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New PhD Fellow studying freedom and dignity in the workplace

As one of the 14 projects tracing the influence of Origen’s conception of Human Freedom and Dignity on Western society, Renze Klamer will study how employees in organizations experience, express, and increase autonomy and dignity in the workplace.

03.08.2016 | Arts Kommunikation

Renze Klamer

My name is Renze Klamer, 32 years old, from The Netherlands. I am thrilled to start this new project because it elegantly combines my two master degrees: I studied Theology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven and Human Resource Management at the Rotterdam School of Management.

My project is the last in the ITN project on Human Freedom and Dignity, focusing on how and to what extent these two values are used in modern organizations. In it, I expressly want to combine the fields of Theology, Management and Business Ethics.  Various research methods will be used: qualitative methods (interviews and focus groups) to gain insight into how these values are conceived, quantitative analysis to assess the extent to which these values actually play a role in organizations and theological reflection on the role that autonomy and dignity should play when thinking about work.

Work is a central domain in the lives of many people. It can be a great source of personal dignity. A place where people feel valued and find purpose. But at the same time, the workplace can also host many threats to individual dignity.  Whether that be from horrible bosses, disrespectful clients, or monotonous labor, indignity comes in many shapes and sizes. And almost by definition, the workplace stands in tension with human dignity and autonomy. With dignity because employees are not considered as ends in themselves, but means to the organizational goals. And with autonomy, because most work is done in hierarchical settings, where at least some freedom and autonomy is sacrificed.

I am very blessed to work with a great consulting firm throughout this whole project: Etikos. They help organizations to reflect ethically on managerial and cultural problems. The owner, Christina Busk, will act as co-supervisor and advise on the organizational research. Professor Anders-Christian Jacobsen will be the main supervisor, advising on the theological side and ensuring a solid link to the rest of the project.