There is no leadership if no one follows: Why leadership is necessarily a group process

In this talk, Professor Platow argues that leadership is fundamentally a group process: leaders must be ‘one of us’. He builds an argument around recent social identity theory and self-categorisation theory analyses of leadership...

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7 Jun 2021 | 4:30pm
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Prof Michael Platow
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Description

In this talk, Professor Platow argues that leadership is fundamentally a group process: leaders must be ‘one of us’. He builds an argument around recent social identity theory and self-categorisation theory analyses of leadership. In doing so, he highlights the essential nature of shared psychological group memberships as the key mediating processes through which leadership develops.

Through a review of existing research, he then demonstrates: (1) how leadership is exerted through in-group-based social influence; (2) how the more that more group members capture the attributes of ‘us-in-context’ – the more they are in-group prototypical – the greater will be their leadership potential; and (3) how common attributes associated with leadership (i.e. trust, charisma, fairness) can all be understood as outcomes of shared psychological group membership. Leadership, however, is not simply about ‘being’, it is about ‘doing’ as well.

In this manner, Professor Platow discusses the importance of acting to advance the group (in the form of social identity advancement) and crafting a sense of the group (in the form of social identity entrepreneurship).

About the speaker

Michael Platow is a professor of psychology in the ANU Research School of Psychology. He has published widely on the social-psychology of leadership and social influence; justice, fairness, and trust; intergroup relations, including prejudice and discrimination; and education. He has received over one million dollars in research money from the Australian Research Council to study many of these processes, being awarded separate Discovery Grants on distributive justice, procedural justice, restorative justice, marginalizing racism, and lay views of prejudice.

His edited books include Social Identity at Work: Developing Theory for Organizational Practice and Self and Social Identity in Educational Contexts. The first edition of his co-authored book, The New Psychology of Leadership: Identity, Influence and Power was winner of the University of San Diego Outstanding Leadership Book Award, and has been translated into two other languages. He has delivered invited, keynote plenary addresses to the Asian Association of Social Psychology, the International Congress of Coaching Psychology, and the International Conference on Social Identity and Sport. Overall, Michael Platow's research has been recognized by his election as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia

Professor Platow currently holds leadership positions as an ANU Distinguished Educator and Associate Director (Science Education). He is past-president of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists and the International Society for Justice Research. He is also a former Associate Editor of the international journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.

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