Dr Rebecca Pieniazek

Dr Rebecca Pieniazek


Formally I go by the name of Rebecca, but colleagues call me Bekki. In my research I work closely with industrial partners to ensure my research contributes scientifically and practically to the real world. I am an inter-disciplinary researcher focused on providing rigorous evidence based knowledge, in order to provide people, organisations, and society with practical solutions for enhancing success and social impact. I have worked with both private, public, and third sector organisations. 

I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford in 2010, followed by an MSc in Organizational Psychology from the University of Leeds. I joined Leeds University Business School as a PhD researcher in 2013, studying organizational resilience, and becoming a proud member of The Socio-Technical Research Centre. Since then I was employed as a Post-Doctoral Researcher, and in 2018 I was promoted to Lecturer of Organisational Behaviour and Organizational Psychology. I am on the shared leadership team for the Workplace Behaviour Research Centre, and an academic reviewer for Human Relations. I am also working towards becoming a professional Occupational Psychologist (i.e. Stage 2 of BPS approved Chartership). I am also a committee member of the UK Dignity and Respect at Work Intervention Group (DRAWING). Furthermore, I have worked on an N8 Industry Innovation Forum funded project in collaboration with industrial partners, local authorities and the Universities of Leeds, Lancaster and Liverpool. The project used an Action Design Research methodology to conceive, design and prototype internet-based services and associated physical products for older adults with specific heath care and social needs. 


Outstanding Academic Performance PhD Prize (University of Leeds) (2017)

Division of Occupational Psychology Prize (2014) 

Somerville College Oxford, Undergraduate Academic Improvement Prize (2009)


  • Joint director of Workplace Behavioural Research Centre
  • Committee member of the working group to reduce smoking on the UoL campus

Research interests

Given work is such a fundamental part of life, I want people to have a productive, fulfilling and socially responsible time at work. My work is frequently driven by organisations approaching me with real life problems, accompanied by their realisation that rigorous and reliable investigations by external academic researchers are the cheapest and most effective long turn solutions to improving success. In developing knowledge to inform practice, I use both qualitative and quantitative methods.

My main areas of interest include: 
•    Resilience (personal and organisational)
•    Motivation, productivity, engagement, proactivity
•    Multiple goals, and conflicting goals/paradoxes
•    Wellbeing
•    Socio-technical dynamics

Themes/mechanisms/approaches I have experience in applying:
•    Emotions/affect
•    Cognitions (including attitudes, mental framing etc)
•    Individual differences (and aspects certain employees have to deal with which others do not, e.g., dealing with going through the menopause whilst working)
•    Considering how micro themes connected with the macro 

Going forwards I am also keen to observe organisational behaviour phenomena in relation to these contexts:
•    Performance management
•    Careers
•    (Good and bad) Behaviour and behaviour change
•    Social enterprises

My main current projects include:
•    How should we best define and measure organisational resilience? 
•    How can we enhance organisational resilience?
•    How do organisational and personal resilience relate to each other? Should organisations be promoting both in equal measure?
•    Does the mechanism of personal resilience vary depending on the type of adversity, and the person? What are the outcomes of enacting personal resilience?

•    How can organisations better measure and enhance employee engagement? For example, is it better to measure employees’ engagement with company goals and values, or on how their work tasks can be connected to achieving their own identities and values?  
•    How can we best enhance academics commitment to impact given their competing demands?
•    How can employee productivity be enhanced through helping people re-frame their tasks and connecting them to something they feel is really important to them?

Social entrepreneurship:
•    How do social entrepreneurs manage both financial and social organisational goals? How is this influenced by their backgrounds, their psychology, their colleagues, macro factors, and a mixture of these factors? 

•    What leads to incivility and how can we best reduce it?
•    What are the individual level attributes involved in how we perceive, interpret, and become influenced (or not) by incivility?

If you are interested in answering any of these questions, or similar questions, I would be delighted to hear from you. I also thoroughly welcome applications from national and international prospective PhD students, interested in applying either quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies. I am happy to work with students on developing a sound PhD proposal if they are able to demonstrate strong commitment to achieving a PhD, and an excellent CV.  


  • PhD Business Management and Economics (2017) (University of Leeds)
  • MSc Organizational Psychology (University of Leeds)
  • B.A Experimental Psychology (University of Oxford)

Student education


I currently support undergraduate, postgraduate, and postgraduate research (PhD) students with their research projects. These students are on the Management, Organizational Psychology, Business Psychology, Executive MBA, and PhD Business Management programmes. I am currently supervising the following postgraduate research students:

Olivia Solomon – studying job crafting in call centres 
Emma Findlay – studying motivation & productivity in teams
Annalise Galea – studying leadership in schools 



To date, I’ve led five different MSc level modules at the University of Leeds, including teaching topics relating to organisational behaviour. I currently teach the following:
•    Resilience, and socio-technical systems thinking
•    Managing employees’ performance at work and their careers
•    Research methods (quantitative and qualitative). 

Research groups and institutes

  • Socio-Technical Centre
  • Workplace Behaviour Research Centre

Current postgraduate researchers