Dr Karen Niven

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Position: Lecturer in Organisational Psychology
Academic unit: People, Management and Organisations


I am a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Organisational Psychology at Manchester Business School. I joined the MBS faculty in January 2012.

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 a popular science book about emotions. I am an Action Editor of Journal of Applied Social Psychology, a Consulting Editor at Human Relations and European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, a Senior Review for Journal of Organizational Behavior, and a Trustee of the Richard Benjamin Trust grant board. Chartered by the British Psychological Society, I am also a member of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology, the Academy of Management, and the Association of Psychological Science.

I am the eLearning Coordinator for MBS. I do postgraduate teaching on the MSc in Organisational Psychology/Business Psychology, the MSc in Management and the MBA programme. I also lead the Introduction to Work Psychology (level 1) and Leadership and Success at Work (level 3) undergraduate modules.

Research Interests

My research focuses on social relationships in the workplace. I have two key research areas: (i) emotion regulation and (ii) violence and aggression.

My research on emotion regulation focuses on understanding how and why we try to manage other people’s emotions in the workplace (e.g., service employees managing customers' emotions) and in other social contexts (e.g., romantic relationships). I am currently involved in a number of projects concerning emotion regulation within leader-follower relationships, e.g., exploring the effects of leader emotion regulation on follower performance.

In the area of violence and aggression, my research focuses on trying to identify factors that might protect people from experiencing negative consequences of such acts. For example, across a number of studies I have investigated the protective or detrimental effects of the victim of aggression engaging in emotion regulation. My current interests concern the role of emotion regulation (failure) in causing aggression.

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

My research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and the Richard Benjamin Trust. I collaborate with colleagues at various institutions in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Chile, Canada, and the US.

Programme involvement

Specialist fields




Publication summary




Working papers

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Showing 42 publication(s)


  • Parkinson, B., Simons, G., & Niven, K. (2016). Sharing concerns: Interpersonal worry regulation in romantic couples. Emotion. . Publication link: b6bd5e41-2fc3-4510-88a0-3458fbeff854
  • Niven, K., & Boorman, L. (2016). Assumptions beyond the science: Encouraging cautious conclusions about fMRI research on organizational behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37(8), 1150-1171. DOI: 10.1002/job.2097. Publication link: bea56631-ea50-485e-ad47-573afe1f52ff
  • Madrid, H., Totterdell, P., & Niven, K. (2016). Does leader affective presence influence communication of creative ideas within work teams?Emotion. . Publication link: 0c6a4f20-6d32-4f98-b744-f0c3423e7a5f


  • Yang, W-N., Johnson, S., & Niven, K. (2015). The Impact of Age and Unmet Expectations on Career Plateaued Employees. In host publication.. Publication link: b5c79915-8a8f-4e90-8013-11563a162361
  • Niven, K., & Ciborowska, N. (2015). The hidden dangers of attending work while unwell: A survey study of presenteeism among UK pharmacists.International Journal of Stress Management, (22), 207-221. DOI: 10.1037/a0039131. Publication link: 7ccfd151-3ec4-46ff-98a1-c453c1f2d4e0
  • 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
  • Hershcovis, M. S., Reich, T. C., & Niven, K. (2015). Workplace bullying: Causes, consequences, and intervention strategies. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.. Publication link: 30c8a2a2-b200-46ff-a653-8d5434bc59ac
  • Hislop, D., Axtell, C. A., Collins, A., Daniels, K., Glover, J., & Niven, K. (2015). Variability in the use of mobile ICTs by homeworkers and its consequences for boundary management and social isolation. Information and Organization, 25, 222-232. DOI: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2015.10.001. Publication link: 1bb82f2e-a236-465b-aadf-886cd393e8e5


  • Hallam, G. P., Webb, T. L., Sheeran, P., Miles, E., Niven, K., Wilkinson, I. D., ... Farrow, T. F. D. (2014). The neural correlates of regulating another person's emotions: An exploratory fMRI study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(JUNE). DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00376. Publication link: 556af683-6241-4134-9096-34ee82a117d3


  • Niven, K., Totterdell, P., Miles, E., Webb, T. L., & Sheeran, P. (2013). Achieving the same for less: Improving mood depletes blood glucose for people with poor (but not good) emotion control. Cognition and Emotion, 27(1), 133-140. DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2012.679916. Publication link: a355f5a7-29fd-47d7-8938-180a099507d7
  • Niven, K. (2013). ‘Heal the world’: Can prosocial music reduce customer aggression in call centres? Richard Benjamin Trust.. Publication link: d23a3809-4639-40cf-8247-66f651137ecf
  • Wood, S., Braeken, J., & Niven, K. (2013). Discrimination and Well-Being in Organizations: Testing the Differential Power and Organizational Justice Theories of Workplace Aggression. Journal of Business Ethics, 115(3), 617-634. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1404-5. Publication link: d62e9dd6-0c57-4726-889b-a687fe7aee9f
  • Berrios, R., Totterdell, P., & Niven, K. (2013). Why Do You Make Us Feel Good? Correlates and Interpersonal Consequences of Affective Presence in Speed-dating. European Journal of Personality. DOI: 10.1002/per.1944. Publication link: 9c936a96-41b6-42d2-8c67-d97aead8c793


  • Totterdell, P., & Niven, K. (2012). Should I strap a battery to my head? (And other questions about emotion). Charleston, SC: Createspace.. Publication link: 187a5fc0-44c2-4269-a2d4-6fdbb479dd60
  • Niven, K. (2012). Affect. In M. D. Gellman, & J. R. Turner (Eds.), The encyclopedia of behavioral medicine. Springer Verlag. . Publication link: 5a225aaf-7fdf-45c2-bee8-2d5d01b8485c
  • 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
  • Totterdell, P., Hershcovis, M. S., Niven, K., Reich, T. C., & Stride, C. (2012). Can employees be emotionally drained by witnessing unpleasant interactions between coworkers? A diary study of induced emotion regulation. Work and Stress, 26(2), 112-129. DOI: 10.1080/02678373.2012.681153. Publication link: 7e825e4e-9735-4f57-979a-d1a891af026f
  • Niven, K. (2012). Can we be touchy feely? In P. Totterdell, & K. Niven (Eds.), Should I strap a battery to my head? (And other questions about emotion). Charleston, CS: Createspace Independent Publishing.. . Publication link: a3c37806-87d7-472d-b5c0-fb67e655d3ed
  • Niven, K., Totterdell, P., Holman, D., & Cameron, D. (2012). Emotional labor at the unit-level. In A. Grandey, J. Diefendorff, & D. Rupp (Eds.), Emotional labor in the 21st century: Diverse perspectives on emotion regulation at work. Psychology Press/Routledge. . Publication link: b98f0c46-5974-46c2-b7f4-c17edc77a860
  • Totterdell, P., Niven, K., & Holman, D. (2012). Research agenda. In A. Bakker, & K. Daniels (Eds.), A day in the life of a happy worker. Psychology Press. . Publication link: bcde08c5-3a81-4f60-8b8b-7d530405b066
  • Niven, K., & Miles, E. (2012). Affect arousal. In M. D. Gellman, & J. R. Turner (Eds.), The encyclopedia of behavioral medicine. Springer Verlag. . Publication link: bc84c73e-7e1d-4f46-aacf-094c3e405970
  • 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
  • Niven, K. (2012). Can I change the way others feel? In P. Totterdell, & K. Niven (Eds.), Should I strap a battery to my head? (And other questions about emotion). Charleston, SC: Createspace Independent Publishing.. . Publication link: efb282c3-4e8a-4449-8856-228d1d81de6c



  • 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
  • Sprigg, C. A., Martin, A., Niven, K., & Armitage, C. J. (2010). Unacceptable behaviour, health and well-being at work: A cross-lagged longitudinal study. Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.. Publication link: 5e0147d2-749c-4c67-af5f-f4ada341a3aa


  • 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


  • Niven, K., Totterdell, P., & Holman, D. (2007). Changing moods and influencing people: The use and effects of emotional influence behaviours at HMP Grendon.Prison Service Journal, 173, 39-45. . Publication link: 0c310f7f-5657-4814-83af-df43efda5dcc