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IWP Conference welcomes the world

Friday, August 1st, 2014

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The Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) held its fourth biennial International Conference at the end of June. The event was a huge success with four renowned keynote speakers, over 200 delegates from across six continents, and a range of cutting-edge research presentations in the areas of work, wellbeing, leadership and performance.

Oliver Weigelt, from the University of Hagen, said of the conference: “It had great networking opportunities, intriguing papers and excellent organisation – as well as a taste of Yorkshire. In the most positive way, an unforgettable event.”

Popular topics at the conference included health, stress and wellbeing; leadership; entrepreneurship; teamwork; creativity and innovation; the dark side of organisations; careers and development; unemployment; diversity; and motivation and engagement.

Continuing its tradition of applying psychology to workplace settings, IWP members delivered a number of business workshops as a fringe to the conference, sharing the latest research on leadership, creativity, and voice in organisations with members of the local business community.

The conference also included a number of research support events, including a developmental workshop for postgraduate students and early career researchers, and a variety of workshops and training courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods led by Dr Chris Stride, Dr Jeremy Dawson, Dr Larry Williams and Professor Penny Dick.

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Beyond the high quality presentations and research support events, the conference lived up to its reputation for creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for both first-time attendees and old friends who have attended all four conferences. It continues to be a place where colleagues from across the discipline come together to network, share insights, collaborate, and catch-up. Networking opportunities made the most of Sheffield, with hosted dinners across the city and drinks receptions in the Management School and the Millennium Galleries.

Stephen McGlynn, a PhD student and co-chair of the conference, said: “We’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback from delegates. Our keynotes and presenters had a great, real-world focus and approached the event with enthusiasm and creativity. Many of our delegates are already excited about the IWP International Conference 2016!”

Read more about the event here:

View more photographs from the event here:

Workshops for business – develop skills at the IWP International Conference 2014

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The biennial Institute of Work Psychology International Conference will be taking place from 24-26 June, but the day for businesses to look out for is Tuesday 24th.

Expert academic and practitioner speakers at the Institute are offering a series of workshops designed for individual, team or organisational development. They will be held at Sheffield University Management School, on Conduit Road.

All workshops prices include materials, refreshments, lunch, and the evening event. Our evening event includes our business keynote speech, and networking drinks and dinner.

Should you wish to discuss these workshops in any more detail or design a package that will suit your organisation, please contact Dr Angela Carter (, 0114 222 3250). If you wish to register several delegates for a particular workshop, we are happy to undertake a needs analysis to enable the content to be tailored to specific requirements. Read more online:


CLEAR IDEAS: How to be practically creative at work (10am-4:30pm, £99pp)
By Dr Kamal Birdi

Participants will learn how to:

• Analyse opportunities for innovation

• Use different creative thinking techniques to help produce more original ideas

• Generate methods for evaluating the quality of new ideas

• Identify barriers to innovation-led change and develop strategies for getting ideas for new products, services or processes put into practice

Organisations need to continually innovate in order to survive and thrive in a global marketplace. But how do you keep coming up with truly original new ideas? What levers can you use to make sure your new products or processes are successfully realised?

Our workshop draws together extensive research and practical experience to provide participants with a systematic process (CLEAR IDEAS©) for effectively generating and implementing new ideas at work. Hundreds of participants from private, public and third sector organisations (e.g., Tetra Pak, BOC, the BBC, NHS, Scottish Government and SCOPE) have already taken part in our workshops and our evaluation shows that using the CLEAR IDEAS approach can really help maximize organizational outcomes and enhance value for money.

Find out more and register online on the website:


Maximising leadership performance in different situations (11am-12:30pm or 2pm-3:30pm, £49)
Dr Angela Carter, Andrew Smith and Bob Wheeler

Participants will learn how to:

• Explore various leadership styles

• Adapt various leadership styles to situations

• Evaluate various leadership styles

• Reflect, model and develop own leadership styles

This workshop will focus on the ability to adapt leadership styles and behaviours to maximise effectiveness in a variety of situations (strategy development, performance management, and developing people). Through the lens of adaptability; models of Engaging Leadership (Alimo-Metcalfe, Alban-Metcalfe, Bradley, Mariathasan, & Samele, 2008) and Situational Leadership (Hersey & Blanchard, 1977) along with the Leadership Judgement Indicator (LJI, Lock & Wheeler, 2005) will be described, modelled and practiced to facilitate participants’ development.

Find out more and register online on the website:


To ask or not to ask? Why successful organisations ask more questions (10am-12:30pm or 2pm-4:30pm, £49)
Sarah Brooks & Andreana M Drencheva

Participants will gain an understanding of:

• The benefits of seeking internal and external feedback

• The usefulness of informal communication for achieving organisation goals

• The role of a feedback seeking strategy

• Tools and techniques to gather optimal feedback

It is the ability and willingness of individuals to ask questions that makes both start-ups and established organisations successful. From overcoming organisational silence to improving performance and catalysing innovation, asking questions and seeking feedback are valuable personal and organisational resources.

Combining new tools with academic research, theory and case studies, this workshop will help you to identify what you should be asking, when and of whom to achieve organisational goals. Are you ready to ask more questions?


Combination package: ’To ask or not to ask’ and ‘maximising leadership performance’ workshops (£75)

Find out more and register online on the website:



IWP launches Research Update 2014

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The Institute of Work Psychology (IWP), part of Sheffield University Management School, is delighted to announce the release of its Research Update 2014.

Collating just a few of the IWP’s fantastic research successes and ongoing projects, the publication documents work from prominent members of staff including Professor Peter Warr, Dr Carolyn Axtell, Dr David E Rast, Professor Penny Dick, Dr Kamal Birdi, Dr Eva Selenko, Dr Malcolm Patterson and Dr Jeremy Dawson. It also covers the work by the Institute’s high-achieving group of early career researchers and PhD students.

Read it online here, or see the document below. If you’d like to hear from the IWP in the future, email

SUMS welcomes international academics to global financial crisis symposium

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

“Using Paradigms to Explore the 2008-2014 Global Financial Crisis“
14- 15 May 2014, Sheffield University Management School

Key figures: Rose Shepherd (Sheffield University Management School), Dr Craig Shepherd (Nottingham University Business School), Professor Gibson Burrell (School of Management, The University of Leicester), Professor Gareth Morgan (Schulich School of Business, York University)

This two-day symposium will bring together a select group of leading researchers from different business and management paradigms to discuss the global financial crisis. Participants will be engaging in constructive dialogue and debate on the important issues and questions to be addressed in relation to the financial crisis and the research approaches and methods they advocate moving forward.

The symposium is funded by Sheffield University Management School, Nottingham University Business School, the School of Management at the University of Leicester and Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society. Dr Craig Shepherd, Nottingham University Business School, commented on the significance of this unique event: “The symposium is the first step in what we believe will be an important programme of research and we are delighted to have such an outstanding group of researchers joining us in Sheffield. The results will be shared with various communities including academic researchers, students and practitioners. We anticipate this will stimulate further discussion on the questions that should be addressed regarding the financial crisis and associated research and methodological issues.“

Other notable academic attendees include Prof Marta Calas (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts), Prof Stan Deetz (University of Colorado at Boulder), Prof John Hassard (Manchester Business School, University of Manchester), Prof Yuval Millo (School of Management, University of Leicester), Prof Martin Parker (School of Management, University of Leicester), Prof Mike Reed (Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff), Prof Linda Smircich (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts), Prof Robyn Thomas (Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff) and Prof Hugh Willmott (Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff).

For more information, please contact Dr Craig Shepherd:

SUMS students vote Professor Dick into university’s top 12 ‘most inspirational’

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Professor Dick preparing for her Inspiration & Co talk

Penny preparing for her Inspiration & Co talk

Professor Penny Dick from Sheffield University Management School’s Institute of Work Psychology has brought the learning and teaching achievements of our fantastic academics to the fore.

Inspiration & Co, ‘a mind store of horizon-broadening talks from the university’s most inspirational teachers, researchers and lecturers’, encouraged students to vote for their most inspirational academic staff members at the University of Sheffield. Prof Dick reached the final 24 – at which point there was another stage of voting to determine the top 12.

Happily, Prof Dick received enough votes to ensure she reached the top 12 and last night took on a TED-style talk in the University of Sheffield Students’ Union. Her talk explored the following:

Lots of unpleasant experiences at work are difficult to make sense of and even more difficult to explain to other people. But what happens if you think you might be the victim of, say, bullying or sexual harassment but you are not really sure if you are such a victim and whether anyone (with power) will believe you? This talk explores the problems around the interpretation and reporting of social experiences like sexual harassment and how these problems are not adequately dealt with at the policy level.

The management school’s Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, Professor Paul Latreille, said: “We’re proud and delighted to have one of our teaching staff acknowledged by the students in this way. It’s testament to Professor Dick’s dedication to the school’s quality learning and teaching provision, and I feel it sets an aspirational barometer for our peers.

“Inspiration and Co has gathered momentum, and it will be great to see what they bring to the table in future years.”

Dean of Sheffield University Management School, Professor David Oglethorpe, added: “We knew that Professor Dick was hugely valued by the students that she teaches, as she is amongst her colleagues, and we couldn’t be happier that her inspirational ways have been acknowledged on this public stage.”

Read more about Inspiration & Co on their website (, and keep checking our social media channels for a video of Professor Dick’s inspirational talk.

Twitter: UoS_Management

Esteemed speaker Prof Rolf Van Dick visits SUMS

Monday, February 24th, 2014

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Learning more about the “I and We” in Stress

On Wednesday 19 February Rolf Van Dick, Professor of Social Psychology at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, visited the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) at Sheffield University Management School to give a talk about social identity and stress.

Drawing from years of research and hundreds of studies, he concluded that what we perceive as stressful is clearly related to the standards of the group we are part of. His talk attracted a great deal of interest and a lively discussion from a crowd of researchers – staff and students alike. IWP is looking forward to future collaborations with Professor Van Dick’s team.

He spoke as part of the School’s Distinguished Speaker Series.


IWP conference: Early bird registration open now!

From 24-26 June, the biannual IWP International Conference will take place at Sheffield University Management School and Sheffield Town Hall.

The academic conference draws world-wide interest and is preceded by a number of workshops specifically tailored for practitioners and businesses. Limited places are available – early bird registration open now! For more information see


IWP open day 2014

We welcomed a group of keen students to the school to discover more about taking our MSc in Occupational Psychology or Work Psychology.

A wonderful group of staff, including programme director Dr Carolyn Axtell, made them feel very welcome and a good (as well as informative!) time was had by all. To find our more about the programmes, visit:

Interested in a PhD in Leadership & Social Identity?

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Dr. David Rast, III, PhD is currently accepting applications for a doctoral student in the area of group processes, intergroup relations, and leadership.

Project description: Leadership is fundamentally a group process whereby leaders influence a collection of individuals, and vice versa. Past research demonstrates that leader emergence and preference within groups is impacted by feelings of uncertainty about oneself (Rast, Gaffney, Hogg, & Crisp, 2012; Rast, Hogg, & Giessner, 2013). Social identity is an important component in this situation, where considerations of followers’ self-conception are evoked and managed by the group’s leadership. Building on the social identity theory of leadership (Hogg, van Knippenberg, & Rast, 2012), this project will examine how/when leaders, particularly extremist, deviant, or non-prototypical leaders, can strategically use uncertainty to their advantage as a means to strengthen their support by providing ways to ease follower uncertainty and by emphasizing a shared identity.

Potential applicants with demonstrable research interests in the areas of the self-concept, social identity, social influence, collective action, and leadership are strongly preferred. Please email Dr. David Rast at with your CV and a 2-page statement of research interests.

Leadership ideas are clear with Dr Birdi

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Abirdi-90x75s a senior lecturer in Sheffield University Management School’s Institute of Work Psychology, Dr Kamal Birdi is used to communicating his highly regarded research to groups of students. However, recently his work has reached a professional audience.

After an excellent interview on BBC Radio 4’s programme ‘Bobbies on the Tweet’, which discussed how police are fighting crime using the popular social media platform Twitter, Dr Birdi has had much involvement with local organisations, as well as the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

Two events in November called on Dr Birdi’s expertise and were part of the national Festival, organised annually by the ESRC. The first, held at The Circle, Sheffield, was a one-day CLEAR IDEAS creativity training workshop. Attendees numbered 18 and came from third sector organisations including SCOPE, Sheffield Cubed and St Luke’s Hospice. Feedback from the event, which saw participants tackling challenges such as recruiting a more diverse board and creating fundraising events, was overwhelmingly positive, with comments including ‘some of the best training I’ve been to’, and ‘I hope to champion this within my organisation’.SYFR-workshop

The second ESRC event saw Dr Birdi invited to speak at Aston Business School. His talk was titled ‘But I’m not Creative…’, in which he evaluated the role of creativity training in promoting organisational innovation. Of the talk, Dr Birdi said: “I reviewed the research on creativity training in organisations and discussed the practical experience of running my CLEAR IDEAS workshops in organisations for the past eight years. Other speakers at the event, which had a theme of ‘Organisational Innovation, People Management and Sustained Performance’, came from as far afield as the USA, Denmark, Portugal and China.”

Dr Birdi also teaches on the Sheffield City Region Leadership Programme, which includes delegates from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR). Having experienced the impact his CLEAR IDEAS framework has had on their staff who have graduated from the programme, they invited Dr Birdi to facilitate a creative ideas session for middle-managers, after they were given a task from senior managers to come up with new suggestions on reducing SYFR’s transport costs, ensuring firefighters are kept up-to-date with training and that key knowledge wasn’t lost when people left the organisation.

The session (pictured right) was a great success.

Teaching and knowledge exchange at the heart of IWP

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Research from the Institute of Work Psychology is headline grabbing, but there’s more to the IWP than this.

Students on the MSc Occupational Psychology and doctoral researchers are at the heart of the IWP’s activities and, along with the established team of academics, spend time sharing their knowledge with the public and industry. Here we review some of the IWP’s recent engagement activities:


IWP-Tata2013Hats off to students’ steely determination

MSc Occupational Psychology students can say ‘ta-ta’ to lecturers and tutorials now and again…

On 20 November, our group of postgraduate students visited Tata Steel in Stockbridge, Sheffield. Tata Steel is one of the world most geographically diversified steel producers and students learnt a great deal from the visit.


North of the Boarder

Dr Carolyn Axtell, senior lecturer at Sheffield University Management School, was invited to speak at Holyrood Magazine’s Mobile and Flexible Working Conference.

Held in Edinburgh on 28 October, Dr Axtell spoke about the effect of mobile and remote work on the workforce. This is a subject in which she is well versed, as in recent years she has worked with a range of organisations within both the public and private sector. Research projects have broadly related to either evaluating the impact of new technologies and new ways of working or helping develop new work practices. Carolyn has been invited to contribute to chapters/papers and speak at conferences on the topic of virtual working.

Holyrood Magazine is Scotland’s political and current affairs publication read by key legislators, Scottish parliamentarians, civil servants, political parties, health boards and trusts. This conference was held by their technical magazine. Read more:


Staying in touch: Alumni Success

Following on from Kate Bonsall-Clarke’s accolade last year, IWP alumna Kate Firth won the prestigious Practitioner of the Year award from the British Psychological Society.

Kate’s prize-winning submission contained redesigning the selection process for a large development programme at Tesco. Her work improved the effectiveness of identifying the best candidates for the programme and improved applicants’ experience.

The school’s MSc Occupational Psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society. Read more:


ESRC Festival of Social Science: Is anybody out there?

It seems there are a lot of people out there to want to learn about IWP’s PhD students’ research.

A packed meeting room attended to hear Peter Crellin and Sarah Brooks give a talk as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. Titled ‘Is Anybody Out There? Why bosses Don’t Always Listen’, the event took place on 4 November at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences (ICOSS), Portobello Road.

The pair discussed ways that senior management prevent their employees from talking openly to them. This can have subsequent effects on the employees and the wider organisation; Sarah and Peter drew on and combined their experience within the Institute of Work Psychology and wider research interests such as destructive leadership and workplace silence.

Expert discusses falling employment’s effect on mental health

Friday, November 15th, 2013

SpriggDr Christine Sprigg, lecturer and chartered psychologist from the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) at Sheffield University Management School, was asked to comment on dropping unemployment and its effect on mental health by the British Psychological Society.

Commenting on recent news that unemployment figures are falling, Dr Sprigg (pictured left) said: “In general, the weight of research evidence suggests that in mental health terms at least, it is better to be employed than unemployed. Employment not only provides monetary benefits but vital social and relational experiences – as well as a structure and a meaning to a person’s day. This is not to say you need a ‘paid job’ to garner these health benefits.”

However, research suggests that there is a loophole whereby this is not necessarily the case. Dr Sprigg continued: “Some research has indicated that ‘poor quality’ jobs may not provide the same mental health buffers. So it always important to provide as rich a form of work as possible for people – given the basic constraints of the nature of any job.”

She referenced seminal work by current and previous colleagues at Sheffield, Professor Peter Warr and Professor Paul Jackson.

Read the full story on the British Psychological Society’s website: