Governance for Society

Governance is concerned with how organizations and societies organize and govern themselves. It includes governments, businesses, international organizations and others. Looking at our ecological and economic situation, and at the growing tensions and inequalities within society, there is only one conclusion to be drawn: existing relationships are failing.

At VU University Amsterdam, organizational scientists, philosophers, economists, lawyers and psychologists join forces within the profile theme entitled Governance for Society. As the name suggests, the focus is on benefits for society. How can the way we in which we manage our society help to bring about a better society?

This is a broad field. Let us consider some scenarios. A government adopts a measure that is perfectly acceptable from a legal perspective, but which increases the distance between government and its citizens. A salary which seems like a well-earned reward for a managing director leads to social opprobrium. An international organization strives to enforce stringent environmental protection standards, but some of its members are subject to conflicting interests. A multinational company takes very good care of its staff, but struggles with its responsibility for the welfare of our planet.

These kinds of complex social issues demand new ways of thinking and working. Within the Governance for Society profile, VU University Amsterdam carries out research that crosses boundaries, just as the scenarios mentioned above cross boundaries. Only then can we arrive at answers: new definitions of leadership and solutions that will help society.

With our research and education, we want to make the world better. By focusing on education and research along the four profile themes, we encourage collaboration between different fields. VU Amsterdam offers various undergraduate programs that are associated with the Governance for Society theme.

During the 135th anniversary of VU Amsterdam, four anniversary conferences took place, including the conference ‘Scenarios for governance’.