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Prof. dr. N. (Naomi) Ellemers


Summary of research

Naomi Ellemers is a social/organizational psychologist who was appointed Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University, in recognition of her scientific excellence (2015). She also is an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia (since 2019), and member of the supervisory board of PwC in the Netherlands (since 2015). Ellemers is an expert on group processes and intergroup relations, which she applies to examine cooperation in organizations, addressing when and how social identities lead people to transcend their individual interests and invest in collective outcomes.

 In Utrecht she has built her research group (January 2021: 25 people, 18.5 fte, 72% externally funded) around two guiding themes: Diversity & Inclusion, and Integrity & Ethics (see: Both themes are addressed with a combination of experimental and applied research methods. 

In her research group addressing organizational behavior, she created a parttime chair for psychophysiology of groups (Scheepers, 2019) and special chair for the psychology of supervision, co-sponsored by the AFM (Van Steenbergen, 2020) to embody her research vision. On the one hand she uses neuro-cognitive (EEG, fMRI) and psychophysiological (cardiovascular indicators, skin conductance) measures - also in mobile settings in the field (eg., at science festivals and on site in organizations). On the other hand she examines the problems encountered by regulators, and policy makers as well as diversity, compliance, and sustainability managers in organizations. In 2020, Ellemers was one of the co-authors of a publication in Nature Human Behavior on the social and behavioral science of the COVID-19 pandemic that was presented at the World Health Organization. 

During the past five years, Ellemers has successfully set up long-term research-and-impact collaborations with relevant stakeholders in the field (e.g., by developing the Netherlands Inclusiveness Monitor, see This approach allowed her to attract substantial funding (e.g., from Instituut GAK, the Center for criminal prevention and safety CCV, and the Goldschmeding Foundation). She has designed collaborative projects with large networks of organizations, such as Diversity at Work (Diversiteit in Bedrijf) and the Movement for ‘new economy’ entrepreneurs (MVO Nederland). In addition, she develops tools for assessment and improvement of workplace behavior with relevant policy makers, such as regulators (Financial Market Authority AFM, Authority for Consumers and Markets ACM). These collaborations allow her to collect data from large numbers of organizations, and test interventions in relevant populations and applied settings.

During the past five years, this research has yielded a number of important insights. First, diversity and inclusion of different groups in communities and organizations does not depend on visible (‘surface level’) differences in demographic features, but is located in how less visible (‘deep level’) differences in concerns and perspectives are managed (‘inclusive climate’). Second, ethics and integrity in organizations are not enforced with compliance monitoring and sanctions, but depend on the development of local organizational norms and everyday workplace experiences (‘ethics climate’). Third, extending her activities as one of the founding members of the activist group ‘Athena’s Angels’ (, Ellemers has begun to use her insights on work climates, diversity and ethics to examine and improve policies and procedures in academia. This has resulted in a number of high impact scientific publications (in PNAS, Psychological Review), as well as her appointment as chair of the committee installed by the Netherlands Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW) to advise the Ministry of Culture, Education and Sciences (OCW) about ways to improve the work climate in academia.

International visibility, activities, prizes, scholarships etc.

Naomi Ellemers has published 290 peer-reviewed journal articles (202 international; 88 national), 59 international book chapters, and 9 (edited) volumes to date. Her current H-index is 95, with five publications receiving more than 1000 citations (Google Scholar). She has published in the top-level outlets in her field (Psychological Review, Academy of Management Review, Annual Review of Psychology), as well as top-level general science journals (Science, Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, Nature Human Behavior). She is member of the editorial board of the Annual Review of Psychology (third term, current impact factor 18.15) and co-editor of Social Issues and Policy Review (current impact 8.93). Her research has been discussed in international news outlets such as the New York Times an Forbes Magazine. Her work is translated in Spanish, Chinese and Italian.

She writes a monthly expert page in ‘het Financieele Dagblad (, and has a Blog on Psychology Today (

Ellemers has supervised 31 PhDs to completion. Three won dissertation awards from the American Psychological Association. Four of her PhD’s have already become full professors. During the past five years she received four publication awards, the European Codol Award for service to the field (2017), the Senior Career Contribution Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2019), the Bologna University Medal for Science (2019), the Aristotle Prize from the European Federation of Psychology Associations (2019), an Honorary Doctorate from the UC Louvain, Belgium (2019), and was elected as a member of the Academia Europaea (2020).

5 key publications

Ellemers, N. 2021. Science as collaborative knowledge generation (Landmark article). British Journal of Social Psychology, 60, 1-28.

Ellemers, N., Fiske, S., Abele, A. E., Koch, A., & Yzerbyt, V. 2020. Adversarial alignment enables competing models to engage in cooperative theory-building, toward cumulative science.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(14): 7561-7567.

Ellemers, N., Toorn, J. van der, Paunov, Y., & Leeuwen, T. van. 2019. The psychology of morality: A review and analysis of empirical studies published from 1940 through 2017. Personality and Social Psychology Review 23: 332-366.

Ellemers, N. 2018. Gender Stereotypes. Annual Review of Psychology 69: 275-298.

Ellemers, N. 2017. Morality and the Regulation of Social Behavior. Groups as Moral Anchors. London: Routledge.



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

4.3. Volunteering for helping refugees in the Netherlands: Building a common identity

5.2 Connecting Organizational Stakeholders: Corporate Values and Business Practices

6.3 Ethnic Diversity, Norms and Networks

9.2 Running the family business: Stakeholders, values and reputation