Current projects

Ongoing and completed research projects


Job loss, short-time work, or loss of earnings: The pandemic disrupted many employees’ working life. The CovStress project investigates the long-term psychological consequences of such "career shocks” for economic insecurity, mental health and quality of life. The goal is to answer the following research questions:

1) Which health effects of career shocks are still visible toward the end of the crisis, and what are the psychological explanatory mechanisms?

2) Which factors facilitate recovery from career shocks?

3) How do economic stress, health, and quality of life continue to evolve?

Longitudinal studies will be conducted in cooperation with political actors and practice partners to address these research questions. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for a period of three years and is part of a larger program program on the societal impact of the pandemic.

Duration: 02/2023–01/2026

Principal investigators: Dr. Katharina Klug, Prof. Dr. Vera Hagemann

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

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People in organizational leadership positions have a significant influence on their employees' work design. But how do leaders design work for their employees? In collaboration with the Centre for Transformative Work Design in Perth, a series of experimental studies serve to investigate whether leaders pass on their own working conditions (e.g. time pressure and autonomy) to their employees.


How can we recognize strain and overload at work before employees develop more serious mental health problems? The WIBO is conceptualized as a survey to detect early warning signs of psychological impairment at work (burnout, depression, etc.). The aim is to develop an economic scale for self-assessment as well as an observer-rating. While employees can use the questionnaire for a self-screening, the observer version is aimed at organizational leaders to help them recognize overload and strain in their employees early on and initiate preventive measures.

Duration: 2020-2023

Principal Investigator: Prof. Jörg Felfe

Since 2017, Katharina Klug has been a member of the research consortium "Labour standards for improved well-being", which is funded by the State of Hamburg, scientists from a wide range of disciplines are investigating the transformation of the world of work and its effects in various subprojects.

Duration: 2017-2021

Principle Investigators: Prof. Dorothea Alewell, Prof. Wenzel Matiaske

This project explores the forms and effects of inconsistent leadership. Inconsistent leadership can mean, for example, that a leader communicates to their employees the value of health while neglecting their self care. In this project, profile analyses are used to investigate the manifestations and effects of inconsistency between health-promoting leadership and self-care. The project is funded by the internal research funding of the Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg.

Duration: 2018-2021

Principle Investigator: Prof. Jörg Felfe