Dr Nik Steffens

Senior Lecturer

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


I lived, worked, and studied psychology in Germany and Spain and completed my PhD in the UK (awarded from the University of Exeter) before taking up a position at The University of Queensland. I am Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Business and Organisational Psychology (CBOP) in UQ's School of Psychology. I am interested in psychological drivers that make groups and organisations fairer, more motivating, more effective, and healthier. My work focuses on social identity and team work processes in social and organisational contexts including leadership and followership, motivation and creativity, and health and well-being.

In my research, I use diverse methods — I have expertise in experimental and intervention studies, field and survey research, archival methods, psychometric and scale development research, and meta-analysis.

In 2017, I won the APS Workplace Excellence Award for Leadership Development (together with Alex Haslam and Kim Peters) for our work with industry partners on the 5R program that seeks to help leaders to develop their leadership ability and enhance team functioning and well-being. In 2018, I was awarded a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), a research fellowship, from the Australian Research Council.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Exeter


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • 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

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision