I'm Professor of Organisational Psychology in the Surrey Business School, University of Surrey. Prior to joining the University of Surrey, I held a lectureship at Cardiff University and a senior lectureship at Aston Business School. My current research interests focus on two main areas. First, the study of judgment accuracy and bias, empathy (everyday mind-reading), emotional intelligence and emotions in decision making, across both work and family contexts. Second, the study of leadership, and in particular how relationship science can help inform our understanding of why, when and how relationship-based leadership influences important work outcomes.
My research has been published in leading international psychology and management publications including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Harvard Business Review, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Personality and Social Psychology Review, The Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior.
Before becoming an academic I worked as a management consultant (consulting to organisations on range of important decisions such as personnel recruitment and selection decisions; team and leadership development), and have continued to conduct evidence-based executive training and development (e.g., leadership, leadership development, organisational change, evidence-based management) on an ongoing basis alongside my academic career.
- Leadership, including relationship based leadership; LMX; social psychological approaches to leadership
- Judgement accuracy/bias; empathic accuracy
- Relationship science; relationship conflict; relationship maintenance and development; work-family interface
MBA Leadership (Full time & Executive)
The research commenced with a general proposition that engagement can crossover from one employee to his/her co-worker in the workplace. However, the thesis postulated that there are functional and affective aspects of the work context, such as task and outcome interdependence, and workplace friendship, which create a specific condition for engagement crossover in the workplace. To investigate these propositions two research questions and five hypotheses were raised: ?To what extent does employee engagement crossover from one employee to his/her co-worker in the workplace?? Relatedly, ?what are the potential factors that determine the extent of this crossover??
To empirically test the research hypotheses, two independent studies were conducted. Study 1 (N=528) forms the first phase of this research and investigated engagement crossover among employees working in five different sectors. To build further on the first phase of the research, Study 2 (N=250) was conducted among employees of the petrochemical sector of the Iranian gas and oil industry. While the findings of each study were identical and replicated in the next one, each phase evolved from the previous one until the research matured into a comprehensive test of engagement crossover.
Failure of previous studies to give compelling evidence for engagement crossover in the workplace provided a good opportunity for the thesis to contribute to employee engagement and crossover literature. Hence, two lines of research from crossover and engagement were brought together to justify engagement crossover in the workplace. The findings of both studies were confirmatory of the research questions. The thesis established that employee engagement can crossover from one employee to his/her co-worker, even after the spurious variance from demographic variables such as age, gender, hours spent with co-workers, tenure, and education levels, individual differences such as affect and personality (Big Five) and employees? shared stimuli such as job demands and resources and job characteristics were controlled in the model.
The findings of the thesis developed new insights into crossover literature. Firstly, the thesis provided an empirical test of the empathy process in the two studies and showed that neither empathic concern nor perspective taking strengthen engagement crossover between two interdependent employees. These findings are novel and contribute to crossover research by empirically proving that Westman?s (2001) proposition for the direct transfer of positive psychological states via empathy cannot be substantiated to the crossover of employee engagement in the workplace.
The thesis further contributed to crossover research by extending Westman?s (2001) initial model to the workplace and identifying specific indirect mechanisms of engagement crossover through the functional and affective role of task and outcome interdependence and workplace friendship. Thus, the objective of the thesis were met. Finally, the main theoretical contribution of the thesis is the engagement crossover model, which is underpinned by social interdependence theory (not role theory). Not only did the proposed model empirically test the three mechanisms of crossover concurrently in two independent studies, but also, it identified specific indirect mechanisms for the crossover of employee engagement in the workplace. Therefor
Thomas, G., Martin, R., Epitropaki, O., Guillaume, Y., & Lee, A. (2013). Social cognition in leader-follower relationships: Applying insights from relationship science to understanding relationship-based approaches to leadership. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34, 563-.581.
Thomas, G., Martin, R., & Riggio, R.E. (2013). Leading groups: Leadership as a group process. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 3-16.
Senior, C., Martin, R., Thomas, G., Topakas, A., West, M., & Yeates, R. (2012). Developmental stability and leadership effectiveness. Leadership Quarterly, 23, 281-291.
Senior C, Martin R, West MA, Yeats R, Thomas, G., & Topakas, A. (2011). How can earlobes signal leadership potential? Harvard Business Review, 89, 32.
Thomas, G., Legood, A., Lee, A. (2011). Why, when and how motivation helps empathic accuracy. In J. Smith, W. Ickes, J.Hall & S.D. Hodges (Ed.) Managing interpersonal sensitivity: Knowing when an when not to understand others. New Science Publishers
Martin, R., Epitropaki, O., Thomas, G., & Topakas, A. (2010). A critical review of Leader-Member Relationship (LMX) research: Future prospects and directions. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 25, 61-91.
Maio, G.M., Thomas, G.., Fincham, F.D., & Carnelley, K. B. (2008). Unraveling therole of forgiveness in families. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 307-319.
Thomas, G., & Maio, G. M. (2008). Man, I feel like a woman: When and how gender-role motivation helps mind-reading. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1165-1179.
Maio, G. M., & Thomas, G. (2007). The epistemic-teleologic model of deliberateself persuasion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11, 46-67.
Martin, R., Thomas, G., Charles, C., Epitropaki, O., & McNamara, R. (2005). The role of Leader -Member Exchanges in mediating the relationship between locus of control and workreactions. Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, 78, 141-147.
Thomas, G. & Fletcher, G. J. O. (2003). Mind-reading accuracy in intimate relationships: Assessing the roles of the relationship, the target, and the judge. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 1079-1094.
Fletcher, G. J. O., Simpson, J. A., & Thomas, G. (2001). Ideals, perceptions, and evaluations in early relationship development. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 933-940. (4* ABS ranked)
Fletcher, G., & Thomas, G. (2000). On-line cognition and behavior in marital interaction: A longitudinal study. Personal Relationships, 7, 111-130.
Fletcher, G. J. O., Simpson, J., & Thomas, G. (2000). Relationship quality judgements: A confirmatory factor analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 340-354.
Fletcher, G. J. O., Thomas, G., & Durant, R. (1999). Cognitive and behavioural accommodation in close relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 16, 705-730.
Fletcher, G., Simpson, J., Thomas, G., & Giles, L. (1999). Ideals in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 72-89.
Thomas, G., & Fletcher, G. J. O. (1997). Empathic accuracy in close relationships. InW. Ickes (Ed.). Empathic accuracy (pp. 194-297). Guilford Press.
Thomas, G., Fletcher, G. J. O., & Lange, C. (1997). On-line empathic accuracy in marital interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 839-850.
Fletcher, G. J. O., & Thomas, G. (1996). Close relationship lay theories: Theirstructure and function. In G. Fletcher & J. Fitness (Eds.), Knowledge structures in close relationships: A social psychological approach (pp. 3-24). Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.