Associate Professor Nik Steffens

Associate Professor

School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
+61 7 334 69555


Nik is Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Business and Organisational Psychology (CBOP) in UQ's School of Psychology. He lived, worked, and studied psychology in Germany and Spain and completed his PhD in the UK (awarded from the University of Exeter) before working at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Nik conducts fundamental and applied research to uncover psychological drivers that make groups and organisations fairer, more motivating, more effective, and healthier. His expertise lies in social identity and team work processes in social and organisational contexts including leadership and followership, motivation and creativity, and health and well-being. He uses diverse methods to understand people and organisations including experimental and intervention studies, field and survey research, archival methods, psychometric scale development, and systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

His work has been supported by several bodies including the Australian Research Council (e.g., he was awarded an ARC DECRA fellowship in 2018), the Australian Government, and several industry research-partnerships (with public and private organisations). In 2017, he won the APS Workplace Excellence Award for Leadership Development (together with Alex Haslam and Kim Peters) for his work with industry partners on the 5R leadership development program that seeks to help leaders to develop their leadership ability and enhance team functioning and well-being ( Nik consults to organisations around social and organisational challenges and he is an (IECL-certified) orgnisational coach.

Nik is a co-founding member of the Global Identity Leadership Development (GILD) network of global leadership scholars, and serves on the Editorial Board of the flagship journal for leadership research, The Leadership Quarterly. He is Editor (with Michelle Ryan and Floor Rink) of the 'Organisational Psychology: Revisiting the Classic studies' published in 2023 as part of SAGE's classic studies in psychology series (


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Exeter


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Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Mols, Frank, Haslam, S. Alexander, Platow, Michael J., Reicher, Stephen D. and Steffens, Niklas K. (2023). The Social Identity Approach to Political Leadership. The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology. edited by Huddy, Leonie, Sears, David O., Levy, Jack S. and Jerit, Jennifer. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197541302.013.21

  • Bentley, Sarah V., Haslam, S. Alexander, Greenaway, Katherine H., Cruwys, Tegan and Steffens, Nik (2023). A picture is worth a thousand words: social identity mapping as a way of visualizing and assessing social group connections. Handbook of Research Methods for Studying Identity In and Around Organizations. (pp. 87-102) Edward Elgar Publishing. doi: 10.4337/9781802207972.00018

  • van Dick, Rolf, Steffens, Niklas K. and Fink, Louisa (2023). Charisma nach dem Ableben und das Verschmelzen von Führungsperson und Gruppe. Springer Reference Psychologie. (pp. 1-9) Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-55213-7_46-1

  • van Dick, Rolf, Cordes, Berrit L., Kerschreiter, Rudolf and Steffens, Niklas K. (2023). Erfolgreich führen durch das Schaffen einer gemeinsamen Identität in Teams und Organisationen. Springer Reference Psychologie. (pp. 1-13) Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-55213-7_47-1

  • Fladerer, Martin P., Steffens, Niklas K. and Haslam, S. Alexander (2021). Bridging gaps in organizations: leaders as entrepreneurs of identity. The connecting leader: serving concurrently as a leader and a follower. (pp. 67-98) edited by Zahira Jaser. Charlotte, NC, United States: Information Age Publishing.

  • Fink, Louisa, Dick, Rolf van, Steffens, Niklas K., Peters, Kim and Haslam, S. Alexander (2020). Death becomes us! Rethinking leadership charisma as a social inference. Routledge international handbook of charisma. (pp. 468-479) edited by José Pedro Zúquete. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429263224-48

  • Steffens, Niklas K., Fransen, Katrien and Haslam, S. Alexander (2020). Leadership. The new psychology of sport and exercise: the social identity approach . (pp. 41-58) edited by S. Alexander Haslam, Katrien Fransen and Filip Boen. Thousand Oaks, CA USA: Sage Publications.

  • Steffens, Niklas K. (2020). Compliance and followership. Together apart: the psychology of COVID-19 . (pp. 41-45) edited by Jolanda Jetten, Stephen D. Reicher, S. Alexander Haslam and Tegan Cruwys. London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications.

  • Slater, Matthew J., Steffens, Niklas K., Fransen, Katrien and Haslam, S. Alexander (2020). Developing effective on- and off-field leadership in elite soccer. The psychology of soccer. (pp. 60-73) edited by Joseph G. Dixon, Jamie B. Barker, Richard C. Thelwell and Ian Mitchell. New York, NY USA: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003005568-6

  • Haslam, S. Alexander, Steffens, Niklas K. and Peters, Kim (2019). The importance of creating and harnessing a sense of ‘us’: social identity as the missing link between leadership and health. Social scaffolding: applying the lessons of contemporary social science to health and healthcare. (pp. 302-311) edited by Richard Williams, Verity Kemp, S. Alexander Haslam, Catherine Haslam, Kamaldeep S. Bhui and Sue Bailey. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781911623069.029

  • Haslam, S. Alexander, Adarves-Yorno, Inmaculada, Steffens, Niklas K. and Postmes, Tom (2019). Inspired and appreciated by the group: the social identity approach to creativity. The Oxford handbook of group creativity and innovation. (pp. 117-131) edited by Paul B. Paulus and Bernard A. Nijstad. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190648077.013.8

  • Wang, Zhechen, Jetten, Jolanda and Steffens, Niklas K. (2019). Do people want more wealth and status in unequal societies?. The Social Psychology of Inequality. (pp. 289-303) edited by Jolanda Jetten and Kim Peters. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-28856-3_18

  • Peters, Kim, Fonseca, Miguel A., Haslam, S. Alexander, Steffens, Niklas K. and Quiggin, John (2019). Fat cats and thin followers: excessive CEO pay may reduce ability to lead. The social psychology of inequality. (pp. 21-34) edited by Jolanda Jetten and Kim Peters. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-28856-3_2

  • Steffens, Niklas K. and Haslam, S. Alexander (2017). Building team and organisational identification to promote leadership, citizenship and resilience. Managing for resilience: a practical guide for employee wellbeing and organizational performance. (pp. 150-167) edited by Monique F. Crane. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315648033-10

  • Reicher, Stephen, Haslam, S. Alexander, Platow, Michael and Steffens, Nik (2016). Tyranny and leadership. Understanding peace and conflict through social identity theory: contemporary global perspectives. (pp. 71-87) edited by Shelley McKeown, Neil Ferguson and Reeshma Haji. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-29869-6_5

  • Peters, Kim, Haslam, S. Alexander, Ryan, Michelle K. and Steffens, Niklas K. (2014). To lead, ASPIRe: Building organic organizational identity. Towards inclusive organizations: Determinants of successful diversity management at work. (pp. 87-107) edited by Sabine Otten, Karen van der Zee and Marilynn B. Brewer. New York, United States: Psychology Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Gupta, Alisha, Reina, Chris, Choi, Ellen, Gupta, Alisha, Kay, Adam Austen, Lyddy, Christopher James, Town, Sophia, Arnold, Kara Anne, Carleton, Erica, Goh, Zen, Good, Darren Jason, Hancock, Amanda J., Keller, Josh, Kudesia, Ravi S., Lange, Donald A., Li, Yiqiong, Ortynsky, Mikaila, Reina, Chris, Steffens, Niklas, Vogus, Timothy J. and Walsh, Megan Marie (2022). Mind(fulness) over matter: mechanisms of mindfulness to facilitate work functioning. Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Unknown, Unknown. Briarcliff Manor, NY, United States: Academy of Management. doi: 10.5465/ambpp.2022.13546symposium

  • Lockey, Steve, Gillespie, Nicole, Curtis, Caitlin, Bingley, William, Worthy, Peter, Haslam, Alexander, Steffens, Niklas, Bialkowski, Alina, Ko, Ryan and Wiles, Janet (2022). Necessary but not sufficient: assurance mechanisms for enhancing trust in AI-enabled job screening. 82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Seattle, WA United States, 5-9 August 2022. Briarcliff Manor, NY United States: Academy of Management. doi: 10.5465/ambpp.2022.10638abstract

  • Schuh, Sebastian, Steffens, Niklas K. and Xin, Katherine (2017). Understanding when leaders grant voice: effects of follower group orientation and prototypicality. Academy of Management Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, Canada, January 2015. Briarcliff Manor, NY, United States: Academy of Management. doi: 10.5465/ambpp.2015.15803abstract

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision