Conference 2020

Conference 2020

NOVEMBER 20th, 2020


Well attended WAOP Webinar about working during Covid-19

The OU Psychology department organized the WAOP webinar on 20 November as an alternative to the annual conference. Rector Theo Bastiaense opened the webinar chaired by Professor Karen van Dam. More than 160 participants, academics, medical and HR professionals, from the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, South Africa and Indonesia took part online and heard how several key experts shared their research and insights about working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The implications of Covid-19 for our working life

Professor Mark van Vugt, supported by many colleagues, gave the audience a glimpse of the many implications [] that pandemics in general and Covid -19 in particular have for our sense of collectivity and working life.

Leeway to deal with the crisis

Professor Evangelia Demerouti discussed the way in which managers and employees give meaning to and deal with the crisis. She advised managers to give employees the space to design their own work, so that they can deal effectively with the consequences of a crisis situation.

Perception of work and organization: from a largely shared experience to more influence of the individual living situation

According to Professor Marc van Veldhoven, knowledge workers’ experiences with working from home are quite diverse, although many appreciate the reduced travel time and miss contact with colleagues. Relocating work from the workplace to home therefore requires due consideration from organizations. A shared experience is now making way for a more individual experience of work and the organization, in which the individual living situation plays a major role.

Importance of employees’ adaptability in times of change

Professor Karen van Dam interactively introduced the participants to the necessity and challenges for the adaptability of employees.

Charisma as part of leadership in crisis

Professor John Antonakis highlighted charisma as a necessary part of leadership in crisis situations. He drew attention to the importance of offering hope and confirmation by leaders and emphasized the need for a vision that can be followed and supported by followers.

The effect of the corona crisis on job characteristics and job insecurity

Professor Hans de Witte shared the results of a large study on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on job characteristics and perceived job insecurity. His research showed that workers during the crisis show more variation in motivation than in stress.

The impact of Covid-19 on individual well-being

Finally, Doctoral candidate Caroline Bastiaensen spoke about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on individual well-being. She told about changes in well-being measured by a diary study during different moments of the crisis.

Best dissertation award

The two-hour webinar ended in a festive manner with the presentation of the Best Dissertation Award. The first prize went to the dissertation “Self- and Other- focused Emotional Intelligence” from Keri Pekaar and the second place was shared by “Social Desirability in Self-report Personal Questionnaires for Personnel Selection: Friend or Foe?” from Dirk Pelt and “Power in organizational life: An investigation of how stable and unstable power affect important organizational and leadership outcomes” from Sanne Feenstra


In general, research during the Covid-19 pandemic shows a lot of variation in motivation among workers. Advantages such as more autonomy and less travel time for homeworkers may explain why the adverse effects on work pressure and well-being are less dominant than expected. This crisis therefore seems to offer opportunities for work performance, for leadership, for cooperation and for the sense of collectivity, in addition to the many challenges. The insights shared by the key experts form starting points for maintaining and promoting motivation and well-being among workers, but can also be used preventively in the future.

In the past year, we were shocked worldwide by the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only did our daily life change, Covid-19 also affected our ways of working and organizing. What does the pandemic mean for our working life? Are the changes due to Covid-19 temporary or – also – permanent? How can we deal with new challenges? What insights did research in the field of work and organizational psychology bring forward sofar? These and other questions are included in the scientific WAOP webinar that is organized as a replacement of the yearly WAOP conference.


November 20th, 2020




Covid-19 and the workplace