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Denise M. Rosseau - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Denise M. Rosseau

University Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Denise Rousseau's research focuses upon the impact workers have on the employment relationship and the firms that employ them.


Denise Rousseau's research focuses upon the impact workers have on the employment relationship and the firms that employ them. She examines such issues as remote work, performance management, worker well-being and career development, organizational effectiveness, the management of change, firm ownership and governance and industrial relations. Recognized for developing the theory of the psychological contract, Rousseau’s work addresses the powerful reach that the individual worker's understanding of the employment relationship has on work groups, firms and society. She is chair of the Health Care Policy and Management program and director of the Project on Evidence-Based Organizational Practices.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Psychological Contract

Organizational Effectiveness

Performance Management

Future of Work

Employment Relations

Management of Change

Industrial Relations

Media Appearances (5)

What the FTC’s Noncompete Agreement Ban Could Mean for You

Bloomberg  online


Banning noncompete agreements means that employers would be forced to find positive ways to retain workers rather than punitive ones, said Denise Rousseau, a professor of organizational behavior and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. These can include boosting pay and investing in workers’ skill development.

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A Three-Week Vacation in 2023? Yes, You Can

The Wall Street Journal  online


Getting your co-workers on board is key to winning approval for an extended break, says Denise Rousseau, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies how workers can impact their organizations. Managers aren’t just worried about your projects stalling while you’re gone. They are also worried that your teammates will view your time off as unfair.

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Work in review 2022: The five biggest lessons of the year

BBC  online


“If people are told different things at different times, without influence over that decision, it’s disturbing,” says Denise Rousseau, professor of organisational behaviour and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, US. “The yo-yoing back and forth breeds uncertainty, and people don’t like that there are just so many unknowns.”

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In search of an attainable New Year’s resolution

Vox  online


New Year’s resolutions tend to fall under the umbrella of behavioral goals, where someone commits to doing something different in their life, says Denise Rousseau, the Heinz University professor of organizational behavior and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Jumping into a massive life change isn’t sustainable for most people, and far-reaching milestones can feel overwhelming and difficult.

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Remote work isn’t the problem. Work is.

Vox  online


“More directly causal of people’s use of time and available hours in the day is the workload, and not the being remote,” Denise Rousseau, a professor of organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon University, told Recode.

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Psychological Contracts, Context and Evidence-based Management | A Conversation with Dr. Rousseau Evidence Synthesis Service Interview - Denise Rousseau The quality of what we know: Denise Rousseau on evidence-based management Evidence Based Management - Denise Rousseau



Industry Expertise (3)

Employment Services

Staffing and Recruiting

Human Resources

Accomplishments (5)

Academy of Social Sciences (UK - National Academy of Academics, Learned Societies and Practitioners in the Social Sciences - Elected, Academician (professional)


Fellows of the Academy of Management - Elected, Dean (professional)


Tallinn University of Technology - Honorary Doctorate (professional)


Israeli Organizational Behavior Conference - Lifetime Achievement Award (professional)


AOM Practice Theme Committee - Practice Impact Award (professional)


Education (3)

University of California at Berkeley: M.A., Psychology 1975

University of California at Berkeley: B.A., Psychology and Anthroplogy 1973

University of California at Berkeley: Ph.D., Psychology and Anthroplogy 1977

Affiliations (8)

  • Academy of Management
  • American Psychological Association
  • Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Society for Organizational Behavior
  • European Group and Organizational Studies
  • Society of Human Resources Management
  • European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology
  • British Academy of Management

Articles (5)

When are clients helpful? Capitalising on client involvement in professional service delivery


2023 Professional service firms apply specialist knowledge to create customised solutions to client problems. In their work, teams of professionals undertake projects in which clients may be closely involved in co-creating solutions. However, we know little about the conditions under which client involvement contributes to better performance. We examine the direct and conditional contribution client involvement can make to project success and propose team bonding capital as a moderator. We conduct multi-level analysis of data from 58 project managers and 171 consultants nested in project teams. We find a positive impact of client involvement on both team performance and team member idea creativity. Team bonding capital moderates the relationships client involvement has with both team performance and individual member idea creativity, where the impact of client involvement is greater when team bonding capital is high. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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Uncovering missing voices: Invisible aspects of idiosyncratic deals (i-deals)

Group & Organization Management

2023 To provide context for this special issue’s eight articles, we review the lenses adopted in i-deals research and its findings and then address under-studied aspects of i-deals. Part of the societal trend toward customization of employment arrangements, the i-deals workers negotiate for themselves are the subject of a growing body of research. We observe that i-deals research investigates both antecedents and consequences of i-deals at levels from the individual and dyad to team and organization. Numerous theories have been applied to explain i-deal phenomena beginning with social exchange theory in its initial research to social comparison and diverse theories regarding human needs and values. Employers are known to use i-deals to attract, motivate, and retain workers, while employees pursue i-deals to better their work lives and career opportunities.

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Managerial Pay Raise and Promotion Decisions for Workers with I-deals

Group & Organization Management

2023 Managers use idiosyncratic deals (i-deals) to motivate and retain employees. Yet we know little about the subsequent effects i-deals have on decisions about pay raises and promotions. Two studies investigate how managers make pay raise and promotion decisions for workers with i-deals. Using a policy-capturing design, managers (N = 116) made pay raise and promotion allocations for workers presented as good performers, based on information provided regarding whether and what type of i-deal workers had and the extent to which they helped peers. Developmental i-deal recipients tend to be recommended for both pay raises and promotions, while such recommendations are less likely for employees with flextime i-deals (for promotions) or reduced workload i-deals (for promotions and pay raises). In addition, workers with i-deals who help their peers are viewed more favorably in both decisions.

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Does what happens abroad stay abroad? Displaced aggression and emotional regulation in expatriate psychological contracts

Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

2022 The effects of psychological contract violation are the subject of considerable research. Yet, their effects in work arrangements with more than two parties are largely unknown. Multi‐party work arrangements differ from traditional ones because individuals may be vulnerable to psychological contract breach and violation by more than one party, potentially directing negative emotional responses not only towards the responsible party but also displacing it to the other (innocent) party. Primary data from a two‐wave survey of 221 current expatriates is used to test the effects of displaced aggression and emotion regulation in multi‐party psychological contracts. We find that the negative emotions (violation experiences) associated with breach predict reduced commitment both to the perpetrating organization and the innocent party.

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Reducing Insider Risk Through Positive Deterrence

Counter-Insider Threat Research and Practice

2022 Most organizations approach insider risk management with a command-and-control focus, putting pressure on employees to act in the interests of the organization. Positive deterrence reduces insider risk by complementing the command-and-control approach with better alignment of the mutual interests of the individual and the organization. Programs that embrace positive deterrence can unlock a greater potential to minimize insider risk and mitigate the negative perceptions employees often have of the command-and-control approach. In this article, we describe why and how insider risk management programs (IRMPs) can augment their command-and-control strategies with positive deterrence. We provide actionable guidance on how to combine positive deterrence with command-and-control, resulting in a balanced way to reduce insider risk.

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