Professor of Organisational Behaviour
If Professor Helena Cooper-Thomas asks you how your job is going it’s down to professional as well as personal interest. She is fascinated by people’s experience of work.
Her research covers personal organisation fit, organisational engagement, stress and bullying, upward influence, but in particular, she’s interested in understanding how new employees adjust.
It was while completing her Master of Arts in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada she developed this focus. Moving to a new country to study she assumed there would be some differences but was surprised by the extent of divergence between her expectations of an English-speaking, Commonwealth country and the traditional, rural province she settled in.
When the UK-native returned to London to complete a PhD at Goldsmiths College, University of London, she investigated the experience of new staff joining a professional services firm and the British Army.
Her advice to people joining organisations is to invest time in talking to those you work with, ensuring you chat to a range of people, as establishing good relationships with your colleagues helps you to understand the organisation. It’s advice she put into practice when she joined AUT’s Business School in early 2017.
Professor Cooper-Thomas has worked as a consultant in the United Kingdom – a job that took her around the world with energy company Shell, before re-joining academia at the University of Auckland in 2003.
She has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed international publications in journals including Journal of Organizational Behavior, Academy of Management Journal, and the Journal of Vocational Behavior. She has also contributed to a number of scholarly books, either as author, co-author or co-editor.
Professor Cooper-Thomas is Associate Editor on the Journal of Managerial Psychology, on the Consulting Editorial Board of the Journal of Business and Psychology, and a Senior Reviewer for the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
Success for her is having made a useful impact on New Zealand society through the research work she does, particularly when it involves working alongside other researchers and postgraduate students.