Professor Alex Haslam

Professor

School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
a.haslam@uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 67345

Overview

Alex is Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology and Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on the study of group and identity processes in organizational, social, and clinical contexts.

Together with colleagues, Alex has written and edited 11 books and published over 200 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. His most recent books are The New Psychology of Leadership: Identity, Influence and Power (with Stephen Reicher & Michael Platow, Psychology Press, 2011), The Social Cure: Identity, Health and Well-being (with Jolanda Jetten and Catherine Haslam, Psychology Press, 2012), and Social Psychology: Revisiting the Classic Studies (2nd Ed. with Joanne Smith, Sage, 2017).

Alex's work with Michelle Ryan on the Glass Cliff was identified by the New York Times as one of the ‘Best 100 Ideas’ of 2008, and in 2013 The New Psychology of Leadership won the International Leadership Association’s Outstanding Leadership Book Award. In 2005 he won the European Association of Social Psychology’s Kurt Lewin Medal for Research Excellence; in 2016 he won the British Psychology Society Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge; and in 2017 he won the International Society for Political Psychology's Sanford Award for Contribution to Political Psychology.

Research Interests

  • Psychology in organisations
    Examining the contribution of social identity to leadership, motivation, communication, decision-making, negotiation, and productivity.
  • The social psychology of stereotyping, prejudice, and tyranny
    Exploring the role of group processes to the dynamics of intergroup relations and conflict.
  • Social processes in health and well-being
    Looking at the contribution of group life to stress and coping in vulnerable populations.
  • Research methodology
    Focusing on issues of research design, ethics, and uncertainty management.

Research Impacts

The following four projects give some idea of the impact of my research:

The new psychology of leadership

Since the 1990s I have collaborated with a number of social identity researchers, notably Steve Reicher, Michael Platow, and John Turner, to develop a social identity analysis of leadership. This work focuses on the role of perceived shared identity as a basis for mutual influence between leaders and followers. It argues that leaders' success hinges on their ability to create, represent, advance and embed a social identity that is shared with those they seek to motivate and inspire. In 2012 the researchers received the University of San Diego – International Leadership Association Outstanding Leadership Book Award for their book The New Psychology of Leadership.

The glass cliff

I have worked with Michelle Ryan on the leadership experiences of women and together they coined the term "glass cliff" to describe some of their key findings — specifically, evidence that women are more likely than men to be appointed to leadership roles in organisations that are performing poorly. This is now a major focus for research and practice the world over and was short-listed for the Times Higher Education "Research Project of the Year" in 2005. In 2017 the term 'the glass cliff' was short-listed for the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year.

The social cure

My more recent work (funded by both the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the Australian Research Council ) has contributed to the development of the Social Identity Approach to health and well-being, also referred to as "The Social Cure"). This work argues that the sense of social identity derived from shared group membership is a basis not only for individuals to have a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, but also for them to receive and benefit from social support. It is also a basis for them to work together to overcome stressors rather than succumb to them.

The BBC Prison Study

In 2001 I collaborated with Steve Reicher (University of St Andrews) on the BBC television programme The Experiment, (which became known as the ""BBC Prison Study"). One of the largest and most intensive field studies in psychology in the last 30 years, this examined the behaviour of a group of individuals within a simulated prison environment and re-examined issues raised by the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). Amongst other things, the study's findings challenged the role account of tyranny associated with the SPE as well as broader ideas surrounding the "banality of evil". The core insight from the study was that tyranny results from the engaged followership of subordinates rather than blind conformity to roles or rules. Recent work has also demonstrated that the same analysis can explain the behaviour of participants in Milgram's Obedience to Authority experiments, and this idea formed the basis for Kathryn Millard's 2017 award-winning documentary Shock Room.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University
  • Master of Arts with Honours (Psychology), University of St Andrews

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision