1 September 2012 Nienke started her PhD-project ‘Competence development of flexible employees’ at the chair group of Education and Competence Studies at Wageningen University.
Before coming to Wageningen University, Nienke studied at Utrecht University. For two years she studied Dutch Language and Culture, and then shifted to the bachelor programme Educational Sciences. After graduating in August 2010, Nienke followed a two-year English research master programme ‘Educational Sciences: learning in interaction’. Her thesis focused on professional learning of teachers in secondary education in times of educational innovation. Nienke graduated in June 2012.
Nienkes PhD project links to the fields of HRM, workplace learning and competence development of professionals. More specific, in this PhD project she explores competence development of employees with a flexible employment contract working in different sectors in the Netherlands.
Flexible employees are formally employed via an employment agency, but are working for a client organization for a limited period of time. Often, flexible employment constructions are viewed as advantageous for the organization, and disadvantageous for the employee in question. Still, the majority of flexible employees see a flexible employment construction as a second-best option and hope for a fixed contract to continue their careers. However, as flexible employment constructions are increasingly applied in organizations in our society, it is important to look for a situation in which also employees feel comfortable and feel committed to both organizations where they have to deal with. In this research project we investigate to what extent opportunities for competence development offered by both the client organization and the employment agency can make a difference.
Currently, Nienke is working on a study to explore to what extent formal and/or informal competence development activities, offered by the employment agency and by the client organization can explain flexible employees’ commitment towards the agency and the client organization. In this study she focuses on the perspective of the employees themselves. In the next studies, she will involve also their employment agencies and their client organizations in order to study how to reach a balanced situation for all parties together.