Stephen Humphrey

Professor of Management , Research Director of the Center for Teams and Negotiation
Department: Management and Organization, Center for Teams and Negotiation
Office: 439 Business Building
Phone: 814-863-0597
Fax: 814-863-7261
Member of Faculty Since: 2008


Stephen E. Humphrey is Professor of Management in the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management (with a minor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology) from Michigan State University and his B.S. in Psychology from James Madison University.

Dr. Humphrey's research focuses on the structure of work, with a primary focus on teamwork and the drivers of team success.

Dr. Humphrey's research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Personality, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Personnel Psychology. In addition, he has co-authored several book chapters, presented over 50 papers at professional meetings, and is a member of the Academy of Management.

Personal Website

Current Research

My research has focused primarily on answering two questions:

How do you make a great team?

- and -

How do you make a team great?

These two questions capture the essence of what I am passionate about in Organizational Behavior. Considering the two research interests, my first question gets at issues of the “bottom-up” formative design of work teams. That is, if one wants to build a successful team from scratch, what are the issues that are most important? It is through this lens that I have addressed topics such as the “seeding” of teams, putting the best members into the most strategically core roles, investigating the impact of dyadic relationships in teams, configuring the reward or leadership structure, structuring the team to capitalize on different beliefs and opinions, and designing work to improve motivational and social processes.

The second question deals with the “top-down” management of existing teams. That is, if we look at existing teams embedded in time, how does this temporal context affect a team's functioning? This question deals with such issues as member and role changes, changes in rewards and leadership structure, and the progression towards an endpoint.

Across both questions, a critical focus has been to break apart the nested levels within teams, such that I am interested in something more than just the climate of a team. Instead, I have tried to focus my research on the “organizing” of teams, exploring the fundamental components of a team (such as job characteristics, roles, dyads, and sub-groups) to see how individuals within these situations combine together to create “teams”. In pursuing my research, I have endeavored to test my questions in field, lab, and archival populations, primarily with a quantitative focus.


Groups, teams, and teamwork
Work Desgn

Publication List

Humphrey, S. E. & Aime, F., "Team microdynamics: Towards an organizing approach to teamwork", Academy of Management Annals, 2014, 8, 443-503.

Aime, F., Humphrey, S. E., DeRue, D. S., & Paul, J, "The riddle of heterarchy: Power transitions in cross-functional teams", Academy of Management Journal, April 2014, 57, 327-352.

Hambrick, D. C., Humphrey, S. E., & Gupta, A., "When does executive group heterogeneity matter most (and least)? Identifying the structural origins of interdependence in top management teams", Strategic Management Journal, Forthcoming, 57, 327-352.

Summers, J. K., Humphrey, S. E., & Ferris, G. R, "Team member change, flux in coordination, and performance: Effects of strategic core roles, information transfer, and cognitive ability", Academy of Management Journal, 2012, 55, 314-339.

Conlon, D. E., Tinsley, C. H., Humphrey, S. E., & Ellis, A. P. J, "Is it sometimes better to receive than to give? Preferences for receiver roles over proposer roles in consumer behavior ultimatums", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2012, 119, 64-77.

Hollenbeck, J.R., Ellis, A.P.J., Humphrey, S.E., Garza, A., & Ilgen, D.R., "Asymmetry in structural adaptation: The differential impact of centralizing versus decentralizing team decision-making structures", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2011, 114, 64-74.

Humphrey, S. E., Morgeson, F. P., & Mannor, M. J., "Developing a Theory of the Strategic Core of Teams: A Role Composition Model of Team Performance", Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009, 94, 48-61.

Beersma, B., Hollenbeck, J. R., Conlon, D. E., Humphrey, S. E., Moon, H., & Ilgen, D. R., "Role negotiation in self-managed teams: The effects of history and composition on coordination and performance", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2009, 108, 131-142.

DeRue, D. S., Nahrgang, J. D., Wellman, N. & Humphrey, S. E., "Trait and behavioral theories of leadership: A meta-analytic test of their relative validity", Personnel Psychology, 2011, 64, 7-52.

Homan, A. C., Hollenbeck, J. R., Humphrey, S. E., van Knippenberg, D., Ilgen, D. R., & Van Kleef, G. A., "Facing differences with an open mind: Openness to experience, salience of intra-group differences, and performance of diverse work groups", Academy of Management Journal, 2008, 51, 1204-1222.

Humphrey, S. E., Nahrgang, J. D., & Morgeson, F. P., "Integrating motivational, social, and contextual work design features: A meta-analytic summary and theoretical extension of the work design literature", Journal of Applied Psychology, September 2007, 92, 1332-1356.

Humphrey, S. E., Hollenbeck, J. R., Meyer, C. J., & Ilgen, D. R., "Trait configurations in self-managed teams: A conceptual examination of the use of seeding to maximize and minimize trait variance in teams", Journal of Applied Psychology, May 2007, 92, 885-892.

Morgeson, F. P. & Humphrey, S. E., "The work design questionnaire (WDQ): Developing and validating a comprehensive measure for assessing job design and the nature of work", Journal of Applied Psychology, November 2006, 91, 1321-1339.

Johnson, M. D., Hollenbeck, J. R., Humphrey, S. E., Ilgen, D. R., Jundt, D. K., & Meyer, C. J., "Cutthroat cooperation: Asymmetrical adaptation of team reward structures", Academy of Management Journal, January 2006, 49, 103-119.

Humphrey, S. E., Ellis, A. J. P., Conlon, D. E., & Tinsley, C. H., "Customer reactions to brokered ultimatums: Applying negotiation and justice theory", Journal of Applied Psychology, 2004, 89, 466-482.

Humphrey, S. E., Moon, H., Conlon, D. E., & Hoffman, D. A., "Decision making and behavioral fluidity: How focus on completion and emphasis on safety changes over the course of projects", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2004, 93, 14-27.

Moon, H., Hollenbeck, J. R., Humphrey, S. E., Ilgen, D. R., West, B. J., Ellis, A. P. J., & Porter, C. O. L. H., "Asymmetric adaptability: Dynamic team structures as one-way streets", Academy of Management Journal, 2004, 47, 681-695.

Beersma, B., Hollenbeck, J. R., Humphrey, S. E., Moon, H., Conlon, D. E., & Ilgen, D. R., "Cooperation, Competition, and Team Performance: Towards a Contingency Approach", Academy of Management Journal, 2003, 46, 572-590.

Moon, H., Conlon, D. E., Humphrey, S. E., Quigley, N., Devers, C. E., & Nowakowski, J. M., "Group structure and incrementalism in organizational decision-making", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2003, 92, 67-79.

Media Mention

Works well with others,  Mother Jones Magazine

Social relationships matter in job satisfaction,  Monitor on Psychology

Is corporate America cutting it's own throat?,  Employers of America

Simplifying Jobs Can Complicate Results, Research Finds,  Society for Human Resource Management


Associate Editor: Organizational Psychology Review


Ph.D., Organizational Behavior/Human Resource Management, Michigan State University, 2004

BS, Psychology, James Madison University, 1999


BA 505, Negotition Immersion

MGMT 521, Complex Negotiation