Dr David Holman

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Profile photo of: Dr David Holman Email: Show Email Address
Position: Professor in Organisational Psychology
Academic unit: People, Management and Organisations


I currently work within the Organisational Psychology Group at Manchester Business School. Before this I spent eleven years commuting across the Pennine Hills to work at the Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield.

Research Interests

My primary research interests are in employee gentleness and emotion at work, as well as job design and job quality.

The current focus of my work is to understand the nature of employee gentleness, which can be broadly defined as a soft, slow, warm and involving approach to care giving, and how it is shaped by the organisational context. At present this work is funded by a two-year Lord Alliance Research Grant and involves conducting two ethnographic studies of employee gentleness in social care settings. The aim of this research is to further enrich our understanding of employee gentleness and to provide greater insights into the management strategies that shape its use.

My work on affect and emotion at work concentrates on how employees regulate their own emotions (emotional labour) and the emotions of others (interpersonal emotion regulation). Recent studies have focused on establishing the effects of interpersonal emotion regulation between driving instructors and learner drivers and between PhD supervisors and students.

The research I conduct on job quality focuses primarily on understanding why the quality of job design varies between organisations and between countries. For example, recent research in this area has examined whether cross national variation in job quality is a result of national differences in institutional regimes, and whether job design across Europe is becoming similar across countries (diverging) or more dissimilar (diverging). Results suggest that the quality of job design is getting worse in most European countries except Nordic countries, i.e., that it is diverging between countries.

Programme involvement

Specialist fields




Publication summary




Working papers

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Showing 25 publication(s)


  • Parker, S., Van den Broeck, A., & Holman, D. (2017). Work Design Influences: A Synthesis of Multi-Level Factors that Affect The Design of Work. Academy of Management Annals. . Publication link: 02202f22-15c3-4e24-83bd-98f999e6486a


  • Holman, D., & Axtell, C. (2016). Can job redesign interventions influence a broad range of employee outcomes by changing multiple job characteristics? A quasi-experimental study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 21(3), 284. . Publication link: df5607cc-57d5-479e-8be9-13ac682a60e9


  • Holman, D., Holtgrewe, U., Rafferty, A., Ramioul, M., & Vandekerckhove, S. (2015). Convergence and divergence of job quality in Europe 1995–2010. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.. Publication link: 4d95de73-462c-49e8-b4b3-8f2b7fcc7cad
  • Niven, K., Garcia, D., van der Löwe, I., Holman, D., & Mansell, W. (2015). Becoming popular: Interpersonal emotion regulation predicts relationship formation in real life social networks. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1452. [1452]. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01452. Publication link: 3b1d8a28-a5ea-4ca4-bd24-55d02437cf36



  • Power, J. L., Brotheridge, C. M., Blenkinsopp, J., Bowes-Sperry, L., Bozionelos, N., Buzády, Z., ... Nnedumm, A. U. O. (2013). Acceptability of workplace bullying: A comparative study on six continents. Journal of Business Research, 66(3), 374-380. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.08.018. Publication link: 61e09770-4fc9-4baa-9b28-7a75bdb0bc43


  • Holman, D., Totterdell, P., Axtell, C., Stride, C., Port, R., Svensson, R., & Zibarras, L. (2012). Job Design and the Employee Innovation Process: The Mediating Role of Learning Strategies. Journal of Business and Psychology, 27(2), 177-191. DOI: 10.1007/s10869-011-9242-5. Publication link: cdb5766c-99bf-42ab-ae40-eb14394573f0
  • Niven, K., MacDonald, I., & Holman, D. (2012). You spin me right round: Cross-relationship variability in interpersonal emotion regulation. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 394. . Publication link: d4b680e8-56fb-4133-97a4-0db24bfc093a
  • Holman, D. (2012). Scanning the surface: A daily diary study of affect regulation, emotional exhaustion and job performance in supermarket checkout operators. In host publication.. Publication link: 35bc5ab4-42a8-4369-b66b-7b3f13974c58
  • Niven, K., Holman, D., & Totterdell, P. (2012). How to win friendship and trust by influencing people's feelings: An investigation of interpersonal affect regulation and the quality of relationships. Human Relations, 65(6), 777-805. DOI: 10.1177/0018726712439909. Publication link: 544f90bb-fdbe-4845-8fc2-6bfec5da3220
  • Holman, D., Totterdell, P. (Ed.), & Niven, K. (Ed.) (2012). Does it hurt to serve with a smile? In Should I strap a battery to my head (and other questions about emotion). (pp. 111-117). UK: Createspace. . Publication link: 8ac29f96-8918-4684-9885-91407cdad5b0
  • Grimshaw, D., Holman, D., Johnson, S., Marchington, M., Mustchin, S., & Ugarte, S. (2012). The Recession in the North West: What happened to businesses, jobs and workers? In host publication.. Publication link: 7a3f7e08-dfa3-4be5-93de-10c7843bda73
  • Holman, D., Totterdell, P. (Ed.), & Niven, K. (Ed.) (2012). Which moods can give me that Eureka moment? In Should I strap a battery to my head (and other questions about emotion). (pp. 67-72). UK: Createspace. . Publication link: 93c8a5f6-b994-4834-b7d3-f842029b331b


  • Holman, D. (2011). Variations in the distribution of job types in the EU: an explanation using institutional theory. In host publication.. Publication link: 0671bd41-954b-4a4c-a0a8-cb3dad5206cd
  • Holman, D. (2011). Job Types in Europe: Their nature, quality and distribution amongst different institutional regimes. In host publication.. Publication link: 4e949fde-e387-48f2-8167-eb35aed6e009
  • Holman, D., & Niven, K. (2011). The development of the EROS scale. European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology. In host publication.. Publication link: d23f8630-193f-4d08-88af-c2e895d404a4
  • Holman, D. (2011). An explanation of cross-national variation in call centre job quality using institutional theory. Work, Employment & Society. . Publication link: a56c77ab-6835-44fa-ae92-dfb7fbd24278


  • Niven, K., Holman, D., & Totterdell, P. (2010). Emotional Influence and Empathy in Prison-Based Therapeutic Communities. In Grendon and the Emergence of Forensic Therapeutic Communities: Developments in Research and Practice|Grendon and the Emergence of Forensic Therapeutic Commun.: Dev. in Res. and Pract.. (pp. 233-246). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons . DOI: 10.1002/9780470661444.ch14. Publication link: 33782235-210c-42c6-8ea6-8efd73161a2d
  • Totterdell, P., Niven, K., & Holman, D. (2010). Our emotional neighbourhoods: How social networks can regulate what we feel. The Psychologist, 23, 474-477. . Publication link: 47cc1340-0cee-4ded-9328-b195e3552ad3


  • Niven, K., Totterdell, P., & Holman, D. (2009). Affect regulation and well-being in the workplace: An interpersonal perspective. In Handbook of Managerial Behavior and Occupational Health|Handb. of Manag. Behav. and Occup. Health. (pp. 218-228). Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. . Publication link: 3533483d-a4de-4dbb-98da-ee41161691e2