School of Psychology - Directory - People - Dr Nik Steffens

Dr Nik Steffens
  – Lecturer

Picture of 'Dr Nik Steffens'
Dr Nik Steffens
Nik has been awarded his PhD from the University of Exeter (UK) before joining the School in 2012 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (where he will be Lecturer from 2017). His research focuses on self and identity in organizational contexts, leadership and followership, motivation and creativity, and health and well-being in the workplace. He teaches and supervises students in organisational, social, and health psychology.
134, McElwain Building (Building 24A, St. Lucia Campus)
+61 7 3346 9555
+61 7 3365 4466
Postal Address:

School of Psychology
University of Queensland
St. Lucia, 4072 QLD

Google Scholar ResearchGate
Picture of 'Dr Nik Steffens'
Dr Nik Steffens

2012       PhD in Psychology [funded by scholarship Exeter Graduate Fellowship], University of Exeter, UK

2008       Diploma in Psychology [equivalent to MSc; with distinction], University of Technology Dresden, Germany

2006       Pre-graduate Diploma in Organisation and Human Resources, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain


Professional Activities:

Current professional memberships and affiliations include:

European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP)

European Association of Social Psychology (EASP)

American Psychological Society (APS)

British Psychological Society (BPS)

German Psychological Society (DGPs)

Picture of 'Dr Nik Steffens'
Dr Nik Steffens
Research Activities:

I am broadly interested in self and identity in organizational contexts, leadership and followership, motivation and creativity, and health and well-being in the workplace. I conduct research using diverse methods including experimental and intervention studies, field and survey research, archival methods, psychometric and scale development research, and meta-analysis.

One stream of my research focuses on leadership as well as health and well-being. In this work, I am interested in questions such as:

  • To what extent can leaders mobilise followers by creating, embodying, promoting, and embedding a group identity that is shared with followers?
  • How can leaders promote health and well-being of those they have responsibility for?

In a second stream of research, I am interested in motivation and creativity. I examine questions such as:

  • To what extent is people's behavior in groups (e.g., citizenship) influenced by their orientation towards a group (e.g., focusing on what the group can do for them versus what they can do for the group)?
  • How is people's creativity influenced by the multiple identities that they possess?

In a third stream of research, I am interested in followership. I address questions such as:

  • How do social relationships influence followers' perceptions of a leader's charisma?
  • What factors determine the structure and content of people's implicit theories about (a) what followers are like and do and (b) the strategies they are most likely to be influenced by?

If you are interested in collaborating, or starting a PhD in some of the above areas, please send me an email.



Representative Publications:

Steffens, N. K., Yang, J., Jetten, J., Haslam, S. A., & Lipponen, J. (2017). The unfolding impact leader identity entrepreneurship on burnout, work engagement, and turnover intentions. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/ocp0000090 [PDF]

Jetten, J., Wang, Z., Steffens, N. K., Mols, F., Peters, K., & Verkuyten, M. (in press). A social identity analysis of responses to economic inequality. Current Opinion in Psychology, 18, 1-5. [PDF]

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R. (in press). A social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity. Sports Medicine. Advance online publication. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Ryan, M. K., & Millard, K. (in press). Genius begins at home: Shared social identity enhances the recognition of creative performance. British Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication. [PDF]

Fransen, K., Haslam, S. A., Mallett, C. J., Steffens, N. K., Peters, K., & Boen, F. (in press). Is perceived perceived athlete leadership quality related to team effectiveness? A comparison of three professional sports teams. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports. Advance online publication. [PDF]

Haslam, S. A., Steffens, N. K., Peters, P., Boyce, R. A., Mallett, C. J., & Fransen, K. (2017). A social identity perspective on leadership development: The 5R Program. Journal of Personnel Psychology. Advance online publication. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., & Mols, F. (in press). Our followers are lions, theirs are sheep: How social identity shapes theories about followership and social influence. Political Psychology. Advance Online Publication. [PDF]

Fransen, K., Haslam, S. A., Mallett, C. J., Steffens, N. K., Peters, K., & Boen, F. (2016). Leading from the centre: A comprehensive examination of the relationship between central playing positions and leadership in sport. PLoS ONE11, e0168150. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Jetten, J., Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., & Haslam, S. A. (2016). Multiple social identities enhance health post-retirement because they are a basis for giving social support. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1519 [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Peters, K., Haslam, S. A., & van Dick, R. (in press). Dying for charisma: Leaders' inspirational appeal increases post-mortem. The Leadership Quarterly. Advance online publication. [PDF]

Cruwys, T., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Jetten, J., & Dingle, S. A. (in press). Social identity mapping: A procedure for visual representation and assessment of subjective multiple group membership. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55, 613-642. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Schuh, S. C., Jetten, J., & van Dick, R. (in press). A meta-analytic review of social identification and health in organizational contexts. Personality and Social Psychology Review. Advance online publication. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Mols, F., Haslam, S. A., & Okimoto, T. G. (2016). True to what We stand for: Championing collective interests as a path to authentic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 27, 726-744. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Cruwys, T., Haslam, C., Jetten, J., & Haslam, S. A. (2016). Social group memberships in retirement are associated with reduced risk of premature death: evidence from a longitudinal cohort study. BMJ Open, 6, e010164. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Goc┼éowska, M. A., Cruwys, T., & Galinsky, A. D. (2016). How multiple social identities are related to creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 188-203. [PDF]

Fransen, K., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Vanbeselaere, N., Vande Broek, G., & Boen, F. (2016). We will be champions: Leaders' confidence in 'us' inspires team members' team confidence and performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 26, 1455-1469. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., & Haslam, S. A. (in press). Building team and organizational identification to promote leadership, citizenship, and health. In M. F. Crane (Ed.), Workplaces that bounce back: A practical guide for managers seeking to maintain employee resilience. London: Psychology Press.

Molenberghs, P., Prochillo, G., Steffens, N. K., Zacher, H. & Haslam, S. A. (in press). The neuroscience of inspirational leadership: The importance of collective-oriented language and shared group membership. Journal of Management. Advance online publication. [PDF]

Haslam, S. A., Steffens, N. K., Peters, K., & Yang, J. (in press). Natural but estranged bedfellows: Social identity and the missing link between health and leadership. In R. Williams, S. Bailey, B. Kamaldeep, S. A. Haslam, C. Haslam, V. Kemp, & D. Maughan (Eds.), Social scaffolding: Applying the lessons of contemporary social science to health, public mental health and healthcare. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Reicher, S. D., Haslam, S. A., Platow, M. J., & Steffens, N. K. (2016). Tyranny and leadership. In S. McKeown, R. Haji, & N. Ferguson (Ed.), Understanding peace and conflict through social identity theory: Contemporary and world-wide perspectives (pp. 71-87). London: Springer.

Steffens, N. K., Schuh, S. C., Haslam, S. A., Pérez, A., & van Dick, R. (2015). 'Of the group' and 'for the group': How followership is shaped by leaders' prototypicality and group identification. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 180-190. [PDF]

Mols, F., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., & Steffens, N. K. (2015). Why a nudge is not enough: A social identity critique of governance by stealth. European Journal of Political Research, 51, 81-98. [PDF]

Platow, M. J., Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., & Steffens, N. K. (2015). There is no leadership if no one follows: Why leadership is necessarily a group process. International Coaching Psychology Review, 10, 20-37. [PDF]

Fransen, K., Haslam, S. A., Steffens, N. K., Vanbeselaere, N., De Cuyper, B., & Boen, F. (2015). Believing in 'us': Exploring leaders' capacity to enhance team confidence and performance by building a sense of shared social identity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 21, 89-100. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., Platow, M. J., Fransen, K., Yang, J., Ryan, M. K., Jetten, J., Peters, K., & Boen, F. (2014). Leadership as social identity management: Introducing the Identity Leadership Inventory (ILI) to assess and validate a four-dimensional model. The Leadership Quarterly, 25, 1001-1024. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Shemla, M., Wegge, J., & Diestel, S. (2014). Organizational tenure and employee performance: A multi-level analysis. Group and Organization Management, 39, 664-690. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Kerschreiter, R., Schuh, S. C., & van Dick, R. (2014). Leaders enhance group members' work engagement and reduce their burnout by crafting social identity. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management, 28, 173-194. [PDF]

Peters, K., Haslam, S. A., Ryan, M. K., & Steffens, N. K. (2014). To lead, ASPIRe: Building organic organizational identity. In S. Otten, K. van der Zee, & M. B. Brewer (Eds.), Towards inclusive organizations: Determinants of successful diversity management at work (pp. 87-107). Hove, UK: Psychology Press. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Reicher, S. D. (2014). Up close and personal: Evidence that shared social identity is a basis for the 'special' relationship that binds followers to their leaders. The Leadership Quarterly, 25, 296-313. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Kessler, T., & Ryan, M. K. (2013). Leader performance and prototypicality: Their inter-relationship and impact on leaders' identity entrepreneurship. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 606-613. [PDF]

Steffens, N. K., & Haslam, S. A. (2013). Power through 'us': Leaders' use of we-referencing language predicts election victory. PLoS ONE, 8, e77952. [PDF]



Research Area:

I am happy to supervise highly motivated students (e.g., research experience, Honours, Master students) on research projects in the broad areas of leadership and followership, creativity and motivation, and health and well-being. Exemplary research projects might examine one of the following issues:

  • Creativity: How is people's ability to generate and recognise creative performances influenced by (a) the multiple social identities that people have and (b) the relationship between these?
  • Meta-psychology of people's engagement with groups: To what extent does group members’ engagement with groups depend on the extent to which other group members' identify with the group?
  • Authentic leadership: What makes a leader authentic? To what extent are leaders seen to be authentic as a function of being aware of (a) their personal self ('I' and 'me) and (b) their social self ('we' and 'us') that they share with followers?
  • Role models: How is the ability to be seen as a role model and to inspire as a role model influenced by the extent to which a person perceives to have overlap in social group memberships with a potential role model?
  • Leadership and the psychology of followership: What factors influence people’s  theories about followers (what followers are like and do) and about the ways in which leaders can and should influence followers?

If you are an Honours student and would like to meet and discuss potential supervision, please come to the Honours Meet & Greet event.

Loading Publications from UQ eSpace, please wait...

QR Code for 'Dr Nik Steffens'.
View QR Code for this page.
Psychology News, Events & Publications RSS 2.0 Feed School of Psychology on Facebook School of Psychology on Twitter School of Psychology on Google Plus School of Psychology on Linkedin School of Psychology on YouTube
Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Google Plus Share this page on Linkedin