Mission statement

The KLI is named after Kurt Lewin (1890-1947), who emphasized the complementarity of basic and applied research. It is this complementarity that characterizes the overall research program of the KLI. Thus, insights into the social psychology of organizations, environmental behavior, economics, law etc. are not merely an application of basic social psychological principles in different contexts. Rather, studying social psychology in various “applied” contexts typically provides insights that feed into basic social psychological research. Thus, both basic and applied social psychology can learn from each other and function as a two-way street, yielding a more precise, more robust, and more relevant social psychological science.

Viewed from this perspective, the Kurt Lewin Institute is a network of researchers in social psychology and its applications from seven Dutch universities; Leiden University, Maastricht University, Tilburg University, University of Amsterdam, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, and VU University Amsterdam. Together we prepare the new generation of researchers for the research field of tomorrow through the KLI teaching program. We find it important that PhD candidates grow in their knowledge and skills through; doing research with impact, taking responsibilities, building a network and help each other.

The research program of the KLI embraces the full range of social psychology and its applications. This entails a commitment to both fundamental and applied research. Throughout the KLI research endeavour there is an emphasis on the complementarity of fundamental and applied research. The guiding principle is to improve our understanding of fundamental scientific questions and our awareness of and responsiveness to applied and policy-relevant issues in current society. This is also a policy that is sensitive to the career perspectives of graduate students, many of whom go on to pursue successful research careers in employment outside academia.

Research conducted within the KLI can be described in terms of four levels of analysis: intrapersonal, interpersonal, group and organizational, and intergroup. These levels of analysis provide the basis for the four research divisions.