Van den Broeck, A.

University of KU Leuven, Belgium

Professor Anja is an Associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the KU Leuven

  1. Education and career. Anja Van den Broeck (°1983) is Associate Professor (hoofddocent) at the Department of Work and Organization Studies (WOS), Campus Brussels, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), KU Leuven. She studied Work Psychology and obtained a Ph.D. in Work and Motivational psychology in May 2010 from KU Leuven (entitled: Work Motivation. A Perspective from the Job Demands-Resources Model and the Self-Determination Theory, (Co)promoters: Prof. Willy Lens, Prof. Hans De Witte & Prof. Maarten Vansteenkiste). In February 2010, she started working as a lecturer at the University College Brussels and became an assistant professor at the KU Leuven in 2014. She was promoted to associate professor in October 2016. She currently teaches the following courses: Management of People and Organisations (1BA), Psychosocial Aspects at Work (3BA), Behavior, Society, and Economy (Dutch and English bridging program), Creating Motivational Work (MA), and Actual Topics Well-being at Work (MA).


  1. Research focus, track record, and future ambitions. Anja’s research interests include motivation, job design, well-being, engagement, and burnout. Her research goal is to examine how, and under which circumstances individuals may thrive in the broader context of work (including job search and successful return to work). She has published over 64 peer-reviewed articles in international journals including Academy of Management Annals (IF=11,87, Q1, 1/226 in Management, 1/152 in Business), Journal of Management (IF=8.88, Q1, 3/84 in Applied Psychology, 4/226 in Management, 4/152 in Business), Journal of Applied Psychology (IF=5.85, Q1,16/266 Management; 7/84 Applied psychology), Journal of Vocational Behavior (IF=4.08, Q1, 10/84 Applied Psychology), Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (IF=3.17, Q1,16/84 Applied Psychology), and Journal of Business Ethics (IF=4.14; Q1; 40/152 Business, 2/55 ethics). Her research has been cited over 7987 times leading to an H-index of 36 on Google Scholar, and an Rg score of 32.66 on ResearchGate, which is higher than 90% of its members. Anja’s work got scientific recognition at several occasions. Three of her papers are considered impactful highly cited papers (Van den Broeck et al., 2016, Journal of Management; Gagné et al., 2015; European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, and Van den Broeck et al., 2010, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology). Anja won several prices for her research (e.g., top article of Journal of Management in 2017; Invited scholar for the junior visiting scholar program 2016, showcase symposium at the 2014 Conference of the Academy of Management; nominee for the Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Awards in 2010; the Schelstraete & Desmedt Human Resources Award in 2008). Anja successfully attracted research grants at the national (FWO, BOF) and international (Vlir-Uos) level for a total worth of 1,5 mil euro. She has (co-)supervised 14 PhD-students so far (6 ongoing PhDs, 8 who have successfully defended their Ph.D.). In addition, Anja has been a member of 18 national and international doctoral committees and juries in Psychology and Management across Belgium, Australia, and the UK (excluding her own Ph.D. students). Anja is internationally well-connected. She publishes with other experts on work motivation such as Lance Ferris (Michigan State University) and Sharon Parker (University of Western Australia and Curtin University). Together with highly renowned scholars as Marc Van Veldhoven (Tilburg University), Kevin Daniels (University of East Anglia), and Arnold Bakker (Erasmus University), Anja has edited a special issue of Applied Psychology: An International review (2019, IF 2.08). Anja enjoyed short research stays at the Concordia University (2007), University of Sheffield (2012), Cornell University (2013, 2014), Tilburg University (2016), and the University of Queensland (2019). She recurrently visited the University of Western Australia in 2015 and 2016 for 6 months each time (FWO-funding), and Curtin University (2018, 2019). She has been an invited speaker in the Netherlands, Germany, Romania, Chile, Austria, and South Africa. Anja is a member of the editorial boards of Organizational Psychology Review, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, and Journal of Human Resources Psychology. She frequently serves as a reviewer for other journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management and Organizational Behavior, and Human Decision Processes. She received the best reviewer award on Publons in the category of psychology/psychiatry in 2018 and the best reviewer award from the Academy of Management in 2014. Anja’s research interest is in how the design of work can impact employee well-being and performance, and – hence – organizational success. The COVID-19 pandemic is arguably one of the most obvious factors at the macro-level changing where, when, and how people work. These changes however only came on top of more silent revolutions in the labor market such as evolutions in national institutions, robotization, and organizational design which put work design under pressure. We need to understand these influences, their impact on how work is designed, and how these changes alter employee motivation and – hence – individual well-being and productivity and therefore also organizational success. Self-determination theory, a theory of human motivation and optimal functioning are particularly beneficial to shed light on these issues. The newly created environment furthermore provides an excellent context to further develop this theory in and of itself, for example, by bringing it to the team level and testing parts of the theory that have been developed in other domains (e.g., the literature on education or parenting) to the context of work. Combining research on recent societal developments, while further developing fundamental theories fits the dual focus of the FEB to foster research with both high societal and academic impact. The corporate world is increasingly looking for evidence-based guidelines on how to structure and organize the new ways of working and see motivation and well-being as key factors to attract and retain their human capital, as is evidenced by my collaborations with profit (e.g., Fortis Colruyt) and not-for-profit (e.g., Gewestelijke Overheidsdienst Brussel, CAW) organizations.
  1. Service. Anja takes on several internal service duties. She is a member of the campus council and an active member of the permanent education committee of Ba and MSc in Environment, Health, and Safety Management. Within this role she was involved in the development and introduction of the new program, increasing the international focus of the program and developing the alumni network. Anja is well connected with practitioners and policymakers. She has several practice oriented publications (e.g., in Over. Werk, Harvard Business Review, Gedrag & Organisatie), is responsible for the track on work design in both the National Training of Prevention Advisors Psychosocial Aspects at Work, and Ergonomics, and is part of the guidance committee for the Drive project off the European Social Fund. Anja engages in sharing her knowledge with a broader audience, via talks and workshops and developing open-source practice-oriented tools such as a manual for motivational HR practices for older employees (http://www.langer, a website supporting employers being confronted with an employee with cancer (

Main achievements

  1. Parker, S. K., Van den Broeck, A., & Holman, D. (2017). Work Design Influences: A Synthesis of Multilevel Factors that Affect the Design of Jobs. Academy of Management Annals, 11(1), 267–308. Article in the most important journal in the field of management.(IF=11,87, Q1, 1/226 in Management, 1/152 in Business, # google scholar citations: 87)
  2. Van den Broeck, A., Ferris, D. L., Chang, C.-H., & Rosen, C. C. (2016). A review of self-determination theory’s basic psychological needs at work. Journal of Management, 42(5), 1195–1229. (IF=8.88, Q1, 3/84 in Applied Psychology, 4/226 in Management, 4/152 in Business, # google scholar citations: 441; highly cited paper in Web of Science)
  3. Van den Broeck, A., Vansteenkiste, M., De Witte, H., Soenens, B., Lens, W., Witte, H. De, & Soenens, B. (2010). Capturing autonomy, competence, and relatedness at work: Construction and initial validation of the Work-related Basic Need Satisfaction scale. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(4), 981–1002. .(IF=2.65, Q2, 105/226 in Management, 24/84 in Applied Psychology, # google scholar citations: 995, highly cited paper in Web of Science). Development of a need satisfaction questionnaire which enabled scholars to study this construct in the context of work.
  4. Van den Broeck, A., Vansteenkiste, M., De Witte, H., & Lens, W. (2008). Explaining the relationships between job characteristics, burnout, and engagement: The role of basic psychological need satisfaction. Work & Stress, 22(3), 277–294. (IF = 3.63, Q1, 13/84 Applied Psychology, # google scholar citations:1227, highly cited paper in Web of Science). The first paper introducing Self-Determination Theory to understand the impact of work design.
  5. Co-promoter of FWO-project “The plugged-in employee: All risks and no benefits? (2018-2022; budget: budget: 404 900 euro).

Link to publications: