Prof. Steffen Giessner

Steffen Giessner

Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Change
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam


Steffen R. Giessner is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Change at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

He holds an MSc in Psychology from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, and a PhD in Psychology from the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany. His research is located at the intersection of organizational psychology and management. His primary research topics are employee support during organizational merger, follower’s perceptions of leadership, antecedents of leader behavior, and non-verbal communication of power. He has authored and co-authored papers in the areas of organizational behavior, management, and psychology. His research received media coverage in outlets like the New York Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business Manager and Wall Street Journal. His most recent book on Leading with Presence addresses how one can develop the non-verbal aspect of leadership impact.


  • Academic (39)
    • Knippenberg, D., Giessner, S., Sleebos, E., & Ginkel, W. (2021). A motivated information processing perspective on the antecedents of empowering leadership. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 51(2), 79-89.

    • Connelly, CE., ?erne, M., Fieseler, C., Giessner, S., & Wong, SI. (2021). Working in the digitized economy: HRM theory & practice. Human Resource Management Review, 31(1), 1-7. [100762].

    • Chartier, C. R., Arnal, J. D., Arrow, H., Bloxsom, N. G., Bonfiglio, D. B. V., Brumbaugh, C. C., Corker, K. S., Ebersole, C. R., Garinther, A., Giessner, S. R., Hughes, S., Inzlicht, M., Lin, H., Mercier, B., Metzger, M., Rangel, D., Saunders, B., Schmidt, K., Storage, D., & Tocco, C. (2020). Many Labs 5: Registered Replication of Albarracín et al. (2008), Experiment 5. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 3(3), 332-339.,

    • Belschak, F., Jacobs, G., Giessner, S., Horton, K., & Bayerl, S. (2020). When the going gets tough: employee reactions to large-scale organizational change and the role of employee machiavellianism. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 41(9), 830-850.

    • Rosa, M., Giessner, S., Guerra, R., Waldzus, S., Kersting, AM., Veli?kovi?, K., & Collins, EC. (2020). They (don’t) need us: Functionality impacts perceptions of representativeness and commitment when lower-status groups go through intergroup change. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.

    • Ebersole, CR., Mathur, MB., Baranski, E., Bart-Plange, D., Buttrick, NR., Chartier, CR., Corker, KS., Corley, M., Hartshorne, JK., IJzerman, H., Lazarevic, LB., Rabagliati, H., Ropovik, I., Aczel, B., Aeschbach, LF., Andrighetto, L., Arnal, JD., Arrow, H., Babincak, P., ... et al., . (2020). Many Labs 5: Testing pre-data collection peer review as an intervention to increase replicability. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 3(3), 309-331.

    • Giessner, S., Stam, D., Kerschreiter, R., Verboon, D., & Salama, I. (2020). Goal-setting reloaded: The influence of minimal and maximal goal standards on task satisfaction and goal striving after performance feedback. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 161, 228-241.

    • Monzani, L., Knoll, V., Giessner, S., van Dick, R., & Peiró, J. M. (2019). Between a rock and hard place: Combined effects of authentic leadership, organizational identification, and team prototypicality on managerial prohibitive voice. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 22(1), 1-20.

    • Giessner, S., & Schubert, TW. (2019). Power and vertical positions in an organization chart: A pre-registered replication report of Study 3a and a modification of Study 1a, Giessner & Schubert (2007). Collabra: Psychology, 5(1).

    • Toscano, H., Schubert, TW., & Giessner, S. (2018). Eye Gaze and Head Posture Jointly Influence Judgments of Dominance, Physical Strength, and Anger. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 42(3), 285-309.

    • Klein, RA., Vianello, M., Hasselman, F., Adams, BG., Adams, RB., Alper, S., Aveyard, M., Axt, JR., Bahnik, S., Batra, R., Berkics, M., Bernstein, MJ., Berry, D., Bialobrzeska, O., Binan, E., Bocian, K., Brandt, MJ., Busching, R., Redei, AC., ... Giessner, S. (2018). Many labs 2: Investigating variation in replicability across sample and setting. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 1(4), 443-490.

    • van Dick, R., Lemoine, JE., Steffens, N. K., Kerschreiter, R., Akfarit, SA., Avanzi, L., Dumont, K., Epitropaki, O., Giessner, S., & et al., . (2018). Identity Leadership Going Global: Validation of the Identity Leadership Inventory (ILI) across 20 Countries. Journal of Organizational and Occupational Psychology, 91(4), 697-728.

    • Houwelingen, G., Stam, D., & Giessner, S. (2017). So close and yet so far away: A psychological distance account of the effectiveness of leader appeals. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(12), 665-676.

    • Rosa, M., Kavanagh, E., Kounov, P., Jarosz, S., Waldzus, S., Collins, E., & Giessner, S. (2017). Change commitment in low status merger partners: The role of information processing, relative ingroup prototypicality and merger patterns. The British Journal of Social Psychology, 56(3), 618-630.

    • Reh, S., Quaquebeke, N., & Giessner, S. (2017). The aura of charisma: A review on the embodiment perspective as signaling. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(4), 486-507.

    • Rast, DE., Hogg, MA., & Giessner, S. (2016). Who trusts charismatic leaders who champion change? The role of group identification, membership centrality and self-uncertainty. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice, 20(4), 259-275.

    • Giessner, S., Horton, K., & Humborstad, SIW. (2016). Identity management during organizational mergers: Empirical insights and practical advice. Social Issues and Policy Review, 10(1), 47-81.

    • Wong, SI., & Giessner, S. (2015). The thin line between empowering and laissez-faire leadership: An expectancy match perspective. Journal of Management, 44(2), 757-783.

    • Giessner, S., Quaquebeke, N., van Gils, S., Knippenberg, D., & Kollee, JAJM. (2015). In the moral eye of the beholder: The interactive effects of leader and follower moral identity on perceptions of ethical leadership and LMX quality. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1126.

    • Giessner, S., Knippenberg, D., Ginkel, W., & Sleebos, E. (2013). Team-oriented leadership: The Interactive Effects of Leader Group Prototypicality, Accountability, and Team Identification. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(4), 658-667.

    • Kollee, JAJM., Giessner, S., & Knippenberg, D. (2013). Leader evaluations after performance feedback: The role of follower mood. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), 203-214.

    • Gleibs, I. H., Täuber, S., Viki, G. T., & Giessner, S. (2013). When what we get is not what we want - The role of implemented versus desired merger patterns in support for mergers. Social Psychology, 44(3), 177-190.

    • Rast, DE., Hogg, MA., & Giessner, S. (2012). Self-uncertainty and support for autocratic leadership. Self and Identity, 12(6), 635-649.

    • Zanolie, CKK. C. K. K., Van Dantzig, S., Boot, I. I., Wijnen, J., Schubert, TW., Giessner, S., & Pecher, D. (2012). Mighty metaphors: Behavioral and ERP evidence that power shifts attention on a vertical dimension. Brain and Cognition, 78(1), 50-58.

    • Eisenbei?, SA., & Giessner, S. (2012). The Emergence and Maintenance of Ethical Leadership in Organizations: A Question of Embeddedness? Journal of Personnel Psychology, 11(1), 7-19.

    • Giessner, S., Ryan, MK., Schubert, TW., & Quaquebeke, N. (2011). The power of pictures: Vertical picture angles in power pictures. Media Psychology, 14(4), 441-463.

    • Giessner, S., Ullrich, J., & van Dick, R. (2011). Teaching & Learning Guide for: Social Identity and Corporate Mergers. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5(7), 500-504.

    • Giessner, S., Ullrich, J., & van Dick, R. (2011). Social Identity and Corporate Mergers. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5(6), 333-345.

    • Giessner, S. (2011). Is the merger necessary? The interactive effect of perceived necessity and sense of continuity on post-merger identification. Human Relations, 64(8), 1079-1098.

    • Quaquebeke, N., & Giessner, S. (2010). How embodied cognitions affect judgments: Height-related attribution bias in football foul calls. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 32(1), 3-22.

    • Hakimi, NA. N., Knippenberg, D., & Giessner, S. (2010). Leader Empowering Behaviour: The Leader's Perspective. British Journal of Management, 21(3), 701-716.

    • Giessner, S., & Quaquebeke, N. (2010). Using a relational models perspective to understand normatively appropriate conduct in ethical leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(supplement 1), 43-55.

    • Schubert, TW., Waldzus, S., & Giessner, S. (2009). Control over the Association of Power and Size. Social Cognition, 27(1), 1-19.

    • Giessner, S., Knippenberg, D., & Sleebos, E. (2009). License to fail? How leader group prototypicality moderates the effects of leader performance on perceptions of leadership effectiveness. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(3), 434-451.

    • Schubert, TW., & Giessner, S. (2008). The naked power: Understanding nonverbal communication of power. In-Mind Magazin, 2(6).

    • Giessner, S., & Knippenberg, D. (2008). "License to fail": Goal definition, leader group prototypicality, and perceptions of leadership effectiveness after leader failure. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 105(1), 14-35.

    • Giessner, S., & Mummendey, A. (2008). United we win, divided we fail? Effects of cognitive representations and performance feedbacks on merging groups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(3), 412-435.

    • Giessner, S., & Schubert, TW. (2007). High in the Hierarchy: How Vertical Location and Judgments of Leaders' Power are Interrelated. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 104(1), 30-44.

    • Giessner, S., Viki, GT., Otten, S., Terry, DJ., & Täuber, S. (2006). The challenge of merging: Merger patterns, pre-merger status and merger support. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(3), 339-352.

  • Professional (10)
    • Lam, H., Giessner, S., & Shemla, M. (2020). Tips: Loneliness and working from home during the COVID-19 crisis. RSM Discovery - Management Knowledge.

    • de Jong, R., & Giessner, S. (2020). Responsible leadership: creating shared value. RSM Discovery - Management Knowledge, 2(2020).

    • Folkert, M., Giessner, S., & Caldas, M. (2020). Leadership: why many heads are better than one. RSM Discovery - Management Knowledge, 2(2020).

    • Wong, SI., Giessner, S., van Ballen, C., & Roufanis, V. (2017). Using new ways of working to attract millennials. Communication for Leaders, (1), 24-25.

    • Giessner, S., & Wong, SI. (2016). The fine line between hands-on and hands-off leadership. RSM Discovery - Management Knowledge, 25(1), 11-13.

    • Humborstad, SIW., Giessner, S., & Solberg, E. (2015). Key to Success in Mergers & Acquisitions. Communication for Leaders, 2015(2), 8-9.

    • Dijke, M., Giessner, S., Tulder, R., & Gilbert, R. (2014). What value ethical leadership? RSM Discovery - Management Knowledge, 18(2), 8-11.

    • Giessner, S. (2011). Identity management key to successful mergers. RSM Insight, 6(2), 7-9.

    • Quaquebeke, N., Eckloff, T., Zenker, S., & Giessner, S. (2009). Leadership in the Eye of the Beholder: Cognitive Construction, Recognition, and Interpretation of Leadership. Personalfuhrung, 1, 34-41.

    • Quaquebeke, N., Witte, E. H., Giessner, S., & Eckloff, T. (2008). Macht: Energie der sozialen Welt? 360° Journal, 4, 17-26.

  • Academic (7)
    • Wong, SIW., Solberg, E., Junni, P., & Giessner, S. (2016). The role of human resource management practices in mergers & acquisitions. In C. L. Cooper, S. Y. Tarba, R. M. Sarala, & M. F. Ahammad (Eds.), Mergers and acquisitions in practice (pp. 138-161). Routledge.

    • Jacobs, G., & Giessner, S. (2014). Führung von Veränderungsprozessen: Die Bedeutung von Identität und der Umgang mit Widerstand. In J. Felfe (Ed.), Trends der psychologischen Führungsforschung – Neue Konzepte, Methoden und Erkenntnisse (pp. 491-500). Hogrefe.

    • Giessner, S., & Jacobs, G. (2014). Identität und Prototypikalität. In J. Felfe (Ed.), Trends der psychologischen Führungsforschung – Neue Konzepte, Methoden und Erkenntnisse (pp. 117-128). Hogrefe.

    • Giessner, S., Ullrich, J., & van Dick, R. (2012). A Social Identity Analysis of Mergers & Acquisitions. In D. Faulkner, S. Teerikangas, & R. Joseph (Eds.), Handbook of Mergers & Acquisitions (pp. 474-495). Oxford University Press.

    • Giessner, S. (2009). Diskriminierung und Toleranz bei Unternehmensfusionen. In Andreas Beelman, & Kai Jonas (Eds.), Diskriminierung und Toleranz: Psychologische Grundlagen und Anwendungsperspektiven (pp. 399-418). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

    • Knippenberg, D., Wisse, BM., & Giessner, S. (2007). Extending the follow-centered perspective: Leadership as an outcome of shared social identity. In B. Shamir, R. Pillai, M. C. Bligh, & M. Uhl-Bien (Eds.), Follower-centered perspective on leadership: A tribute to the memory of James R. Meindl (pp. 51-70). Information Age Publishing.

    • Giessner, S. (2003). Eine Intergruppenperspektive auf Unternehmensfusionen [An intergroup perspective on organizational mergers]. In J. Straehle (Ed.), Interkulturelle Mergers & Acquisitions. Eine interdisziplinare Perspektive [Intercultural merger and acquisitions. An interdisciplinary perspective] (pp. 168-194). Sternenfels.

  • Internally prepared (1)
    • Giessner, S. (2004). United we run, divided we fail? Effects of cognitive representations and performance feedbacks on merging groups. University of Jena, Germany.

  • Popular (1)
    • Giessner, S. (2016). Organisational mergers. A Behavioural perspective on identity management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Inaugural Adresses

  • Professional (1)
    • Lam, H. (Author), Giessner, S. (Author), & Shemla, M. (Author). (2020). Four Simple Ways To Combat The Loneliness Caused By COVID-19. Web publication/site

Additional activities (5)

  • The Leadership Quarterly (Journal)

    Editorial work (Academic)

  • Journal of Applied Psychology (Journal)

    Editorial work (Academic)

  • Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (Journal)

    Editorial work (Academic)

  • Organizational Psychology Review (Journal)

    Editorial work (Academic)

  • Journal of Personnel Psychology (Journal)

    Editorial work (Academic)


Media items

  • How To Have Effective Zoom Meetings—And Make Them Less Boring

    Online meetings have become a necessary evil. While some people don’t seem to mind working from home on a purely virtual basis, many of us certainly miss the face-to-face interactions and are keen for working life to get back to…

  • New book: Leading with presence for impactful leadership

    When communicating – online and in person – three elements can be used to express a message: verbal content, body language, and the voice. When these elements are not congruent, people often believe the body language and the…

  • Flexible work arrangements = Appealing work arrangements?

    While it may be one question whether flexible work arrangements (i.e., work conditions enabling work from home and providing flexible office spaces) have positive or negative effects on innovation and productivity, another one is…


    PhD candidate Susan Reh has won the Best Poster Award at the Early Career Summer School of the European Association for Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) in Birmingham, UK. Reh investigates these research questions…


    The doctoral research of Dominique Board was titled "Understanding Tran Active Memory Systems in Virtual Teams: The role of integration and differentiation, task dependencies and routines" and Steffen Giessner is mentioned to have…

Discovery items

Leadership: why many heads are better than one

multiple leaders in sports team management

Responsible leadership: creating shared value

Leading with purpose means balancing financial, social and environmental development and incorporating every stakeholder.

RSM Discovery magazine 38 – out now!

Issue 38: under the editorship of the Erasmus Centre for Leadership is devoted to exploring just some of the many facets of leadership.

Tips: Loneliness and working from home during the COVID-19 crisis

No man/woman is an island. It is normal to feel lonely while working from home. Use these four tips to prevent loneliness.

Power to the people: the fine line between hands-on and hands-off leadership

Employees have different ideas about empowering leadership. Listen to them, says Prof. Steffen Giessner.

RSM Discovery Debate: Ethical Leadership

Is it possible to be an ethical leader in today’s shareholder-focused economy?


Business Management

  • Study year: 2021/2022
  • Code: B3MIN1054
  • Level: Bachelor 3

HRM Master Thesis

  • Study year: 2021/2022, 2020/2021
  • Code: BMMTHRM
  • Level: Master

OCC Master Thesis

  • Study year: 2021/2022, 2020/2021
  • Code: BMMTOCC
  • Level: Master

Past courses

HRM-OCC Master Thesis

  • Study year: 2020/2021
  • ECTS: 16 Level: Master

Leading People, Teams, and Organisations for Excellence

  • Study year: 2020/2021
  • Code: BKBMIN004
  • Level: Bachelor, Bachelor, Bachelor 3, Bachelor 3

Theories on Change, on Differences and on Behaviour

  • Study year: 2020/2021, 2019/2020
  • Code: BM02OCC
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Master

Behaviour in organisations

  • Study year: 2019/2020, 2018/2019, 2015/2016
  • Code: BKB010

IM Research clinic

  • Study year: 2019/2020, 2018/2019
  • Code: BM-IMRC
  • Level: Master

Organisational Behaviour

  • Study year: 2019/2020, 2018/2019, 2017/2018, 2016/2017, 2015/2016, 2014/2015
  • Code: BAP071

Behavioural Foundations

  • Study year: 2018/2019, 2017/2018, 2016/2017, 2015/2016
  • Code: BERMFC001
  • ECTS: 3 Level: Master

Human resource management

  • Study year: 2017/2018
  • Code: BM13MIM
  • ECTS: 2 Level: Master

High performance leadership, a psychological perspective

  • Study year: 2016/2017, 2015/2016
  • Code: BMME043
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Master

High performance leadership, a psychological perspective

  • Study year: 2014/2015, 2013/2014
  • Code: RSMME041
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Master

Network & leadership

  • Study year: 2013/2014, 2012/2013
  • Code: BKCHEB06
  • ECTS: 10 Level: Master

Organizational Behaviour

  • Study year: 2013/2014, 2012/2013
  • Code: BAP71
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Bachelor 1, Bachelor 1

High performance leadership and motivation, a psychological perspective

  • Study year: 2012/2013
  • Code: BKMME87
  • ECTS: 10 Level: Master


  • Fellowship - ERIM postdoc programme (2004)