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“Individual training and employees’ cooperative behavior: Evidence from a contextualized laboratory experiment”

Employers are constantly seeking to improve employee performance by means of investing in employee training. The results of training are to a large extent dependent on employees’ willingness to behave productively in a cooperative manner. Yet, systematic evidence investigating the causal relation between training and employees’ cooperative behavior is rare. Here, we present results from a contextualized laboratory experiment in which subjects, who differ in terms of training participation, were asked to contribute resources to a team effort. We conclude that training promotes cooperative behavior, that is, voluntary contributions made to the team effort, in teams of employees working together for short periods of time. Training enhances cooperative behavior the most when provided to the higher skilled subjects. We also find that members in more stable teams act very cooperatively under all conditions, but their contributions do not increase further with training.

The article is published by Nikki Gerwen, Vincent Buskens and Tanja van der Lippe in Rationality and Society and can be read here.



“Reasons to reduce: A vignette-experiment examining men and women's considerations to scale back following childbirth”

The reduction of working hours can help avoid work–family conflict, yet many people who would like to scale back do not actually do so. In this vignette-experiment Leonie van Breeschoten, Anne Roeters and Tanja van der Lippe examine which considerations are most important in men and women’s decision-making whether to scale back following childbirth. About 2,464 vignettes were conducted in the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Results indicate that men find the income of their partner and career consequences most important, while women focus mainly on partner income and collegial support. Swedes, however, differ from their Dutch and British counterparts, and express more counter-gender-normative behavior.

The article is published in Social Politics, and can be found here.



“Taking care leave: The role of the work organisation”

A substantial number of people combine work and care in the Netherlands. Although most employers are willing to honor care leave requests to which Dutch law entitles employees, workers make only limited use of this possibility. In a Dutch publication titled “Taking care leave: the role of the work organisation”, forthcoming in the Dutch journal Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken [Journal of Labour Issues], Sustainable Workforce team members Zoltán Lippényi and Tanja van der Lippe investigate how organizational and work-related factors influence applying for care leave within organizations. Based on data on more than 3,000 Dutch organisations from the Labour Demand Panel, the authors show that a care-friendly organizational culture and employee representation facilitate care-leave applications. High workload do not pose a barrier to applying for care leave and part-time work opportunities and autonomous jobs substitute the need for care leave. The authors encourage a care-friendly organizational design and the channeling of employee needs through representation as solutions for caretaking employees and their organizations.



"Understanding old-age adaptation policies in Europe: the influence of profit, principles and pressures"

In December 2017, this article has been published in Ageing and Society by Jelle Lössbroek, Bram Lancee, Tanja van der Lippe and Joop Schippers. They study which organisations implement which personnel policies for older (50+) employees in seven European countries.  Two strategies underlie these policies: phasing out (for example, a reduced workload or extra leave) and activating (for example, training plans or internal job mobility). Stronger external pressures (such as unions) make both types of policies more likely. Old-age-positive age norms among managers support activating policies, but negative age norms do not influence phasing out policies. Concerning the profitability, particularly the feasibility of policies is important for both strategies.


The entire article can be read here.

The entire Sustainable Workforce team is currently working on a book, edited by principal investigator Tanja van der Lippe and postdoctoral researcher Zoltan Lippényi. All Sustainable Workforce research projects will contribute a chapter. The book will be published by Routledge. 


  • Van der Lippe, T. & Lippényi, Z. (2018). Investments in a sustainable workforce. Routledge, forthcoming.
  • Lippényi, Z. (2015). "Assessment of fixed-term employees’ training needs in European organizations." Paper presented at the “Scrutinizing Organizational Inequalities: New Theoretical and Empirical Approaches Conference", London, England.

  • Van der Lippe, T., Treas, J. & Norbutas, L. (2014, June). Economic vulnerability and the division of domestic work in Europe. Work Family Conference, New York, United States of America.
  • Van Breeschoten, L., Roeters, A., & van der Lippe, T. (2018). "Reasons to Reduce: A Vignette-Experiment Examining Men and Women’s Considerations to Scale Back Following Childbirth." Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society.
  • Lössbroek, J., Lancee, B., van der Lippe, T., & Schippers, J. (2017). "Understanding old-age adaptation policies in Europe: the influence of profit, principles and pressures." Ageing & Society, 1-27.

  • Been, W. M., den Dulk, L., & van der Lippe, T. (2017). "A business case or social responsibility? How top managers’ support for work-life arrangements relates to the national context." Community, Work & Family, 20(5), 573-599.

  • Been W., T. van der Lippe, L. den Dulk, M. Das Dores, A.K. Mrcela & Niemistö C. (2017). "European top managers’ support for work-life arrangements." Social Science Research, 65, 60-74.

  • Van der Lippe, T. (2017). "De markt voor persoonlijke dienstverlening." Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken, (33)4, 381-383.

Lössbroek, J. (2018). Personnel policies for older workers across the European Union: An overview. Research note. Utrecht: Utrecht University. Link.