Dr Caren Scheepers

Doctor Caren Scheepers
Dr Caren Scheepers

Caren started her career in public service as psychologist at department of labour and then went on to joined Sanlam Insurance Company as a management consultant where she headed up the psychometric assessments division for eight years.

She then gained international exposure through being appointed as a leadership consultant at Gemini Consulting for four years and over the last 10 years has managed her own consulting firm called Irodo Consulting (http://www.irodo.com/). Her firm specialises in team interventions, executive coaching, psychometric assessments and organisational development and restructuring projects.


Full-time faculty and lecturer

Published Research

Journal articles

Scheepers, C., Botha, M., & Biggs, A. (in press.) Legislative, regulatory and corporate governance influencers of a hostile acquisition transaction. South African Journal of Business Management.

Sutherland, M., & Scheepers, C. (in press). The process of executives unlearning their attachments in order to facilitate change. South African Journal of Labour Relations.

George, R., Chiba, M., & Scheepers, C. (2017).  An investigation into the effect of leadership style on stress-related-presenteeism in South African knowledge workers. South African Journal of Human Resources Management, 15, 1-13..


Orientation: Leadership styles influence knowledge workers’ job-stress-related presenteeism (JSRP) and, ultimately, organisational performance. Knowledge workers generally work under strict deadlines in fast-paced, stressful environments, and require organisational support.

Research purpose: The objective of this study was to examine empirically the effect of three leadership styles, namely transformational, transactional and laissez-faire, on job-relatedstress presenteeism in knowledge workers across a number of industries in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: Absenteeism has been the subject of much investigation but more research is required into the antecedents and consequences of presenteeism, the phenomenon of employees being physically present at work, but not fully functional and therefore unproductive. Illness as an antecedent to presenteeism has been studied, but limited attention has been given to presenteeism caused by stress. There are very few studies that investigate leadership styles as antecedents for JSRP and this study therefore sets out to provide quantitative evidence of this relationship.

Research design, approach and method: The researchers used a cross-sectional quantitative approach within the positivism research philosophy. Two questionnaires were administered: the multifactor leadership questionnaire form 6S and the job-related-stress presenteeism questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and Pearson’s product-moment correlation were used to answer the research questions. The participants (N = 242) were knowledge workers, representing 12 widely categorised industries. The researchers analysed job role descriptions to ensure the respondents were all knowledge workers.

Main findings: Transformational leadership has a higher negative correlation with JSRP than does transactional leadership, whereas laissez-faire leadership has no significant relationship with job stress or JSRP.

Practical/managerial implications: The research provides a compelling case for investment into transformational and transactional leadership development by showing the preventative effect that transformational leadership and, to a lesser degree, transactional leadership, has on stress-associated presenteeism.

Contribution/value-add: Presenteeism lowers organisational performance even more than absenteeism does, and exists at huge cost to employees’ quality of work-life. This empirical study, the first to use valid, reliable questionnaires to investigate the relationship between transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership on the one hand, and JSRP on the other, suggests that transformational leadership development should be prioritised.

Scheepers, C., & Reimers, C. (2016). Exploring the role of non-financial risk management in strategy processes of large retail banks. South African Journal of Business Management, 47(3), 1-12.

The consideration of risk in the banking industry generally involves investigation into credit and financial risks. However, the occurrence of high-profile, non-financial risk events (such as system downtime and fraud) have resulted in negative financial and reputational implications for banks globally. These events have provided an opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the consideration of non-financial risk. Therefore, the objective of this research was to understand the incorporation of non-financial risk management into the strategy process at retail banks, including the related benefits and challenges and the initiatives that have (and require to be) undertaken. To this end, a qualitative research approach was conducted, using an exploratory design. Twelve banking subject matter experts were interviewed to explore their unique insights and experiences into the research problem. The research identified several challenges related to the consideration of operational and business risk. Key findings emerged including: the need for increased awareness of the concepts, the need to balance risk management and business development, and the dangers of over-confidence in existing internal processes.

Van Eeden, A., Sutherland, M., & Scheepers, C. (2016). An exploration of the perceived relationship between the level of power of stakeholder groups and their resistance to organisational change. South African Journal of Labour Relations, 40(2), 99-117.

The success of organisational change processes can be significantly enhanced by effectively addressing resistance to change among a range of stakeholders as well as the impact of their resistance. There is, however, limited research on the relationship between stakeholders’ level of power and their propensity to resist change in a certain manner. This study therefore explored the interrelationships between stakeholders’ perceived level of power and their type of resistance, via face-to-face, in-depth interviews with fifteen professional change agents from three sample groups comprising change consultants, internal human resource managers and internal senior managers, all of whom had led change interventions. The findings revealed surprising trends in that certain stakeholder groups showed resistance more actively and overtly than others in direct proportion to their levels of power. These results culminated in a conceptual framework on stakeholders, power and resistance. This article highlights important implications for managers and change practitioners.

Scheepers, C. B., & Elstob, S. L. (2016). Beneficiary contact moderates relationship between authentic leadership and engagement. South African Journal of Human Resources Management, 14(1), a758. doi: dx.doi. org/10.4102/sajhrm. v14i1.758

Orientation: Beneficiary contact moderates the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement.

Research purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the moderating effect of the breadth, depth and frequency of employee interaction with the beneficiaries of their work on the positive impact of authentic leadership on work engagement.

Motivation for the study: Investigating the boundary conditions of the relationship between leaders and followers is vital to enhance the positive effect of leadership. Authentic leadership has not previously been examined with respect to beneficiary contact as a specific situational factor. The researchers therefore set out to ascertain whether beneficiary contact has a strengthening or weakening effect on the impact of authentic leadership on work engagement.

Research design, approach and method: The researchers administered the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ), the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9) and Grant’s scale on Beneficiary Contact.

Main findings: The findings showed that beneficiary contact had a weakening effect on the positive relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement.

Practical/managerial implications: Ideally, organisations create environments conducive to work engagement in which leadership plays an important role. This study found that one factor in the work environment, namely beneficiary contact, might have an adverse effect on the positive relationship that authentic leadership has on work engagement. Leaders should therefore take organisational contextual realities into account, such as regular, intense interaction of employees with the beneficiaries of their work. This situation could create strain for individual employees, requiring additional organisational support.

Contribution/value-add: Organisations need to recognise the impact of beneficiary contact on the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement. The researchers propose further studies on the influence of contextual variables on the relationship between leaders and followers.

Rautenbach, R., Sutherland, M., & Scheepers, C. B. (2015). The process by which executives unlearn their attachments in order to facilitate change. South African Journal of Labour Relations, 39(2),145-164.

Unlearning an attachment has become a critical change competence for executives. Although attachment behaviour in the workplace is ubiquitous, there is a scarcity of empirical research on the processes executives follow in order to release their dysfunctional attachments to systems, routines, ideas, divisions and certain members of staff. By unlearning attachments, executives can embrace new concepts, methods and processes and thereby enable their organisations to be more competitive. This qualitative research investigated executives’ experiences of unlearning an attachment, through the pre-unlearning, unlearning and post-unlearning phases. A de jure model was formulated from concepts that emerged during the literature review and this model was the basis of in-depth interviews with 10 change experts and 10 executives who had unlearned attachments. The executives and change experts shared real-life experiences during each of the unlearning phases. The findings informed a de facto model of the experiences of executives unlearning their attachments. This process model makes a theoretical contribution by depicting the major types of attachments, influences on, processes of, actions required by and outcome of the executives’ unlearning. The model should contribute to change practitioners’ facilitation of executives’ unlearning processes and executives’ insights into their own attachments.

Scheepers, C. B., & Shuping, J. G. (2011). The effect of human resource practices on psychological contracts at an iron ore mining company in South Africa: Original research. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 9(1), 139-157. 

Orientation: Human resource practices influence the psychological contract between employee and employer and, ultimately, organisational performance.

Research purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the effect of human resource practices on the types of psychological contracts in an iron ore mining company in South Africa empirically.

Motivation for the study: Although there have been a number of conceptual studies on the effect of human resource practices on psychological contracts, there has been no effort to synthesise the links between these contracts and various human resource practices systematically. This study endeavoured to provide quantitative evidence to verify or refute conceptual studies on this relationship. Its findings could inform human resource strategies and, ultimately, the prioritisation of human resource practices to improve the cost-effective allocation of resources.

Research design, approach and method: The researchers administered two questionnaires. These were Rousseau’s Psychological Contract Inventory (2000) and the Human Resource Practices Scale of Geringer, Colette and Milliman (2002). The researchers conducted the study with 936 knowledge workers at an iron ore mining company in South Africa. They achieved a 32% response rate.

Main findings: The findings showed that most participants have relational contracts with the organisation. Another 22% have balanced contracts, 8% have transitional contracts whilst only 1% have transactional contracts. The study suggests that there are relationships between these psychological contracts and specific human resource practices. The study found that training and development was the most important human resource practice for developing relational and balanced contracts. Employees thought that they contributed more than their employer did to the relationship. The researchers developed a model to illustrate the influence of the various human resource practices on psychological contracts.

Practical/managerial implications: The influence of human resource practices on relational contracts could assist organisations to invest in human resource practices. During recessions, organisations tend to reduce expenditure on human resource practices, especially training and development. The findings of this study, about the relationship between training and development and relational contracts, highlight the negative effect that this trend could have on psychological contracts, individual and organisational behaviour and, ultimately, organisational performance.

Contribution/value-add: Based on this empirical study, the researchers proposed a conceptual model to illustrate the relationship between different psychological contracts and specific human resource practices, like training and development, which had the strongest relationships with relational contracts.


Chengadu, S., & Scheepers, C. (2017). Women leadership in emerging markets: Featuring 46 women leaders. Oxford: Routledge.

Scheepers, C. (2013). The coaching leaders’ programme: A facilitation and supervision guide. Johannesburg: Knowres Publishing.

Scheepers, C. B. (2012). Coaching leaders: 7 P tools to propel change. Randburg: Knowres Publishing.

Book chapters

Scheepers, C. (2014). Women in leadership. In Winning with people: Insight for leaders and organisations. Johannesburg: ESKOM.

Case studies

Scheepers, C. & Oosthuizen, M. (in press). Strategic foresight for organizational agility: Nedbank area collaboration. Emerald Emerging Markets Case Collection.


Scheepers, C., & Oosthuizen, M. (in press.) Area collaboration at Nedbank: Cultivating culture through contextual leadership. Emerald Emerging Market Case collection.


Meyer, E., & Scheepers, C. (2017). Contextual leadership of a multi-partner approach to healthcare innovation. Emerald Emerging Market Case Studies.

Goh, J., Saville, A., & Scheepers, C.  (2016). Preserving the delicate balance to manage a thriving business in South Africa: the adventure of OneLogix. Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies.

Scheepers, C., & Kane, E. (2016). Nedbank: Coaching capabilities for growth strategy execution (Case no. 9B16C003). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Scheepers, C., & Mathu, K. (2016). Leading change towards sustainable green coal mining (Case no. EEMCS-01-2016-0007). Emerald Emerging Markets Case Collection.

Scheepers, C., & Mathu, K. (2016). Sibanye: Changing mindsets in mining through contextual leadership (Case no. 9B16C026). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Scheepers, C., & Sita, D. (2016). Allergan South Africa's merger: contextual leadership sustaining culture (Case no. 9B16C044). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Scheepers, C. (2015). Momentum and Metropolitan's merger: Authentic transformational leadership. (Case Study No. 9B15C004). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Scheepers, C., Jaffit, M., & Maphalala, J. (2015). Technology driven transformation at Comair Limited. (Case Study No. 9B15C003). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Scheepers, C., Maphalala, J., & Van der Westhuizen, C. (2014). Nedbank: Transformational leadership in sustainable turnaround. (Case Study No. 9B14C027). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Scheepers, C., & Marais, S. (2012). Construction the Medupi power station. (Case Study No. 9B12C015). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Conference papers

Scheepers, C., & Meyer, E. (2017, March). Leveraging complexity leadership to improve the health and wellbeing of the poor and marginalised. Paper presented at the Alfred Luthuli Conference on Responsible Leadership, GIBS, Johannesburg.

Scheepers, C. (2012). Africa leads. Paper presented the Medupi Responsible Leadership Conference, Lephalale.

Scheepers, C. (2011). Coaching and mentoring. Paper presented at the Knowledge Resources Conference, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Scheepers, C. (2009). African animal analogies for leadership coaching. Paper presented at the Center for Creative Leadership Conference, Brussels.

Consulting Involvement
  • Caren manages a psychometric assessment business and is involved in organisational development with executive coaching.
  • ​​
Significant Achievements
  • Nomination for case competition of case study: Constructing the Medupi Power Station for European Foundation of Management Competition by Ivey Richards School of Business. Presented this case study on behalf of Harvard on Leadership Development Programme for Dept Health
  • Completed Comrades, Two Oceans, Argus, 94.7 and Kilimanjaro and Certificates in Wine Tasting
Contact Details

Email : scheepersc@gibs.co.za

Twitter: @CareCoach

ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4093-9763

  • BSocSci (cum laude) (UOFS)
  • BA (Hons) (cum laude) (UOFS)
  • MA (Counseling Psychology) (UOFS)
  • PhD (UOFS)​​
  • Various certificates in executive coaching, organisational development and advanced clinical hypnosis 
Fields of Interest
  • Organisational development and transformation
  • Leadership and team effectiveness
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Personal master;
  • Change management
  • Diversity management
  • People management
  • Coaching skill
Professional Memberships
  • Psychological Association of South Africa (PSYSSA)
  • Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
  • Hypnosis Society of South Africa
  • Coaching and Mentoring Association of South Africa (COMENSA​)
  • Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE)
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