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Research programme

Work and Organizational Psychology

The research group “Individuals and Groups at Work” (IGW) deals with issues of cognitive as well affective adaptation and regulation in changing organizational contexts.

In today’s world of rapid changes due to economic and labor market pressures it is vital to understand how people manage their careers, regulate professional learning and development, and work together to produce creative ideas, and to jointly achieve high quality decisions. The research group “Individuals and Groups at Work” (IGW) deals with issues of cognitive as well affective adaptation and regulation in changing organizational contexts. These issues are studied at the individual level, the group level, and the cross-level interaction between these levels. IGW aims to develop and test theory around (1) individual adaptation, self-regulation, and behavior (e.g., career adaptability, motivation, decision making, creativity and innovation), (2) group regulatory processes and performance (e.g., leadership, power, team innovation, conflict and negotiation, group judgment, and decision making) and (3) the cross-level interaction between individual and group level (determinants of) regulatory processes (e.g., the interaction of organizational cultures, leaders, groups, and individuals).

IGW undertakes both fundamental and applied research and  it uses a multi-method approach that allows for triangulation and cross-validation, and enables evidence-based practice with regard to (self-)regulatory processes in organizations.

Current Research Projects

  • The Dynamics of Conflict and Negotiation

    Understanding the development and reducing the negative impact of intra-team conflicts

    Team work is the norm rather than the exception in most modern organizations and the occurrence of conflicts within teams is inevitable. Research has repeatedly shown the negative impact of both task-related and more relational conflict on team performance, team viability and individual wellbeing. We investigate how (negative) conflicts within teams arise, how these conflicts are perceived by team members, and how the negative outcomes of conflicts in teams can be mitigated. We particularly focus on the role of individuals’ conflict handling styles and leadership styles within teams.

    Homan, A. C., Van Kleef, G. A., & Sanchez-Burks, J. (2016). Team members' emotional displays as indicators of team functioning. Cognition and Emotion, 30, 131-149.

    Cooperation dilemma in intergroup conflict

    All individuals are part of several social groups and within these groups; they cooperate with each other to enhance individual and group well-being. When two of such groups get into conflict, a cooperation dilemma emerges for all individuals: Who to cooperate with? Cooperation with and investing in the own group, parochial cooperation, would help the own group but may adversely impact the other group and escalate conflict. A cooperative attitude toward the collective of both groups combined can help to install peace but may be risky and perceived as disloyal by the own group members. By using experimental game paradigms, our research investigates factors determining when individuals choose for parochial cooperation or for combined or universal cooperation.

    Aaldering, H., Van Kleef, G. A., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (in druk). Parochiale en universele cooperatie in intergroepsconflicten. Gedrag en Organisatie.


    When conflicting parties do not manage to solve their conflicts through dyadic interactions (negotiations), they may invoke the help of a mediator. What psychological factors contribute to successful mediation outcomes? We investigate how the relationship between mediator and clients (‘rapport’) and the way mediators regulate emotions during the mediation trajectory, as well as the personal mediation styles used by the mediator, contribute to satisfactory outcomes for all parties involved.

    Representative negotiations

    How do representatives of large groups, for example labor unions or organizations, balance diverging interests when negotiating with each other? Both representatives are incentivized by their constituency to adopt a competitive negotiation strategy, but also need to reach a mutually beneficial lasting agreement with the other party. We investigate how factors on different levels (individual differences within representatives, intragroup factors within the constituency and intergroup factors regarding the existing intergroup relations) influence representatives’ negotiation strategy and outcomes.

    Aaldering, H., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (2012). Why hawks fly higher than doves: The effects  of intra-group conflict on representative negotiation. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 15, 713 – 724.

    Aaldering, H., Greer, L. L., Van Kleef, G. A., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (2013). Interest (mis)alignments in representative negotiations: Do pro-social agents fuel or reduce inter-group conflict? Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 120, 240-250.

    Aaldering, H., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (2014). Integratief onderhandelen: oog voor beider belangen. Tijdschrift Conflicthantering, 9, 17-22.

    Beersma, B., & Ten Velden, F. S. (2014). Negotiation. In C.L. Cooper, M. Vodosek & D. Hertog (Eds.), Wiley encyclopedia of management (vol. 6: International management) - 3rd ed. New York: Wiley.

    Faculty working on The Dynamics of Conflict and Negotiation are:

    Dr. H. (Hillie) Aaldering


    Prof. dr. A.C. (Astrid) Homan


  • Group Decision Making and Performance

    Group decision making

    How do groups make decisions? What are the (neurobiological) key mechanisms, at the individual and at the group level, that drive individuals to seek and process information in a more or less systematic manner? Does systematic information processing always promote high quality decisions, or may it sometimes impede decision making quality? How do individual level biases in decision making transfer to group level biases? What happens when groups make sequential decisions? Do previous decisions affect subsequent decisions, and under what circumstances? How do individuals in a group decide between freeriding and costly investments in their group, and when do they decide to contribute at a personal cost? And when does competition within the group and between groups stimulate groups’ performance and decision making quality, and when does it hinder? These are some of the questions we are currently working on.

    Ten Velden, F. S., Baas, M., Shalvi, S., Kret, M. E., & De Dreu, C. K. (2014). Oxytocin differentially modulates compromise and competitive approach but not withdrawal to antagonists from own vs. rivaling other groups. Brain Research, 1580, 172-179.

    Group diversity              

    The increase of ethnic, gender, and age diversity at work makes it important to understand how differences between team members affect the processes and outcomes of these teams. Under which conditions are groups likely to reap the benefits of their differences and avoid the downsides of their diversity? In our past and ongoing research, we are reviewing and testing practical interventions that organizations could use to develop well-performing diverse teams, such as diversity training, diversity attitudes and beliefs, and leadership behaviors.

    Galinsky, A. D., Todd. A.R., Homan, A. C., et al. (2015). Maximizing the gains and minimizing the pains of diversity: A policy perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 742-748. 

    Homan, A. C., Buengeler, C., Eckhoff, E., Van Ginkel, W., & Voelpel, S. C. (2015). The interplay of diversity training and diversity beliefs on team creativity in nationality diverse teams. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100, 1456-1467.

    Homan, A. C., & Greer, L. L. (2013). Considering diversity: The positive effects of considerate leadership in diverse teams . Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 105-125.

    Rosenauer D., Homan, A. C., Horstmeier, C. A. L.,  & Voelpel, S. C. (in press). Managing nationality diversity: The interactive effect of leaders' cultural intelligence and task interdependence. British Journal of Management. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8551.12131

    Faculty working on Group Processes and Performance are: 

    Prof. dr. A.C. (Astrid) Homan


    Dr. M. (Matthijs) Baas


  • Power and Leadership

    Breaking the rules to rise to power       

    When observing current and previous leaders such as Berlusconi, Strauss-Kahn, Blatter, and Trump, one might wonder how these people got to these positions in the first place. Their behavior is characterized by a disregard of common rules and norms, which should be accompanied with falling from grace. However, our research has shown that under certain circumstances, breaking the rules actually signals power and as a result can help norm violators to climb the hierarchical ladder. Within this line of research, we are currently extending our understanding of the contingencies of norm violation effects, and are further examining the effects of different types of norm violations.                  

    Van Kleef, G. A., Wanders, F., Stamkou, E., & Homan, A. C. (2015). The social dynamics of breaking the rules: Antecedents and consequences of norm-violating behaviour. Current Opinion in Psychology, 6, 25-31 .

    Stamkou, E., Van Kleef, G. A., Homan, A. C., & Galinsky, A. (in press). How norm violations shape social hierarchies: Those who stand on top block norm violators from rising up. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. DOI:10.1177/1368430216641305

    Narcissistic leaders

    In contemporary Western society, with its emphasis on independence, self-confidence, extraversion, and high self-esteem, narcissistic tendencies seem to be well-appreciated: highly narcissistic individuals tend to emerge often as leaders. Why and when do individuals appreciate narcissistic individuals as leader? Do highly narcissistic individuals perform better, and is that why they rise as leaders? And if so, under what circumstances do they show high performance? What is narcissistic leaders' impact on followers, groups, organizations and society at large? These and other questions are what we are currently working on. 

    Nevicka, B., Baas, M., & Ten Velden, F. S. (2015). The bright side of threatened narcissism: Improved performance following ego threat. Journal of Personality. DOI:10.1111/jopy.12223

    Nevicka, B., Ten Velden, F. S., De Hoogh, A. H., & Van Vianen, A. E. (2011). Reality at odds with perceptions narcissistic leaders and group performance. Psychological Science, 22, 1259-1264.

    A-prototypical leadership         

    With the development of a more flexible workforce and changing societal dynamics (like immigration, globalization, and an aging work force), leadership processes have also become more dynamic. Whereas the prototypical leader is still often seen as an older White male, younger, female, and ethnic-minority leaders are likely to become more common. Within our research we examine the challenges that such "a-prototypical" leaders face, and we test factors that can help these leaders to overcome these challenges. Additionally, we are interested in understanding under which conditions members of such groups apply for leadership positions.

    Buengeler, C., Homan, A. C., & Voelpel, S. C. (in press). The challenge of being a young manager: The effects of contingent reward and participative leadership on team-level turnover depend on leader age. Journal of Organizational Behavior. DOI:10.1002/job.2101

    Gündemir, S., Homan, A. C., De Dreu, C. K. W., & Van Vugt, M. (2014). Think leader, think white? Capturing and weakening the implicit pro-white leadership bias. PLoS ONE, 9(1), e83915. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083915

    Faculty working on Power and Leadership

    Prof. dr. A.C. (Astrid) Homan


    Dr. B. (Barbara) Nevicka


    Prof. dr. A.E.M. (Annelies) van Vianen


  • Creativity and Innovation

    Creativity and innovation

    Creativity is a core competency in organizations to ensure growth and performance in an environment marked by rapid change and fierce competition. Although creativity is often considered a trait of the privileged few, any individual or team can become more creative—better able to generate novel and useful ideas and products. In our past and ongoing research on creativity, we set out to answer three broad questions: (1) What is creativity and how can it be measured? (2) Whether, when, and why do situational states and individual differences prevent or promote creativity? (3) How do leaders respond to creative ideas of their subordinates?

    Baas et al. (2008). A meta-analysis of 25 years of mood-creativity research: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus? Psychological Bulletin, 134, 779-806.

    What is creativity?

    We developed a theoretical model called Dual Pathway to Creativity Model (DPCM) in which we propose that creativity is function of associative and flexible processing of information (flexibility) and hard, persistent, and organized work (persistence). DPCM has proved to be a useful model to explain how personality traits and situational states may have their effects on creativity. We currently work on the construction of a questionnaire measuring flexibility and persistence, and set out to discover the neural correlates of flexibility and persistence.

    Nijstad, B. A., De Dreu, C.K.W., Rietzschel,  E.F.,  & Baas, M. (2010). The dual pathway to creativity model: creative ideation as a function of flexibility and persistence. European Review of Social Psychology, 21, 34-77.

    Factors affecting creativity

    Both individual and situational variables may affect creativity. Using a variety of research methods, we are investigating the cognitive and neural processes that play a role in people’s ability to come up with original ideas. For example, we study how the neurotransmitter dopamine influences the ability to switch between different ideas and perspectives during creative tasks. We also examine if creativity is related to specific personalities and/or induced by specific skills. 

    Belonging to many social groups that vary in norms and cultures helps people to (1) practice switching between different perspectives on problems (2) reconcile inconsistent ideas and (3) affords a greater variety of sources for creative input. We are thus interested in how creativity is shaped by the situation. Some of our work investigates how exposure to unusual, counter-stereotypic targets affects creativity. Because creativity is important and needed to successfully deal with threatening situations, we furthermore look at how creative performance is shaped in reaction to threats (e.g. unemployment, conflict, physical attack, or threat to one’s social identity).

    Baas, M.,  Nevicka, B.,  & Ten Velden, F. S.  (2014). Specific mindfulness skills differentially predict creative performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1092-1106.

    Baas, M., Nijstad, B. A., Boot, N. C., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (in press). Mad genius revisited: Psychopathologies, biobehavioral approach-avoidance, and creativity. Psychological Bulletin.

    Baas, M., Roskes, M., Sligte, D., Nijstad, B. A., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (2013). Personality and creativity: A process model and research agenda. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7, 732-748.

    Gocłowska, M. A., Baas, M., Crisp, R. J., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (2014). Whether social schema violations help or hurt creativity depends on need for structure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 959-971.

    Gocłowska, M. A., & Crisp, R. J. (2014). How dual identity processes foster creativity.  Review of General Psychology, 18, 216-236. 

    Nevicka, B., Baas, M., & Ten Velden, F. S. (2015). The bright side of threatened narcissism: Improved performance following ego threat. Journal of Personality. DOI:10.1111/jopy.12223

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

    Leaders and innovation

    Innovation is of vital importance to organizations and society. Leaders fulfill a crucial role in the different phases of the innovation process. Relevant questions are: What is the role of the leader in stimulating employee creativity? How do leaders react to creative ideas voiced by their employees? Under what conditions are leaders likely to react in positive and supportive ways and when do they tend to nip those ideas in the bud? Which role do leaders have in successfully translating creative ideas into implemented ones? In our past and ongoing research, we are using a combination of experimental lab-studies and field-surveys to provide an answer to these questions.

    Sijbom, R. B. L., Janssen, O., & Van Yperen, N. W. (2015a). How to get radical creative ideas into a leader’s mind? Leader’s achievement goals and subordinates’ voice of creative ideas. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 24, 279–296.

    Sijbom, R. B. L., Janssen, O., & Van Yperen, N. W. (2015b). Leaders’ receptivity to subordinates’ creative input: The role of achievement goals and composition of creative input. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 24, 462–478.

    Sijbom, R.B.L., Janssen, O., & Van Yperen, N.W. (2015c). Leaders’ reactions to radical creative ideas voiced by employees: The role of leaders’ achievement goals. Gedrag en Organisatie, 28, 154-173.

    Faculty working on Creativity and Innovation

    Dr. M. (Matthijs) Baas


    Dr. B. (Barbara) Nevicka


    Dr. R.B.L. (Roy) Sijbom


  • Managing Jobs and Careers

    Motivation and self-regulation in job search and reemployment

    Most people start new jobs several times during their working lives, for example after job loss, when finishing school/university, or when pursuing new career opportunities. The process of pursuing (new) employment or job search, can be described as a goal-directed but dynamic and ambiguous process during which motivation and self-regulation are essential in order to deal with difficulties, obstacles, failures, and rejections. Our current research is directed at developing and testing self-regulation theory in job search, for example focusing on questions like: Why do people fail to act on their (job search) intentions? How do setbacks influence subsequent self-regulation? What does a high quality job search look like? How can we  train people to more effectively search for employment?            

    Van Hooft, E. A. J. (2014). Motivating and hindering factors during the reemployment process: The added value of employment counselors' assessment. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19, 1-17 .

    Noordzij, G., Van Hooft, E. A. J., Van Mierlo, H., Van Dam, A., & Born, M. Ph. (2013). The effects of a learning-goal orientation training on self-regulation: A field experiment among unemployed job seekers. Personnel Psychology, 66, 723-755.

    Website research on job search:

    Adaptive careers

    Today’s labor market is full of challenges for building a successful career. Economic conditions and job requirements are constantly changing, and people have to deal with unemployment, job insecurity and flexible employment contracts. Our research examines how people can cope with these contemporary labor market challenges, by focusing on their adaptability, employability, and proactivity. In addition to understanding the moderators and processes underlying the impact of contemporary labor market challenges, our research has great societal value as we provide practical insights and develop evidence-based interventions. As such, we aim to help people turn today’s labor market challenges into opportunities for building a successful career.               

    Koen, J., Klehe, U. C. & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2013). Employability among the long-term unemployed: a futile quest of worth the effort? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 82, 37-48.

    Koen, J., Klehe, U.C. & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2012). Training career adaptability to facilitate a successful school-to-work transition. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81, 395-408.

    Klehe, U. C., Zikic, J., Van Vianen, A. E. M, Koen, J. & Buyken, M. (2012). Coping proactively with economic stress: career adaptability in the face of job insecurity, job loss, unemployment and underemployment. In P.L. Perrewé et al. (Eds.): Research in occupational stress and well-being (pp. 131-176), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bradford, UK.

    Koen, J., Klehe, U. C., Van Vianen, A. E. M., Zikic, J. & Nauta, A. (2010). Job-search strategies and reemployment quality: the impact of career adaptability. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77, 126-139.

    Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2013). Dynamische loopbanen: een kwestie van vooruitkijken. Assen: Koninklijke Van Gorcum.

    Why are people bored at work? Why do people procrastinate?

    Sometimes people are not so motivated to start or finish their work. For example, people may experience boredom at the workplace, or may engage in procrastination of tasks. Our research focuses on examining why people experience boredom and engage in procrastination, and on the consequences of boredom and procrastination for individuals and teams, in terms of well-being, work behavior, and task performance. Both laboratory and field research is conducted to gain in-depth understanding of motivational processes related to boredom and procrastination in individuals and teams.            

    Van Hooff, M. L. M., & Van Hooft, E. A. J. (2014). Boredom at work: Proximal and distal consequences of affective work-related boredom. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19, 348-359.

    Van Hooff, M.L.M., & Van  Hooft, E. A. J. (in press). Work-related boredom and depressed mood from a daily perspective: The moderating role of work centrality and need satisfaction. Work & Stress.                  

    Van Hooft, E. A. J., & Noordzij, G. (2009). The effects of goal orientation on job search and reemployment: a field experiment among unemployed job seekers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 1581.                

    Wanberg, C. R., Zhu, J., & Van Hooft, E. A. J. (2010). The job search grind: Perceived progress, self-reactions, and self-regulation of search effort. Academy of Management Journal, 53, 788-807.

    Happy and healthy employees

    Workload and new ways of working and organizing have an impact on employee health, well-being, and motivation. How can organizations boost work engagement of their employees? What can employees themselves do to stay engaged at work and to prevent burnout? In our research we focus on psychosocial working conditions, such as job demands (e.g. workload, job insecurity) and job resources (e.g. leadership, support, autonomy), as well as personal resources, proactive strategies and behaviors, which may affect employee functioning and well-being. The aim being that these aspects may help employees to adapt to changes and increase perceived person-job fit, work engagement and performance. Particularly, we study the effectiveness of strategies such as job crafting and job crafting interventions, as well as mindfulness and mindfulness interventions at work.

    Van den Heuvel, M.,  Demerouti, E., & Bakker, A. B. (2014). How psychological resources facilitate adaptation to organizational change. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23, 847-858.

    Van den Heuvel, M.,  Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2013). Adapting to change: The value of change information and meaning-making. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83, 11-21.

    Aging at work

    The proportion of older employees in the workforce is increasing. Politics and media tend to portray this ‘‘graying’’ as a problem for economic innovation. Furthermore, organizations have concerns about the alleged lower willingness of older workers to adapt to change. Both organizations and employees tend to assume that aging impede learning and development. However, research has shown that older employees vary with regard to their learning attitudes. We examine the extent to which personal and situational factors may impact older employees’ willingness and capacity to adapt to job and organizational changes.

    Van Vianen, A. E. M., Dalhoeven, B. A. G. W.,  & De Pater, I. E.  (2011). Aging and training and development willingness: employee and supervisor mindsets. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32, 226-247.

    Dalhoeven, B. A. G. W., Van Vianen, A. E. M., & De Pater, I. E. (2014). Waarover praten zij? Het functioneringsgesprek met oudere en jongere medewerkers over ontwikkeling en comfort. Gedrag en Organisatie, 27, 241-268.

    Dalhoeven, B. A. G. W., Van Vianen, A. E. M., & De Pater, I. E. (in druk). De leerervaringen en ontwikkelbereidheid van (oudere) medewerkers na een functioneringsgesprek en reorganisatie. Gedrag en Organisatie.

    Faculty working on Managing Jobs and Careers

    Dr. J. (Jessie) Koen


    Dr. M. (Machteld) van den Heuvel


    Prof. dr. E.A.J. (Edwin) van Hooft


    Prof. dr. A.E.M. (Annelies) van Vianen