Research: Personnel and Organizational Psychology

  Woman at work Copyright: Monya Pletsch

How do people shape their careers and everyday life in work and non-work domains? Our main goal is to deepen our understanding of work-related development processes and everyday experiences at work taking into consideration contextual demands and individual strategies of action.


The Interplay of Work and Family: Parental Leave and Re-entry to Work After Childbirth

The individual life course and everyday behavior unfolds within a person’s life-context. This includes different life domains as well as central actors in these domains. Moreover, it is necessary to take the economic and cultural macrosystems into consideration. These macrosystems are characterized by specific opportunities but also constraints, which arise from, for example, legislative regulations (e.g., parental leave policies) and societal norms (e.g., gender-role ideologies). Without any doubt, work and family represent central life domains in men’s and women’s life courses. We investigate employed women’s and men’s biographical decisions and transitions as well as their everyday experiences by taking into account the microsystems of work and family and the macroystems in which they are embedded. Here, one research focus lies on the occupational entry and re-entry after childbirth.

Parental Leave and Re-rentry to Work After Childbirth


Vocational Development: Motivation and Self-Management Competencies

How do people manage to shape their careers in an active and successful manner? Why is it that some stick to their goals and actively engage in achieving them in the presence of uncertain future prospects while others do not? What is the motivational value of certain organizational structures and job incentives? Do people react differently to these attractors? These questions are the core of our interdisciplinary research project, “Career decisions and career paths of young researchers: An interdisciplinary, longitudinal project on the interplay between contextual demands and personal characteristics” (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research) that has started in 2013.

A brief overview of the project “Career Decisions”

Project Website (in German)


Contextual and Emotional Strains in Everyday Working Life

In everyday working life, we face very different stressors and strains. They include, for example, characteristics of the office environment (e.g. elevated ambient temperature, noise) as well as the behavior of interaction partners or the experience of insufficiency and failure. We aim to understand how and why various stressors have an impact on performance and affective states and to investigate successful strategies to regulate emotions and to cope with strain.

Workplace Stressors: Noise, Heat and Interruptions

Emotion Regulation and Dealing with Failure