Niro Sivanathan

Professor of Organisational Behaviour; Chair, PhD Programme

BA MSc (Queen's) PhD (Northwestern)

Niro Sivanathan is a Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School. His research draws on social psychological and evolutionary theories to examine how our judgments, decisions and behaviours are shaped by the psychological experience of status and power within social hierarchies. In addition he also explores how our motivation to maintain the self-integrity influences decision-making.

His research has been presented at leading international conferences and published in the top international journals in the fields of Science, Management and Psychology, such as: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Psychological Science, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. This research has also been translated to practitioner audiences at the Harvard Business Review and a TED Talk. His research has also garnered international press coverage at CNN, Financial Times, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Sunday Times and Forbes.

He teaches Negotiations, Influence, and Decision-making to a wide audience and is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including being selected as one of the World's top 40 Best B-School Professors under 40 by Poets and Quants in 2016, and at LBS, the Excellence in Teaching Award, and voted the Best MBA teacher by the graduating class. He has provided advisory and executive education services for organizations such as Credit Suisse, Kearney, YPO, Merck, Central Bank of Turkey, Salesforce and LVHM.

Professor Sivanathan earned his PhD in Management & Organisations from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He also holds an MSc in Management and a BA in Psychology (Honours) from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.


  • Negotiations and Bargaining

  • Entrepreneurial Negotiations (EN)
  • Crisis Leadership & Human Behaviour (CLHB)


  • Decision-Making for Senior Leaders (DMSL)

  • Influence and Persuasion

  • Negotiations and Bargaining

  • Private Equity Negotiations (PEN)


  • Leadership and Organisations


  • Fundamentals of Business Research (Philosophy of Science)

Research Awards

  • Best Teacher Award for EMBA Dubai, London Business School 2023
  • Best Teacher Award for Sloan (Runner-up), London Business School 2022
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, London Business School 2016
  • Best Teacher Award for MBA, London Business School 2014
  • Best Teacher Award for MiM (Runner-up), London Business School 2010
  • Excellence in Teaching “4.5 Club”, Johnson School of Management 2008
  • Doctoral Teaching Award, Kellogg School of Management 2007
  • Best Paper Proceedings, Academy of Management Meetings 2007
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Social Science Humanities Research 2004-2007
  • Best Paper Finalist & Proceedings, Academy of Management Meetings 2006
  • Graduate Travel Scholarship, Australian Research Council & Economic Decision Network 2006
  • Best Paper Proceedings, Academy of Management Meetings 2005
  • Visiting Graduate Scholar Grant, International Foundation for Experimental Economics 2004
  • Excellence in Ethics Dissertation Proposal Competition Award, University of Notre Dame Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide
  • International Positive Psychology Fellow Travel Grant, Gallup Organization 2003
  • Queen’s School of Business Scholarship, Queen’s University 2002
  • R. Samuel McLaughlin Fellowship, Queen’s University 2001-2002
  • Geoffrey Wood Award, Queen’s University 2001-2002
  • Queen’s Graduate Award, Queen’s University 2001-2002
  • Dean’s Honor List for Graduating Class, Queen’s University 2001
  • Social Hierarchies
  • Social Status & Power
  • Psychology of self in judgment and decision making
  • Negotiations & Influence


Perilous and unaccountable: the positive relationship between dominance and moral hazard behaviors

Brady G L; Kakkar H; Sivanathan N

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2024 Online first


The Impact of Leader Dominance on Employees’ Zero-Sum Mindset and Helping Behavior

H Kakkar; N Sivanathan

Journal of Applied Psychology 2022 Vol 107:10 p 1706-1724


Culture and Patterns of Reciprocity: The Role of Exchange Type, Regulatory Focus, and Emotions

Deng Y; Wang C S; Aime F; Wang L; Sivanathan N; Yun Chung K

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2020 Vol 47:1 p 20-41

Fall from grace: The role of dominance and prestige in the punishment of high-status actors

Kakkar H; Sivanathan N; Gobel M

Academy of Management Journal 2020 Vol 63:2 p 530-553


How drug company ads downplay risk

Sivanathan N; Kakkar H

Scientific American 2019

The impact of dynamic status changes within competitive rank-ordered hierarchies

Kakkar H; Sivanathan N; Pettit N C

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019 Vol 116:46 p 23011-23020


Explaining the global rise of

Sivanathan N; Kakkar H

Scientific American 2017

Stop doubling down on your failing strategy: how to spot (and escape) one before it's too late

Vermeulen F; Sivanathan N

Harvard Business Review 2017 Vol 95:6 p 110-117

The role of social status and testosterone in human conspicuous consumption

Wu Y; Eisenegger C; Sivanathan N; Crockett M J; Clark L

Scientific Reports 2017 Vol 7:1

The unintended consequences of argument dilution in direct-to-consumer drug advertisements

Sivanathan N; Kakkar H

Nature: human behaviour 2017 9th October 2017

When the appeal of a dominant leader is greater than a prestige leader

Kakkar H; Sivanathan N

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017 Vol 114:26 p 6734-6739

Why we prefer dominant leaders in uncertain times

Kakkar H; Sivanathan N

Harvard Business Review Digital Articles 2017


Low-status aversion: The effect of self-threat on willingness to buy and sell

Pan C; Pettit NC; Sivanathan N; Blader SL

Journal of Social Applied Psychology 2014 November Vol 44:11 p 708-716


From glue to gasoline: How competition turns perspective takers unethical

Pierce J R; Kilduff G J; Galinsky A D; Sivanathan N

Psychological Science 2013 Vol 24:10 p 1986-1994

Rising stars and sinking ships: Consequences of status momentum

Pettit N C; Sivanathan N; Gladstone E; Carson Marr J

Psychological Science 2013 Vol 24:8 p 1579-1584

The remarkable robustness of the first-offer effect: Across culture, power, and issues

Gunia B C; Swaab R I; Sivanathan N; Galinsky A D

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2013 Vol 39:12 p 1547-1558


Power and overconfident decision-making

Fast N J; Sivanathan N; Mayer N D; Galinsky A D

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2012 March Vol 117:2 p 249-260

The eyes and ears of status: How status colors perceptual judgement

Pettit N C; Sivanathan N

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2012 Vol 38:5 p 570-582


Retribution and emotional regulation: The effects of time delay in angry

Wang C; Sivanathan N; Narayanan J; Bauer M; Bodenhausen G; Murnighan J

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2011 Vol 116:1 p 46-54

Something to lose and nothing to gain: The role of stress in the interactive effect of power and stability risk taking

Jordan J; Sivanathan N; Galinsky A D

Administrative Science Quarterly 2011 Vol 56:4 p 530-558

The plastic trap: Self-threat drives credit usage and status consumption

Pettit N C; Sivanathan N

Social Psychological and Personality Science 2011 Vol 2:2 p 146-153


A clean self can render harsh moral judgment

Zhong C B; Strejcek B; Sivanathan N

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2010 Vol 46:5 p 859-862

Protecting the self through consumption: Status goods as affirmational commodities

Sivanathan N; Pettit N C

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2010 Vol 46:3 p 564-570


Illusory control: A generative force behind power’s far-reaching effects

Fast N J; Gruenfeld D H; Sivanathan N; Galinsky A D

Psychological Science 2009 Vol 20:4 p 502-508

The good the bad and powerful

Sivanathan N

Business Strategy Review 2009:20 p 36-38

The insider succession trap

Galinsky A D; Gunia B; Sivanathan N

Forbes magazine 2009

Vicarious entrapment: Your sunk costs, my escalation of commitment

Gunia B C; Sivanathan N; Galinsky A D

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2009 Vol 45:6 p 1238-1244


Getting off on the wrong foot: the timing of breach and the restoration of trust

Lount R B; Zhong C; Sivanathan N; Murnighan J K

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2008 Vol 34:12 p 1601-1612

Harnessing power to capture leadership

Galinsky A D; Jordan J; Sivanathan N

In Hoyt C L; Goethals G R; Forsyth D R (eds), Leadership at the crossraods: Psychology and leadership (Vol 1), 2008

Power gained, power lost

Sivanathan N; Pillutla M M; Murnighan J K

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2008 Vol 105:2 p 135-146

The promise and peril of self-affirmation in de-escalating commitment

Sivanathan N; Molden D; Galinsky A; Ku G

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2008 Vol 107:1 p 1-14


Predicting workplace aggression: A meta-analytic approach

Hershcovis S; Turner N; Barling J; Arnold K A; Dupre K; Inness M; Leblanc M; Sivanathan N

Journal of Applied Psychology 2007:92 p 228-238


Transformational leadership, employee safety behaviors and workplace injuries

Sivanathan N; Turne N; Barling J; Stride C B; Axtell C M; Davies S

Academy of Management Best Papers Proceedings 2005


Poor leadership

Kelloway E K; Sivanathan N; Francis L; Barling J

In Barling J, Kelloway E K & Frone M R, eds.,Handbook of Work Stress, Sage Publications, 2004, pp. 89-112.

Transformational leadership and well-being

Sivanathan N; Arnold K; Turner N; Barling J

In Linley A; Joseph S, eds, Positive Psychology in Practice, Wiley, 2004, pp. 241-255


Emotional intelligence, moral reasoning and transformational leadership

Sivanathan N; Fekken G C

Leadership and Organization Development Journal 2002:23 p 198-204

Teaching portfolio

Our teaching offering is updated annually. Faculty and programme material are subject to change.