Employee Profile

Suzanne van Gils

Associate Professor - Department of Communication and Culture


Suzanne van Gils, PhD, is an associate professor in management communication and ethics. She is the Associate Dean for the new MSc program in Digital Communication Management starting fall 2022. Her research interests focus on (im)moral behavior in organizations, identity processes, and leader-employee interactions. Recent projects focus among others on the leadership communication and ethical behavior in (digital) teams. Moreover, Suzanne serves as co-promotor on the PhD project of M. Untung Manara on corruption at Maastricht University. She is the section co-editor of the section quantitative leadership for the Journal of Business Ethics.

Suzanne's teaching focuses on communication for leadership, ethics, and business communication in general

Before joining BI in 2019, Suzanne has worked as an assistant professor at Maastricht University, and as a post-doctoral research fellow at Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Suzanne's work has been published in journals such as Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Relations, Leadership Quarterly, and Journal of Business ethics. An overview of recent publications can be found on Suzanne's Researchgate profile or on Google scholar.


Nübold, Annika; van Gils, Suzanne & Zacher, Hannes (2022)

Daily Work Role Stressors and Dark Triad States: Results of Two Diary Studies

Zeitschrift für Psychologie Doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000505

Organizational research on the dark triad has, so far, focused on individual differences in employees’ stable tendencies to act in manipulative, grandiose, or callous ways (i.e., dark triad traits). Research on momentary expressions of Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy (i.e., dark triad states) and the work situations that may trigger them is still in its infancy. Based on the conservation of resources theory, we hypothesized that daily role ambiguity and role conflict deplete employees’ daily self-control resources which, in turn, is related to the daily expression of dark triad states. To test our hypotheses, we conducted two daily diary studies across 5 and 10 workdays. Consistent with expectations, on days when employees experienced more role conflict than usual, they were more likely to express their darker side of personality. In contrast, hypotheses about the detrimental effects of daily role ambiguity and the mediating role of daily self-control depletion were not supported.

Gläser, Daniel; van Gils*, Suzanne & Van Quaquebeke, Niels (2022)

With or Against Others? Pay-for-Performance Activates Aggressive Aspects of Competitiveness

European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Doi: 10.1080/1359432X.2022.2039125

While paying employees for performance (PfP) has been shown to elicit increased motivation by way of competitive processes, the present paper investigates whether the same competitive processes inherent in PfP can also encourage aggressiveness. We tested our hypothesis in three studies that conceptually build on each other: First, in a word completion experiment (N = 104), we find that PfP triggers the implicit activation of the fighting and defeating facets of competitiveness. Second, in a multi-source field study (N = 94), coworkers reported more interpersonal deviance from colleagues when the latter received a performance bonus than when they did not. In our final field study (N = 286), we tested the full model, assessing the effect of PfP and interpersonal deviance mediated by competitiveness: Employees with a bonus self-reported higher interpersonal deviance towards their co-workers, which was mediated by individual competitiveness. These findings underscore that PfP can entail powerful yet widely unstudied collateral effects

Van Trijp, Catharina Petronella Johanna; Lekhal, Ratib, Drugli, May Britt, Rydland, Veslemøy, van Gils, Suzanne, Vermeer, Harriet J & Buøen, Elisabet Solheim (2021)

The Association between Toddlers’ Temperament and Well-Being in Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care, and the Moderating Effect of Center-Based Daycare Process Quality.

Frontiers in Psychology, 12 Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.763682 - Full text in research archive

Children who experience well-being are engaging more confidently and positively with their caregiver(s) and peers, which helps them to profit more from available learning opportunities and support current and later life outcomes. The goodness-of-fit theory suggests that children’s well-being might be a result of the interplay between their temperament and the environment. However, there is a lack of studies that examined the association between children’s temperament and well-being in early childhood education and care (ECEC), and whether this association is affected by ECEC process quality. Using a multilevel random coefficient approach, this study examines the association between toddlers’ (N = 1,561) temperament (shyness, emotionality, sociability, and activity) and well-being in Norwegian ECEC and investigates whether process quality moderates this association. Results reveal an association between temperament and well-being. Staff-child conflict moderates the association between shyness and well-being, and between activity and well-being. Moreover, high emotional behavioral support moderates the association between activity and well-being. Extra attention should be paid by the staff to these children’s needs.

Wong, Sut I & van Gils, Suzanne (2021)

Initiated and received task interdependence and distributed team performance: the mediating roles of different forms of role clarity

AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centred Systems and Machine Intelligence Doi: 10.1007/s00146-021-01241-w - Full text in research archive

Distributed agile teams are increasingly employed in organizations, partly due to the increased focus on digital transformation. However, research findings about the performance of such teams appear to be inconsistent, calling for more research to investigate the conditions under which distributed agile teams may thrive. Given that task coordination is particularly challenging when team members are not co-located, the present study investigates the roles of the two types of task interdependence, i.e., initiated versus received task interdependence. Survey results from 191 participants working in distributed agile teams within three companies in Norway confirm our hypotheses. Specifically, we show that high initiated task interdependence is associated with higher role clarity of others, while received task interdependence is associated with higher role clarity of self, and that both subsequently result in higher team performance in distributed agile teams. Thus, we argue that each type of task interdependence contributes in a unique way to team performance in distributed agile teams.

Vogt, Catharina; van Gils, Suzanne, Van Quaquebeke, Niels, Grover, Steven & Eckloff, Tilman (2021)

Proactivity at work: The roles of respectful leadership and leader group prototypicality

Journal of Personnel Psychology, 20(3), s. 114- 123. Doi: 10.1027/1866-5888/a000275

We propose that two aspects of leadership, perceived respectful leadership and the degree of leaders’ prototypicality, positively affect employee proactivity. A multisource and multilevel field study of 234 employees supervised by 62 leaders shows that respectful leadership relates positively to employee proactivity in terms of personal initiative and that leader group prototypicality diminishes this effect. Moreover, perceived respectful leadership and prototypicality substitute for one another in their relation to follower proactivity. This study contributes to previous research that shows leader–follower relationships enhance proactivity by showing the impact of perceived respectful leadership and leader group prototypicality.

van Gils, Suzanne & Van Quaquebeke, Niels (2020)

Ethical Leadership

Braddick, Oliver (red.). The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology

Manara, Muhammad Untung; van Gils, Suzanne, Nubold, Annika & Zijlstra, Fred R.H. (2020)

Corruption, Fast or Slow? Ethical Leadership Interacts with Machiavellianism to Influence Intuitive Thinking and Corruption

Frontiers in Psychology Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.578419 - Full text in research archive

Ethical leadership has been suggested as an organizational factor that could reduce unethical behaviors in an organization. We extend this research by examining how and when ethical leadership could reduce followers’ corruption. We examined the moderating role of followers’ Machiavellianism and the mediating role of intuitive thinking style in the negative effect of ethical leadership on corruption. Across two different studies (field study and experiment), we found that ethical leadership decreases followers’ corruption (Studies 1 and 2) and that this negative effect is mediated by followers’ intuitive thinking style (Study 2). Furthermore, followers’ Machiavellianism moderated the direct negative effect of ethical leadership on corruption. However, the pattern of this moderation was not consistent. In Study 1, we found that ethical leadership has the strongest direct negative impact on corruption when followers’ Machiavellianism is high, whereas in Study 2, we found that ethical leadership has the strongest direct negative effect on corruption when followers’ Machiavellianism is low. The theoretical implications for corruption, ethical leadership, and information processing research, as well as practical implications for corruption prevention, will be discussed.

Hülsheger, Ute; van Gils, Suzanne & Walkowiak, Alicia (2020)

The regulating role of mindfulness in enacted workplace incivility: An experience sampling study.

Journal of Applied Psychology, 106(8), s. 1250- 1265. Doi: 10.1037/apl0000824 - Full text in research archive

van Gils, Suzanne; Otto, Tobias & Dinartika, Niken L (2020)

Better together? The neural response to moral dilemmas is moderated by the presence of a close other

Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics (JNPE), 13(3), s. 150- 163. Doi: 10.1037/npe0000126 - Full text in research archive

Árnadóttir, Augusta; Kok, Gerjo, van Gils, Suzanne & Ten Hoor, Gill (2019)

Waste separation: a study among university students in the Netherlands.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), 16(1), s. 93- 103. Doi: 10.3390/ijerph16010093 - Full text in research archive

Recycling waste is important to reduce the production of greenhouse gasses. The aim of this project was to understand determinants of cafeteria waste separation behavior among university students. First, the determinants of waste separation behavior among university students (n = 121) were explored using an online questionnaire. In study 2 (pre-/post-test design), the effect of a small intervention (based on study 1) on actual waste sorting behavior was observed. Finally, a semi-qualitative study in 59 students was conducted as process evaluation of the intervention. The following results were revealed: (1) Students have limited knowledge about waste separation, have a high intention to separate waste, are positive about waste separation in general, and believe that they can separate waste correctly. (2) Just over half of the waste is correctly recycled. An intervention with extra information had no significant effect on improving recycling behavior. (3) Students evaluated the intervention positively. Some students suggested that more information should be available where the actual decision making takes place. Ultimately, this paper concludes that although students have a positive attitude and are willing to behave pro-environmentally, there is a gap between intention and actual behavior. These results may also apply to other organizations and members of those organizations. New interventions are needed to trigger students to make correct waste separation decisions where the actual decision making takes place

van Gils, Suzanne & Horton, Kate (2019)

How can ethical brands respond to service failures? Understanding how moral identity motivates compensation preferences through self-consistency and social approval

Journal of Business Research, 95, s. 455- 463. Doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.07.042

We examine how the two dimensions of moral identity - internalization and symbolization - impact on customers' relationships with ethical brands, as well as their satisfaction with different types of (private versus public) compensation and apologies following service failures. We propose and find in a field study of customers of a green social enterprise (N = 159) and in an online scenario study (N = 214) that high moral identity internalization is associated with higher satisfaction with private apologies, but not with public apologies and compensation, while high moral identity symbolization is associated with higher satisfaction with public compensation and apologies, but not with private apologies and compensation. Study 2 extends these findings by confirming that self-consistency mediates the relationships between moral identity internalization and private apologies and compensation, while social approval mediates the relationships between moral identity symbolization and public apologies and compensation. Unexpectedly self-consistency also mediated the effect of symbolization on public compensation. Implications of these findings are discussed.

van Gils, Suzanne; Van Quaquebeke, Niels, Borkowski, Jan & van Knippenberg, Daan (2018)

Respectful leadership: Reducing performance challenges posed by leader role incongruence and gender dissimilarity

Human Relations, 71(12), s. 1590- 1610. Doi: 10.1177/0018726718754992

van Gils, Suzanne; Hogg, Michael, Van Quaquebeke, Niels & van Knippenberg, Daan (2017)

When organizational identification elicits moral decision making: A matter of the right climate.

Journal of Business Ethics, 142, s. 155- 168. Doi: 10.1007/s10551-015-2784-0

Glaeser, Daniel; van Gils, Suzanne & Van Quaquebeke, Niels (2017)

Pay-for-Performance and Interpersonal Deviance: Competitiveness as the Match That Lights the Fire

Journal of Personnel Psychology, 16, s. 78- 91. Doi: 10.1027/1866-5888/a000181

Righetti, Francesca; Luchies, Laura, van Gils, Suzanne, Slotter, Erica, Witcher, Betty & Kumashiro, Madoka (2015)

The Prosocial Versus Proself Power Holder

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(6) Doi: 10.1177/0146167215579054

Giessner, Steffen R.; Van Quaquebeke, Niels, van Gils, Suzanne, van Knippenberg, Daan & Kollee, Janine (2015)

In the moral eye of the beholder: The interactive effects of leader and follower moral identity on ethical leadership and leader-member exchange

Frontiers in Psychology, 6 Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01126

van Gils, Suzanne; Van Quaquebeke, Niels, van Knippenberg, Daan, van Dijke, Marius & De Cremer, David (2015)

Ethical leadership and follower organizational deviance: The moderating role of follower moral attentiveness

Leadership Quarterly, 26(2), s. 190- 203. Doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.08.005

van Gils, Suzanne; Van Quaquebeke, Niels & van Knippenberg, Daan (2010)

The X-Factor: On the Relevance of Implicit Leadership and Followership Theories for Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Agreement.

European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 19, s. 333- 363. Doi: 10.1080/13594320902978458

van Gils, Suzanne & Buhmann, Alexander (2019)

Leadership communication can improve work: The effects of ethical value communica-tion on meaningful work, employee identification, and levels of stress

[Academic lecture]. EUPRERA Annual Congress.

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2012 Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University PhD
2007 Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam Master of Science
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2021 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Associate professor
2019 - 2020 BI Norwegian Business School Lecturer
2013 - 2018 Maastricht University Assistant professor
2012 - 2013 Kühne Logistics University Post-doctoral research fellow