Brief summary of research over the last 5 years

Naomi Ellemers is a social/organizational psychologist who has built her research group at Leiden University (1999-2015) into an internationally renowned center for research on group processes and intergroup relations. She is an expert on cooperation in organizations, addressing how social identities lead people to transcend their individual interests and invest in collective outcomes. She has developed highly specialized simulations to model complex social structures in the lab, and in addition to her many scientific publications, she has written a monograph making insights from her scientific work accessible to a broad (Dutch language) audience (2012). She was appointed Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University, in recognition of her scientific excellence (2015).


During the past five years, Ellemers has documented the importance of shared values and group morals in leading individuals to work together. She has advanced existing insights on cooperation by inventing novel procedures to assess the impact of group identities on collective task engagement with neuro-cognitive (EEG, fMRI) and psychophysiological (cardiovascular indicators, skin conductance) measures. Her cutting-edge work in this field quickly made her group the leading center of social-neuroscientific research on group processes. With Belle Derks, she acquired a KNAW grant (2010) to bring together high-profile international researchers in this area, and published a highly praised, edited volume (2013) charting this new territory in the field. (“This book represents an important step forward …and underscores how social neuroscience is shedding new light on age-old questions and problems.” -- John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D., The University of Chicago).

A key contribution of Ellemers to the field relates to the challenges that emerge when people who represent different social groups and communities work together. She developed a model to specify the circumstances under which individuals can benefit from their differences instead of suffering from them. Her work elucidates the different experiences of men and women at work in light of their family responsibilities. Likewise, she has uncovered how the willingness of ethnic minority members and other stigmatized groups (e.g. gay and lesbian workers) to collaborate towards organizational goals depends on the extent to which the organization acknowledges and supports their community identity. Her pioneering work resulted in the emerging understanding that family and community identities spill over into the work domain and that these different identities have to be taken into account to optimize cooperation at work.

Ellemers has been instrumental in developing public-private initiatives to address the lack of cohesion in local communities and social exclusion at work. Examples are the National Integration Fund (2015) in the Netherlands and the Bias Interrupters group in the United States. As one of the four Athena’s Angels, she works to enhance equal opportunities for men and women in science.

International visibility, activities, prizes, scholarships etc.

Naomi Ellemers has published 250 peer-reviewed journal articles (166 international; 84 national), 51 international book chapters, and 7 (edited) volumes to date, with an H-index of 62 (Google Scholar). Her publications, including ‘citation classics’ (over 1000 citations), are used as standard graduate teaching resources. She has published in top-level general (Science), psychology (Annual Review of Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology), and management journals (Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Annals), contributing award-winning publications. For instance, her study showing that objective work performance and health indicators benefit from organizations that support family obligations received the Journal of Organizational Behavior’s best publication award.

Since becoming a full professor at age 35, Ellemers has supervised 25 PhDs to completion. Three won dissertation awards from the American Psychological Association. Three of her PhD’s have already become full professors. She has been awarded 5ME grants in the last five years alone, including a KNAW Academy Assistants grant (2010) and an NWO Graduate School Grant (2011). She is invited for keynote addresses, expert consultation, and graduate teaching at leading institutions around the world (Stanford, Princeton). Her distinctive contributions to the field at every career level have been acknowledged with prestigious grants and highest honors. She received the Jaspars (1990) and Lewin (2008) awards from the European Association of Social Psychology, the KNAW Merian Award for women in science (2010), and the NWO Spinoza award (2010), also referred to as the “Dutch Nobel Prize”. She is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW, 2011) and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW, 2010). She was elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (2002), Society for Experimental Social Psychology (2009), Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2013), and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2014). She has served as President of the European Association of Social Psychology (1990-2002), Chair of the Kurt Lewin Institute (2003-present); is on the Social Science board of the Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO-MaGW, 2004-2007); and has edited flagship publications in her field (Associate Editor British Journal of Social Psychology 1994-1998; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2002-2004; Annual Review of Psychology 2011-present).

5 key publications

  1. Ellemers, N. (2012). The group self. Science, 336, 848-852.
  2. Ellemers, N., & Haslam, S.A. (2011). Social identity theory. In: P. van Lange, A. Kruglanski, & T. Higgins (Eds.). Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 379-398). London: Sage.
  3. Ellemers, N., & Jetten, J. (2013). The many ways to be marginal in a group. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17, 3-21.
  4. Ellemers, N., De Gilder, D., & Haslam, S.A. (2004). Motivating individuals and groups at work: A social identity perspective on leadership and group performance. Academy of Management Review, 29, 459-478.
  5. Ellemers, N., Spears, R., & Doosje, B. (2002). Self and social identity. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 161-186.


2.6 Women Who Work and Men Who Care

4.1 Caring communities: Integrating newcomers into the labour market

4.2 Sustainability of Public Goods in a Changing Society

5.2 Connecting Organizational Stakeholders: Corporate Values and Business Practices

9.2 Running the family business: Stakeholders, values and reputation



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