Prof. Dr. Niels Van Quaquebeke

Head of Management Department / Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior

Niels Van Quaquebeke is Head of Management Department and Full Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior. A psychologist by trade, he pursued his PhD at the University of Hamburg and as a visiting scholar at various business schools around the globe. In 2008, he received the ERIM top talent post-doc fellowship at the Rotterdam School of Management of the Erasmus University where he later also taught as an Assistant Professor.

In his research, Van Quaquebeke focuses on the issue of leadership. Among others, he explores the communicative basis of successful leadership, the importance of values in leadership, ways of leading ethically, and the function of interpersonal respect. As a researcher, he is currently involved in the Research Institute on Leadership and Operations in Humanitarian Aid (RILOHA), which seeks to enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian aid via psychological insights, the Erasmus Centre for Leadership Studies, which seeks to generally understand the role of leadership as an asset in organizations, and the metaBUS project, which seeks to curate all empirical studies in management and applied psychology in the last 20 years.

Van Quaquebeke currently serves on the editorial boards of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (OBHDP), Leadership Quarterly (LQ), and the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (JOOP). He was awarded repeated scholarships by Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation) as well as an award by the German government for the innovative approach of the RespectResearchGroup which he headed for ten years. His work has been sponsored with more than 200.000 Euro from varying funding organizations and is frequently mentioned in the public media. Van Quaquebeke is further recognised as one of the Top100 German speaking business scholars under 40 in the last two Handelsblatt rankings.

Before turning academic, Van Quaquebeke has worked in various internal and external consultancy roles. Today he bridges the gap from science to practice with his spin-off re|spic|ere and as part of KLU executive education.


Tel: +49 40 328707-241
Fax: +49 40 328707-209


Selected Publications

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.5465/amr.2014.0537

Abstract: Practitioners repeatedly note that the everyday behavior of asking followers open questions and attentively listening to their responses is a powerful leadership technique. Yet, despite such popularity, these practices are currently under-theorized. Addressing this gap, we formally define the behavioral configuration of asking open questions combined with attentive listening as “Respectful Inquiry”, and then draw on Self-Determination Theory to provide a motivational account of its antecedents, consequences, and moderators within a leader-follower relationship. Specifically, we argue that Respectful Inquiry principally satisfies followers' basic psychological needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Against this background, we highlight ironic contexts where Respectful Inquiry is likely to be especially rare, but would also be especially valuable. These ironic contexts include situations where interpersonal power difference, time pressure, physical distance, cognitive load, follower dissatisfaction, or organizational control focus are high. We additionally outline how the effect of Respectful Inquiry behaviors critically hinges upon the interaction history a follower has with a leader. More generally, we make the suggestion that the leadership field would benefit from complementing its traditional focus on “gestalt” leadership styles with research on concrete and narrow communicative behaviors, such as Respectful Inquiry.

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Copy reference link   DOI: doi:10.1111/pops.12311

Abstract: The present study investigates the consequences of respectful versus disrespectful communication in political debates on voters’ social judgments and voting decisions. Reconciling previously mixed results, we argue that the consequences of disrespect vary with the judgment dimension (communion vs. agency) and voters’ moral identity. An initial study (N = 197) finds that a political candidate's disrespect towards his or her opponent affects voting decision through voting intention. A second study (N = 327) shows that disrespect influences voting intention through communion but not through agency ratings. Qualifying the previous finding, a third study (N = 329) shows that both communion and agency judgments act as mediators, but in different ways depending on the level of moral identity. Overall, communion judgments played a more prominent part in explaining the consequences of disrespectful communication. Our findings thus present a nuanced picture of respect and disrespect in political communication and shed light on their ramifications.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1177/0018726716639117

Abstract: Recent conceptual work suggests that the sense of identity that employees develop vis-vis their organization goes beyond the traditional notion of organizational identification and can also involve conflicting impulses represented by ambivalent identification. In this study, we seek to advance this perspective on identification by proposing and empirically examining important antecedents and consequences. In line with our hypotheses, an experimental study (N = 199 employees) shows that organizational identification and ambivalent identification interactively influence employees’ willingness to engage in organizational citizenship behavior. The effect of organizational identification on organizational citizenship behavior is significantly reduced when employees experience ambivalent identification. A field study involving employees from a broad spectrum of organizations and industries (N = 564) replicated these findings. Moreover, results show that employees’ promotion and prevention focus form differential relationships with organizational identification and ambivalent identification, providing first evidence for a link between employees’ regulatory focus and the dynamics of identification. Implications for the expanded model of organizational identification and the understanding of ambivalence in organizations are discussed.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1177/0149206313478187

Abstract: Existing justice theory explains why fair procedures motivate employees to adopt cooperative goals, but it fails to explain how employees strive toward these goals. We study self-regulatory abilities that underlie goal striving, abilities that should thus affect employees’ display of cooperative behavior in response to procedural justice. Building on action control theory, we argue that employees who display effective self-regulatory strategies (action-oriented employees) display relatively strong cooperative behavioral responses to fair procedures. A multisource field study and a laboratory experiment support this prediction. A subsequent experiment addresses the process underlying this effect by explicitly showing that action orientation facilitates attainment of the cooperative goals that people adopt in response to fair procedures, thus facilitating the display of actual cooperative behavior. This goal striving approach better integrates research on the relationship between procedural justice and employee cooperation in the self-regulation and the work motivation literature. It also offers organizations a new perspective on making procedural justice effective in stimulating employee cooperation by suggesting factors that help employees reach their adopted goals.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.08.005

Abstract: The literature on ethical leadership has focused primarily on the way ethical leaders influence follower moral judgment and behavior. It has overlooked that follower responses to ethical leaders may differ depending on the attention they pay to the moral aspects of leadership. In the present research, we introduce moral attentiveness as an important moderator for the relationship between ethical leadership and unethical employee behavior. In a multisource field study (N = 90), we confirm our hypothesis that morally attentive followers respond with more deviance to unethical leaders. An experimental study (N = 96) replicates the finding. Our paper extends the current leader-focused literature by examining how follower moral attentiveness determines the response of followers to ethical or unethical leadership.

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Academic Positions


Visiting Scholar at Business School, University of Western Australia, AUS


Visiting Scholar at Business School, University of Otago, NZ

Since 2013

Full Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Kühne Logistics University, GER


Associate Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Kühne Logistics University, GER


Director of RespectResearchGroup, GER


Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus Research Institute in Management & Erasmus Centre for Leadership Studies, NL


Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Top Talent Program) Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus Research Institute in Management & Erasmus Centre for Leadership Studies, NL


Visiting Scholar at University of New South Wales, Australian Graduate School of Management, Center for Corporate Change, AUS


Visiting Scholar at Monash University, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, AUS


Visiting Scholar at Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management, Department of Organization and Personnel Management, NL


Visiting Scholar at Aston University, Aston Business School, Work and Organizational Psychology Group & Aston Centre for Leadership Excellence, UK


Lecturer at University of Hamburg, Psychology Department, Social Psychology, GER



Doctoral Degree (Dr. phil equivalent to Ph.D.) in Psychology at the University of Hamburg, GER


Diploma in Psychology at the University of Hamburg, GER (Cooperation project with Fraunhofer Institute IPK Berlin)