Subprogramme 2: Learning of Employees and Organizations
The research topics in this subprogramme include organizational learning and knowledge management and their impact on performance and continuous improvement. Also personal improvement and well-being of employees is addressed.

Examples of projects:

  • Learning from adversity
    A collaboration between department Organisation and Oslo Business School
    Main researcher: prof. dr. Marjolein Caniëls
  • Continuous Learning from Product Returns Information
    This research project explores the potential of using product returns information for continuous organizational improvement and innovation. More specifically, this project aims at clarifying the different kinds of information coming from product returns, along with the organizational capabilities and routines that must be in place for firms to capitalize from this information. The theoretical framework underlying this research draws from organizational learning theory and the dynamic capabilities view. The completed project consists of a literature review, a qualitative Delphi study, and multiple case studies. The results serve as a starting point for more systematic research on product returns information and as an approach for practitioners to embed product returns information into their organizational learning and innovation practices.


Ritola, I., Krikke, H., & Caniëls, M. (2019). Creating Value From Returns by Closing the Information Loop: A Systematic Literature Review. Proceedings of the 24th International Symposium on Logistics (pp. 715-725). Würzburg: International Symposium on Logistics.

Ritola, I., Krikke, H., & Caniëls, M. (2019). Incremental Learning from Product Returns Information as a Source of Competitive Advantage. Presented at Learning and Innovation in Resilient Systems Symposium, Heerlen, 2019.  

  • Ecosystems for smart cities: Tracing the evolution of governance structures in a Dutch smart city initiative
    A collaboration project between the departments Strategy & Innovation and Organisation
    Main researcher: dr. Ward Ooms
  • Supply chain integration: value creation through managing inter-organizational learning
    A collaboration project between the department Marketing & Supply Chain Management and Organisation
    Main researcher: prof. dr. Harold Krikke
  • Learning for resilience
    A collaboration between department Organisation,Twente University and University of St. Gallen (Switzerland)
    Main researcher: prof. dr. Marjolein Caniëls
  • Professional Competences for Sustainability and Sustainable Labour Participation
    A collaboration project between the Faculty of Management (Department of Organisation) and Faculty of Science (Department of Environmental Sciences)
    Main researcher: Paquita Perez Salgado

    Sustainability professionals encounter huge challenges in their daily job situation in order to achieve change processes towards sustainability. They usually operate in a multi-stakeholder context which requires collaboration and co-creation. This also raises the question as to what extent their competences address their own sustainable labor participation. In the presented research the conglomerate of necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes (labelled competences) for effectively conducting change processes towards sustainability is investigated with practitioners, relating the results to existing frameworks for sustainability competences. The professional’s own sustainable labor participation is investigated and analysed for sustainability professionals and professionals in other fields. Three aspects can be distinguished namely employability, vitality, and work ability. 
    The multi- and transdisciplinary research approach consists of designing and conducting workshops, interviews and survey(s); generating valid and trustworthy data is part of the investigations. The results of this research are of interest for the scientific development of competency frameworks and insights in labour participation. They can be implemented in training facilities for practitioners.


Valérie Vandenbussche, Paquita Pérez, Ronald Venn (2020). Competenties voor duurzame gedragsverandering. Lokaal – maandblad van de VVSG (Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten), June, 06, 54-57.

Ronald Venn, Paquita Perez, Tinka van Vuuren, Judith Semeijn (2019). Competences and Sustainable Employability of Sustainability Professionals. Paper presentation at the Symposium Learning and Innovations in Resilient Systems, Open University of the Netherlands, 25 October 2019, Heerlen. 

Venn, R., Perez, P., van Vuuren, T., & Semeijn, J.H. (2019). Competences and sustainable employability of Sustainability Professionals in the Netherlands and Belgium. Poster session at Open University April 2019, Research Day, Heerlen, Netherlands.

Perez Salgado, F., Abbott, D., & Wilson, G. (2018). Dimensions of professional competences for interventions towards sustainability. Sustainability Science, 13(1), 163-177.

Perez Salgado, P., & Venn, R. (2018). Competences for sustainability [Competenties voor duurzaamheid]. In De Avond van Wetenschap & Maatschappij 2018 (Vol. 2018, pp. 19-20). (The Evening of Science & Society). Stichting De Avond van Wetenschap & Maatschappij, Den Haag, Netherlands.

Perez Salgado, P. (2018). Professional Competences for Interventions towards Sustainability. [Professionele competenties voor interventies richting duurzaamheid]. Tijdschrift Milieu, 24(5), 24-27.

Perez Salgado, (2017). Competencies for sustainability professionals. Paper presentation at the Symposium on Learning and Innovations in Resilient Systems, Open University of the Netherlands, 23 March 2017, Heerlen, Netherlands.

Van Vuuren, T., Perez Salgado, F., & Semeijn, J.H. (2017). Organisation of sessions 2a and 3a Resilience at Work. Symposium on Learning and Innovations in Resilient Systems, Open University of the Netherlands, 23 March 2017, Heerlen, Netherlands.