L. (Lisanne) van Bunderen

Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM Doctoral Student
Field: Organisation
Affiliated since 2013

PhD Project

Hierarchy, Conflict and Inter-team Interaction

Teamwork is increasingly central to organizational performance. In order to capitalize on the benefits of high-performing teams, team leadership is central. Whether this leadership should be hierarchical differentiated or shared across members may depend upon the situation. For example, management teams prefer shared leadership, while factory-line teams function best with a clear power hierarchy. However, hierarchies are not always stable, and may change over time, due to changes in membership, task requirements, or the external environment. The dynamic process by which hierarchies emerge, change, and evolve in teams is still not clearly understood. In this project, we build on recent theoretical advances to suggest that team hierarchies are socially constructed phenomenon which are in a continuous process of fluctuation and negotiation. Here we seek to understand when, how, and why team members seek to (re)negotiate the position of themselves or others in the team hierarchy, to identify the tipping point or trigger for such conflicts, and to understand how hierarchical conflicts be resolved, allowing new leadership structures to emerge. By understanding these processes by which hierarchical conflicts arise, escalate, and de-escalate, we hope to shed important light on the behavioral dynamics surrounding hierarchies in teams. The current project therefore aims to develop and test theory about the dynamic nature of hierarchy in teams, and the effects of hierarchy changes and conflicts on individual and team outcomes, including performance, creativity, and well-being. The theoretical framework developed here will be tested using multiple methods, including interviews, experiments, field studies, and archival research.

team performance, leadership, conflict, hierarchy
Time frame
2013 -
Past courses


Visiting address

Office: Mandeville Building T10-40
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam

Supervisory team

Lisanne van Bunderen
Professor of Organizational Behavior
Lisanne van Bunderen
Lindred Greer
Co-Promotor, Daily supervisor