Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved into My study choice.
This programme cannot be saved.
You are not logged in yet to My study choice Portal. Login or create an account to save your programmes.
Something went wrong, try again later.

Studying organizations from a cultural perspective

Multiple perspectives, first-hand

Culture, Organization and Management (COM) at VU Amsterdam is like no other. It offers a unique perspective by drawing close to organisational practice. We teach you to look behind the scenes and focusing on both individual’s lived experience and the wider social context. No other university in the world offers such an ethnographic perspective on organisation and management, coupled with practical field research, grounded analysis and critical advice.

This is a truly multi-disciplinary programme, combining insights from different social science disciplines, like psychology, anthropology and sociology. This interdisciplinary approach helps you understand organizational problems and management issues. There are no pre-set models that will allow you to make sense of an issue – you’ll need to come up with your own solutions based on the situation, the data, and the people involved. For example, a student can carry out  field work and write a thesis on employee theft in companies. In order to tackle the issue, they receive not only facts and figures, but learn to get closer to their employees to understand why they are stealing in the first place.
What’s more, this is an international programme, covering global issues that affect people transnationally, as well as local issues at the level of individual groups and organisations. One of our students for excample looked at the cultural differences between the Dutch and the Japanese in a multi-national organisation. In order to solve the communication issues being experienced, she suggested to include the power structures in play and the politics within the organisation and culture. 

Whatever the issue, our approach has a few things in common: multiple perspectives on complex problems, a critical attitude that looks both internally and externally, a self-reflexive mindset that’s sensitive to cultural bias, and an effective and engaged style of communication. Teaching students to develop a practice-based understanding of complex issues ‘from within’ and to provide distanced analysis and critical advice, the knowledge and insights gained throughout the COM programme provide graduates with new career opportunities in both public and private sectors.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

Facts and figures

The Master's programme

The first half of the year lays the theoretical and methodological groundwork for the master’s programme. You will take two core courses: the first about power structures in organisations, and the second about making sense of organisational issues. You’ll also play a simulation game in which you’ll need to present sensitive data and advice to managers in order to find your own style and approach.

In the second period, you’ll choose two out of three electives – each of which centre around a key theme:

  1. Transnational organisations in a global world: you’ll cover the tensions between globalisation and localisation, and the businesses and people that cross cultural boundaries. How do cultural interactions across borders affect the way that organisations are set up and managed? 
  2. Changing organisational culture: cultural patterns and social processes make it difficult to manage organisational change effectively. Why do mergers often fail? Why does imposing change from above rarely work in practice? 
  3. Culture and identity in organisations: taken-for-granted norms define some people as different, based on their age, gender, class, looks, ethnic background, etc. with major effects for careers and positioning. While management often pursues inclusivity, exclusionary effects tend to be overlooked – how to learn to see the frontstage and backstage differences and power play?

In the second half of the year, you’ll put all of this into practice during three months of field research. You’ll take a methodology course that will give you the tools to use qualitative research methods like interviewing, participant observation, ‘shadowing’  and discourse analysis. During the fieldwork, you’ll be supported by a supervisor and an online research lab that will help you refine your fieldwork techniques, storytelling, analysis, writing and presentational skills.
You’ll then use all the empirical evidence you’ve gathered to write your Master’s thesis. Previous topics have included everything from a local reform of the police service to responding to climate change or the financial crisis. For example, in a situation of a merger, what is the impact of social and cultural differences between the merging organizations on the collaboration?

Change your future with the Culture, Organization and Management programme

Change your future with the Culture, Organization and Management programme

After completing the Master’s programme Culture, Organization and Management, you can opt for a PhD or start working as a policymaker or advisor for a knowledge institute, private-sector company, international organisation or NGO.

Explore your future prospects
large building people working