Steven Karau | Faculty | Management | College of Business | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Steven Karau

Gregory A. Lee Professor of Management

Steven Karau

Rehn Hall, 211A
Office: 618| 453-7890
Dept: 618| 453-3307
Fax: 618| 453-7835

Steve Karau teaches courses in organizational behavior and human resources. He conducts research on a range of organizational behavior issues, with a special focus on motivation within groups, team performance, ethical issues in management, gender differences in leadership, and personality. He has published more than 35 articles in a variety of top management and psychology journals, including the Journal of Business Research, the Journal of Business Ethics, Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and his articles are frequently cited by other scholars. He is probably best known for his theoretical contributions as co-developer of the Collective Effort Model of individual motivation on group tasks (with Kip Williams of Purdue University) and Role Congruity Theory of prejudice toward female leaders (with Alice Eagly of Northwestern University). 

In 2006, Professor Karau’s research on social loafing was featured in an episode of the primetime ABC News program 20/20. For 20 years, Karau has been studying "social loafing," which is a tendency for people to reduce their efforts when working in a group compared to when they work individually. For the 20/20 segment, Karau conducted several brief replications of classic experiments on social loafing while camera crews filmed the action.

Dr. Karau received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Purdue University. Before coming to SIU, Karau previously taught at the University of Toledo, Clemson University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Karau says he chose SIU for its blend of high quality research resources, diligent students, and friendly, relaxed environment.


  • Motivation losses and gains in groups
  • Team performance
  • Ethical issues in management
  • Gender differences in leadership


Jia, H. H., Jia, R., & Karau, S. J. (2013). Cyberloafing and personality: The impact of the Big Five traits and workplace situational factors. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 20, 358-365.

Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (2012). Social facilitation and social loafing: Revisiting Triplett’s competition studies. In J. R. Smith & S. A. Haslam (Eds.), Social psychology: Revisiting the classic studies (pp. 11-26). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Smrt, D. L., & Karau, S. J. (2011). Protestant work ethic moderates social loafing. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15, 267-274.

Komarraju, M., Karau, S. J., Schmeck, R. R., & Avdic, A. (2011). The Big Five personality traits, learning styles, and academic achievement. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 472-477.

Karau, S. J., & Elsaid, A. M. M. K. (2009). Individual differences in beliefs about groups. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 13, 1-13.

Wood, M. S., & Karau, S. J. (2009). Preserving employee dignity during the termination interview: An empirical examination. Journal of Business Ethics, 86, 519-534.

Komarraju, M., Karau, S. J., & Schmeck, R. R. (2009). Role of the Big Five personality traits in predicting college students’ academic motivation and achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 19, 47-52.


2007 Scholar of the Year, College of Business.

2002, 2008, 2009, 2010 Outstanding Research Honor Roll, College of Business.

2006 Research Excellence Award, College of Business

2006 Excellence Through Commitment Undergraduate Teaching Enhancement Award, SIUC.

2005 Outstanding Service Honor Roll, College of Business.