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 role do individual motives and self-management strategies play in this regard? What is the motivational value of certain organizational structures and job incentives? Do people react differently to these attractors? These are questions we investigate in our research on career decisions and career paths.

Career Decisions and Career Paths


Interdisciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary studies

The integration of different perspectives and scientific disciplines brings the potential for innovative solutions to the grand challenges of our time. Interdisciplinary work, however, is experienced to be particularly demanding and challenging by employees. Our research addresses individual and organizational factors influencing successful interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, interdisciplinarity has become a relevant issue in higher education. In this regard we study interdisciplinary integration and person-environment-fit in interdisciplinary study programs.

Interdisciplinary Work and Studies


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.

Emotion Regulation and Dealing with Failure


Transition to Grantparenthood

The transition to grandparenthood is mostly viewed positively, but not everyone who wishes to have grandchildren becomes a grandparent. Moreover, grandparents represent a thoroughly heterogeneous group whose family-related and work-related attitudes and decisions are important to be understood. Thus, the decisions and biographies of the grandparent generation are linked to those of the family members of the younger generation ("linked lives"; Elder, 1994), and the decision to give up the identity as a working person in favor of the grandparent role depends on one's gender and lineage to the grandchild (Wiese et al., 2016).

Against the background of socio-biological and family systems theory, this project addresses the significance of the transition to grandparenthood for both individual and couple experience.

Transition to Grandparenthood