Professor Karen Niven

BSc, MSc, PhD

Management School

Head of Work Psychology Subject Group

Professor of Organisational Psychology

Karen Niven wearing a black and white patterned top.
Profile picture of Karen Niven wearing a black and white patterned top.
+44 114 222 0987

Full contact details

Professor Karen Niven
Management School
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

I am a Professor of Organisational Psychology. I joined Sheffield University Management School in March 2022. Prior to this, I was a Professor and Head of the Organisational Psychology Group at Alliance Manchester Business School.

My research focuses on social relationships in the workplace, particularly how people influence the emotions of those around them and the 'darker' side of relationships (e.g. bullying, aggression). I have published in a range of organisational psychology, management and social psychology journals and co-edited two popular science books.

I currently hold an Associate Editor role at Organizational Psychology Review and serve on the Editorial Review Boards of Journal of Management, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Human Relations, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, and Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Outside of work, my time is mainly spent parenting two small children, baking, and helping to renovate the dilapidated wreck my family and I like to call home!


PhD Psychology - University of Sheffield

MSc Work Psychology - University of Sheffield

BSc Psychology - University of Leeds

Research interests

My research focuses on social relationships in the workplace. I have two key research areas:

  1. Interpersonal emotion regulation
  2. Workplace mistreatment

My research on interpersonal emotion regulation focuses on understanding how and why we try to manage other people's emotions. Current projects include studying how the effects of interpersonal emotion regulation 'spill over' between work and home and 'cross over' between partners, and exploring the role of factors like personality and age in shaping people's ability to manage others' feelings.

In the area of mistreatment, my current research focuses on understanding how bystanders behave when they witness acts of mistreatment and exploring the role of targets' coping strategies in shaping ongoing mistreatment processes such as bullying.

I use a variety of methods, including diary studies, social network analysis, longitudinal and dyadic surveys, experimental designs and interventions.

My research has been funded by the ESRC, UKRI, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the Richard Benjamin Trust. I collaborate with colleagues in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Chile, Canada, USA and Australia.



  • Niven K (2014) Workplace moods and emotions: A review of research. CreateSpace. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Totterdell P & Niven K (2012) Should I Strap a Battery to My Head? (And Other Questions About Emotion). CreateSpace. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

  • Niven K, Lewis S & Kagan C (Eds.) (2017) Making a difference with psychology. Richard Benjamin Trust. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Niven K, Ng K & Hoel H (2020) The bystanders of workplace bullying In Einarsen S, Hoel H, Zapf D & Cooper CL (Ed.), Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace Theory, Research and Practice CRC Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Niven K, Totterdell PA, Holman D & Cameron D (2012) Emotional labor at the unit-level In Grandey A, Diefendorff J & Rupp DE (Ed.), Emotional Labor in the 21st Century: Diverse Perspectives on Emotion Regulation at Work Routledge Academic RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2012) Research Agenda, A Day in the Life of a Happy Worker (pp. 158-177). Psychology Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Niven K, Holman D & Totterdell P (2010) Emotional influence and empathy in prison-based therapeutic communities In Shuker R & Sullivan E (Ed.), Grendon and the Emergence of Forensic Therapeutic Communities (pp. 233-246). Wiley View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Niven K, Totterdell P & Holman D (2009) Affect regulation and well-being in the workplace: An international perspective In Antoniou A-SG (Ed.), Handbook of Managerial Behavior and Occupational Health (pp. 218-228). Edward Elgar Publishing View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download


  • Hershcovis MS, Reich T & Niven K (2014) Workplace bullying: Causes, consequences, and intervention strategies. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Institute of Work Psychology