Renske Erin van Geffen

Researching proactive employees, teaching Human Resource Management, contributing to the HR-community.


My research interests are broad. I am generally interested in the interaction between people at work. For example, how do employees affect one another while working together? What behaviors inspire others? Under what circumstances will employees hold each other back? What happens when we organize work in a collective setting, such as a team? All these questions revolve around the changing nature of work, in which the emphasis lies more and more with employees being interdependent. Next to that, I am highly interested in quantitative data analysis. The concept of multilevel data-analysis fascinates me, as it resonates with the idea that working together will affect us, make us part of the same cluster. Furthermore, I am interested in the advancement of statistical methods. As our we evolve our research methods, so do systems we work with. Getting a clearer picture of what the reality of work looks like.

PhD Research

For my PhD research, that I am conducting at the Amsterdam Business school under the supervision of Prof. Deanne den Hartog and Dr. Frank Belschak, I am investigating proactive behavior of employees. Proactive behavior at work related to behavior that is not demanded of an employee, is future focused and aimed at improving (or preventing damage to) the work situation. Think of a mechanic, who has to deal with the same jam in a printer over and over. Fixing the jam when it happens would be reactive behavior. If the mechanic would take time to sit back and think of a way to prevent the jam from happening, this would be proactive behavior. It is not part of her work (which is to fix the printer), it will save her time she can use to do other tasks (improvement of the work situation) and will start paying of in the long-term while probably costing more time right now (future orientation). If only there was some way to get that mechanic over to my printer...

As mentioned above, I am highly interested in the way employees work together. That is also the area of proactivity that I have focused on over the last couple of years (I am to finish my Phd research in 2016). I have investigated proactive behavior of teams, looked at how proactive behavior in meetings affects coworkers, and have researched the effects over time of coworkers being confronted with eachothers proactive behavior. On my whishlist are: a network analysis of proactive employees and a sequential analysis of proactive behavior.