PhD fellowship in Communication and Leadership (Digital Leadership and Communication)


Kristiania University College is offering a fully funded PhD fellowship in Communication and Leadership for a period of three (3) years beginning in January 2024. During this time, the successful applicant will be employed at the Department of Leadership and Organization, School of Communication, Leadership, and Marketing and included in a team of researchers with ambitious plans to further develop research and pedagogical activities at the university college.

About Kristiania University College

Kristiania University College is Norway’s largest independent comprehensive university college with 18,000 students. Our mission is to strongly contribute to Norway’s social and economic development through problem-driven and applied knowledge development and dissemination, in close cooperation with the public and private sectors. Students can choose from a large portfolio of study programmes at the bachelor’s and master’s levels that are offered in Oslo, Bergen and online. Among these are study programmes in management, organization, marketing, communication, computer science, information technology, health sciences, innovation, and creative arts. The two PhD programmes at Kristiania University College offer advanced graduate work in most of these fields. For more information about the PhD programmes, see here:

About the position

The PhD position is a three-year fulltime position that involves 30 ECTS credits of required course work. This is equivalent to one semester of study. The remaining time is allocated to the development and completion of an independent research project, which takes the form of a written dissertation. The three-year employment period granted to the successful candidate may be reduced if the successful candidate has previously been employed in a PhD position.

The successful candidate is expected to live and work in the Oslo region during the employment period and to take an active part in scholarly and social activities at Kristiania.

About the project

The PhD project is entitled “Digital Leadership and Communication” and is affiliated with the research group “Political Communication”. The PhD project aims to understand leadership in the digital era by investigating the communicative behaviour of leaders and followers on social media platforms such as Twitter / X. The primary objective of the current research project is to understand the extent to which leaders, by their behaviour on social media platforms, communicate leadership styles and the effect of these leadership styles on follower engagement. Further, the project at hand seeks to investigate how followers’ engagement to leaders’ behaviour on social media platforms shapes future online communication strategies by leaders.

The project managers have collected data from the Twitter / X accounts of 70 Fortune 250 leaders. This dataset contains all tweets sent by the accounts between 2010 and 2022, including metadata such as timestamp, engagement metrics, and similar information. This data set will be accessible to the appointed candidate. The successful candidate must design an independent research project that aligns with the overarching theme and research questions of the main project:

  • What is the degree to which leaders’ behaviours (e.g., tweets) on social media convey leadership styles, and to what degree do these styles engage followers?
  • How do leaders shape their social media personas through their communicative conduct (e.g., through @mentions or retweets) when interacting with other users?
  • To what extent do the actions of leaders (e.g., tweets) and the responsive behaviours of followers on social media influence changes in leaders’ own conduct on these platforms over time?

Ideally, the project proposal should also incorporate the Twitter / X dataset and be crafted using a quantitative approach that significantly contributes to the advancement of knowledge within the specific area addressed by the main project. Qualitative and mixed-methods approaches will also be considered. Furthermore, the successful candidate needs to establish a rationale for how their project will enhance the success of the main endeavour, which is understanding leadership and communication in a digital era.

Qualifications and personal qualities

Required qualifications:

  • Master’s degree (ECTS or equivalent) in Communication studies, Leadership, or Organizational Psychology/Behaviour with a grade B or better on the master’s thesis and for the master’s degree in total. The master’s thesis must be a minimum of 30 ECTS or equivalent.
  • Relevant 180 ECTS bachelor’s degree
  • Proficiency in both written and spoken English
  • Skilled in quantitative analysis or willing to learn quantitative approaches to social scientific research.

Desired qualifications:

  • Experience with coding skills in R, Python or similar
  • Experience with data from social media platforms such as Twitter / X

Personal qualities:

  • Curiosity and a strong motivation to carry out independent research
  • Good communication and cooperation skills
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • The ability, desire, and capacity to work independently, systematically, and purposefully
  • Orientation toward the completion of projects and the attainment of goals

Emphasis will be placed on personal suitability for the position.

Your application must include:

  • A short cover letter (maximum 2 pages), including a brief account of your research interests and motivation for the position.
  • Official Transcripts and Diplomas in a Scandinavian or English language. If the original is in another language than these, then both the original and an English translation should be submitted.
  • CV
  • Master’s thesis
  • Any relevant publications
  • The names and contact information of two reference persons. (One should preferably be the main supervisor/advisor of your master’s thesis.)

A proposal for a research project as described above of a maximum of five (5) pages. See here for template:

  • Kristiania University College will only process applications submitted through our electronic recruitment system. All documents must be uploaded to this system for your application to be considered. The documents must be in English or a Scandinavian language. Translations must be authorized, and you must be prepared to present originals during a potential interview. Kristiania conducts document verification to ensure a genuine evaluation and fair competition for you as a candidate. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Evaluation of the applicants

All complete applications from qualified applicants will be assessed by an expert committee.

The candidate must be accepted to the PhD programme at the latest three months after signing the employment contract. To be accepted to this programme, one must fulfil the following requirements:

  • a relevant 180 ECTS bachelor’s degree, and
  • a relevant 120 ECTS master’s degree (or integrated bachelor and master) with a minimum 30 ECTS master thesis, and with a grade similar to the Norwegian/European grade B or higher both in average for the master’s degree in total and for the master’s thesis alone. 

We offer:

  • An exciting job in a dynamic professional environment in an organization with ambitions
  • A pleasant and stimulating working environment with good colleagues
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Good insurance and pension schemes
  • Corporate sports teams and training facilities
  • Modern work space in downtown Oslo

The starting salary is 532,200 NOK per year. 

Kristiania University College welcomes and encourages diversity. Women and persons with minority background are particularly encouraged to apply. 

We use Semac background checks in our recruitment process.

Application deadline 


For more information about the School of Communication, Leadership, and Marketing see here:

For more information about Kristiania, see here:


Ingvild M. Seljeseth