Social and Organisational Psychology Research Group

A Psychology research group that explores social, organisational, media and political psychology, personality and individual differences.

About us

This Psychology research group comprises researchers who specialise in social and organisational psychology. 

Members from this group focus on topics such as emotions, personality and individual differences, political psychology, and media psychology. Our primary research interests are social identity, group processes, interpersonal interaction, citizenship, political and civic engagement, social movements, culture, organisational dynamics, and sense making. We specialise both in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

While our work has a strong focus on testing fundamental principles and theories on social phenomena, it also has applied implications on the development of a civil society within the domain of civic engagement and citizenship building. The Social and Organisational Research Group emphasizes both basic and applied research.

We have a strong outward focus, seeking to build interdisciplinary links to organisations, communities and movements at the local, national and international level. We have collaborative links with colleagues across the University of Winchester, UK organisations, and international research communities.

PhD supervision

The social and organisational psychology research group welcomes enquiries about PhD supervision. For general enquires regarding PhD studies in social or organisational psychology at the University of Winchester, contact Dr Joost Leunissen. For general information about PhD studies at the University of Winchester, explore our Research Degrees pages.

Our social and organisational psychology group members have a diverse range of interests in the domain of social and organisational psychology. You can send enquiries about specific topics directly to the relevant individual; use the links below to explore our group members' academic profiles for their individual areas of expertise and supervision.

Group members

For more information and enquiries, contact Dr Joost Leunissen

Internal links:

External links:


9 Jan. 2024: Workshop 'Managing and maintaining social connections in a digitised workplace', at the conference The Future World of Work at the University of Winchester - find out more.

Oct. 2022: Dr Liam Satchell was the first speaker for a newly launched local Science Café, tackling the complex subject of the brain and neurological differences between individual/groups.

June 2021: Hosted the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences conference, an online conference that brought together researchers in the area of personality, intelligence, psychopathology, neuropsychology, and various applied psychology topics.

2019: Subjective Coding Hackathon, a workshop that brought together researchers interested in developing better tools for coding complex social interactions.

Selected ongoing projects and research themes

Groups, identities and participation

How do our group memberships and identities direct our participation in our communities and social worlds? Dr Debra Gray’s research draws on social identity, place identity and discursive approaches to try and understand how our group membership and identities provide the resources to participate (or not) across a range of contexts, and what the outcomes and impacts of this might be for individuals and communities. She is currently working on a funded project looking at how social and community identities are important for understanding volunteering motivations, behaviours and experiences. For more information, visit the Volunteering Research Hub website.

See also the Engaging Communities Research Centre, co-convened by Dr Gray.

Social perception and interaction

How do people form first impressions? How do people seek information and knowledge from other people in dynamic interactions? Dr Liam Satchell's research focusses on the processes in social interaction and has studied the processes in forming first impressions. Alongside this work, he is now studying what empathy looks like in a process and the experiences of empathising with others. This work is also applied in other settings such as in police interviewing and schools.


Organisational nostalgia: When people work in the same organisation for a while, they start to collect nostalgic memories about events they experienced in their organisation (fun outings with colleagues, achievements they experienced in their work). What happens when people remember these nostalgic events? Does it cause them to want to go back to the past and dislike the present? Dr Joost Leunissen's research showed that organisational nostalgia is a force for good for employees: it helps them to cope with stress, is associated with more collegiate behaviour, increases initiative taking, and increases prioritisation of important goals.

Narcissistic persuasiveness

Narcissism is a personality trait characterised by inflated self-views. How do narcissists fare in everyday interactions? Dr Joost Leunissen's research showed that narcissists are particularly good at persuading others, but only when they can use face-to-face communication. When they persuade others using written essays, they are less persuasive than non-narcissists.


Leadership is an influence process and most leadership theory has been developed from a normative, idealised perspective concerned with its measurement as an inherent trait or characteristic of individual leaders. The work of Dr Kim Bradley-Cole and Dr Liam Satchell is focussed on developing a more dynamic and socially interdependent understanding of leadership that is psychologically rooted in the influence relationship.

Women are less likely to be promoted into leadership positions and less likely to accepted in the role once they get there. Dr Kim Bradley-Cole’s constructivist research continues to explore the lived experiences of leadership for women and mothers, to unpack and learn from their experiences and the stories they live by.

Teaching employability skills

Concerns around the perceived graduate skills gap are intensifying and yet the presence of employability modules within undergraduate degrees remains contentious and draws out several systemic tensions. Research by Dr Kim Bradley-Cole and Dr Liam Satchell seeks to identify how universities can improve the pedagogy of employability skills training, through enhancing reflective practice and the tangibility of employability. This is in order to better enable students’ agency to succeed in postgraduate employment and in life.

Media Psychology: parasocial relationships

What are the psychological antecedents of parasocial relationships with media figures? Dr David Giles's research explores the relationships between audiences and media, particularly with regard to how we develop meaningful attachments to celebrities and other public figures - including those we dislike. These relationships are 'parasocial' in the sense that the media figures do not play the traditional role of a partner in a relationship. But how do these dynamics play out between celebrities and audiences in social media?