Prof. dr. ir. T. (Tanja) van der Lippe
Prof. dr. ir. T. (Tanja) van der Lippe

Prof. dr. ir. T. (Tanja) van der Lippe

Summary of research

Tanja van der Lippe is a professor of sociology  at Utrecht University. She is Research Director and Head of the Department of Sociology at Utrecht University. She is an expert on work-family issues in present-day societies. In her work on the competing time claims of organizations and families, she combines sociological, economic, and psychological perspectives. 

Following up on her initial research on interdependencies between work and family life – which was designated as one of Utrecht University’s High Potential projects –as Kanter Award finalist with the 2012 publication in Social Science Research, she and her colleagues broke new ground by demonstrating that family and workplace claims are not necessarily competitive, but can be complementary.

Her research has also yielded a new understanding of how aspects of the societal institutional context (e.g. international differences in gender inequality) influence individual work and family choices. From 2014-2019, van der Lippe was the recipient of an ERC Advanced grant for her innovative approach to elucidate investments in a sustainable workforce in Europe and examined the multi-level interactions of individual employees in organizations and societies. Together with Thomas Martens she obtained an ERC Proof of Concept Grant in 2018 to investigate whether the outcomes of the Sustainable Workforce could be shared internationally with business and other organizations through a platform. 

Van der Lippe has achieved her breakthroughs by linking societal, family, and individual levels of decision making not only in her theoretical work, but also in the way she empirically examines their relationship. She is known for her challenging, state-of-the-art multi-method data collections combining large-scale survey techniques with rigorous experimental study designs. She has initiated large data collections on work-family issues, for instance as leader of the 2015 and 2018 ERC-survey of employees, management, and HR managers in 270 organizations across 9 European countries.

She is one of the initiators of the Future of Work hub (since 2018) where scientists, organizations and policy makers collaborate on answering questions about the causes and consequences of ongoing innovation and globalization for individuals’ working lives, organizations, markets and public institutions, with high visibility in societal and policy debates.

International visibility, activities, prizes, scholarships etc.

Tanja van der Lippe has published 136 peer-reviewed papers (100 international; 36 national), 40 chapters in edited books, and 12 books with well-known publishers (Routledge; Edward Elgar, Palgrave MacMillan, Aldine). Her papers have appeared in top-level journals, including Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Journal of Management. The significance of her work has been acknowledged at the highest levels; she is an elected member of the European Academy of Sociology (2010), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW, 2014), and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW, 2013). In 2019 she was appointed chair of the Social Sciences Council of the KNAW. Since 2020 she is member of the Management Board of ODISSEI (Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations), the national research infrastructure for the social sciences in the Netherlands.

Van der Lippe enjoys an excellent international reputation and has been awarded major grants for her research in highly competitive national and international schemes. In addition to her ERC Advanced, she has been PI and coordinator of large European Science Foundation-funded projects comparing gender inequality (2008-2012) and the changing relationship between work and care in Europa (2006-2014). In 2016 she acted as honorary promoter of Harvard scholar Robert Sampson, and connects to his renowned work on how social processes in neighborhoods affect public order issues in large cities.

As chair of the Interuniversity Center of Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS) at Utrecht University, she is closely involved in, and very successful at, training the next generation of international researchers. She has supervised 28 PhD’s to completion; another 10 PhD’s are currently working under her guidance.

Her excellent reputation and international visibility are also evident from her visiting professorships, for instance recently at the University of Melbourne (2018) and UC Irvine (2019) and her regular appearances as invited keynote speaker at major international events, including the annual conference of the American Sociological Association. Her peers in the field have placed her in key gatekeeping positions in science: she is a member of the Editorial Board of Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology; a European expert on gender issues for the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences; and was elected vice president of the executive committee of the Work and Family Researchers Network, the main network on work-family research worldwide.

As consultant to the Dutch Government, she advised the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) on ‘Work and life in the future’. She is closely involved in the activities of other key policy guidance bodies in the Netherlands, such as the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), and on the board of governors of the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), and in the Scientific Advisory Board of the NIDI. Van der Lippe contributes to the public debate by writing for broader audiences and appearing as an expert on national and international media.

5 key publications

van der Lippe, T., & Lippényi, Z. (2020). Co-workers working from home and individual and team performanceNew Technology, Work and Employment, 35(1), 60-79.

Van der Lippe, T., Van Breeschoten, L., & Van Hek, M. (2019). Organizational work–life policies and the gender wage gap in European workplaces. Work and Occupations, 46(2), 111-148.

Chung, H., & Van der Lippe, T. (2018). Flexible working, work–life balance, and gender equality: Introduction. Social Indicators Research, 151(2):365-381.

Ten Brummelhuis, L.L., Van der Lippe, T., & Kluwer, E. 2009. Family involvement and employee helping Behavior. Journal of Management 36(6).

Van der Lippe, T. & Van Dijk, L. 2002. Comparative research on women’s employmentAnnual Review of Sociology 28: 221-241.

Personal website


2.2 Childrearing in Diverse Family Structures: Behavior and Fairness

2.5 Family Members Stimulating Community Involvement

2.6 Women Who Work and Men Who Care

3.3. The emergence of sustainable care cooperatives: the role of social networks

8.5 Social Network and Prosocial Work Behaviour of Men and Women

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