in the afternoon.'
Carina Schott is currently Assistant Professor at Utrecht University School of Governance (USG) and graduated in the Master's programme Strategic Human Resource Management.