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Professor Alex Haslam
  – Professor of Psychology and ARC Laureate Fellow

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Professor Alex Haslam
Alex has been with the School since 2012 following positions at the Australian National University and the University of Exeter. His research focuses on the study of group and identity processes in organisational, social, and clinical contexts. Together with colleagues around the world, Alex has written and edited 11 books and published over 200 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. He has won several international teaching awards as well as the European Association of Social Psychology's Lewin Medal for excellence in social psychological research in 2005 and the British Psychology Society's Presidents' Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Science in 2016. Alex's work on the Glass Cliff was identified by the New York Times as one of the ‘Best 100 Ideas’ of 2008, and his co-authored book The New Psychology of Leadership won the International Leadership Association’s Outstanding Leadership Book Award in 2012. Alex is a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (and co-director of its Social Interactions, Identity and Well-being Program) and Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. He is on the editorial board of 10 international journals including Scientific American Mind for which he writes regularly.
+61 7 3346 7345
+61 7 3365 4466
Postal Address:
School of Psychology
McElwain Building
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072

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Professor Alex Haslam

MA (St And) PhD (Macq)


The following are some of the main research projects on which I have been working with colleagues and students in recent years. This work is currently funded by the the Australian Research Council and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research 

The BBC Prison Study

In 2001 I collaborated with Steve Reicher on the BBC Prison Study — a major field experiment that examined behaviour 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. Our recent work has also demonstrated that the same analysis can explain the behaviour of participants in Milgram's Obedience to Authority experiments.

The new psychology of leadership

Since the 1990s I have collaborated with a number of social identity researchers, notably Steve Reicher, Michael Platow, John Turner, and Nik Steffens developing 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, advance, represent, and embed a social identity that is shared with those they seek to motivate and inspire. In 2012 we received the International Leadership Association's Outstanding Leadership Book Award for The New Psychology of Leadership.

The glass cliff

Since 2003 I have worked with Michelle Ryan on the leadership experiences of women and together we coined the term "glass cliff" to describe some of our key findings — specifically, evidence that women are more likely than men to be appointed to leadership roles in organisations that are performing poorly. This was short-listed for the Times Higher Education "Research Project of the Year" in 2005.

The social cure

My more recent work has contributed to the development of the Social Identity Approach to health and well-being, also referred to as The Social Cure (the title of our 2012 edited book). This work involves collaborations with Jolanda Jetten, Catherine Haslam, Tegan Cruwys and Katharine Greenaway and 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.


Professional Activities:
Previous positions

1990–1991  Lecturer, Department of Behavioural Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney

1991–2001  Research Officer, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, School of Psychology, The Australian National University

2001–2012  Professor, School of Psychology, University of Exeter

Membership of professional associations

European Association of Social Psychology (Affiliate from 1992-2001; Full from 2001; Treasurer 2008-2011; Journals Officer (with responsibility for EJSP, ERSP, SPPS) 2011-present)

Society of Personality and Social Psychology (from 1994)

Society of Australasian Social Psychologists (1994-2002; 2011-present)

Society of Experimental Social Psychology (from 2000, Fellow from 2009)

Association of Psychological Science (from 2005, Fellow from 2010)

Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (from 2009)

Life member, British Psychological Society (from 2010) Mem No: 269103

Editorial Board Membership/ Consultant Editorship

British Journal of Social Psychology (1996-1998; 2001-2004)

Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice (1998-2003)

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2002-2008)

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (2005-present)

British Journal of Management (2005-present)

European Journal of Social Psychology (2006-present)

Equal Opportunities International (2006-present)

Scientific American Mind (2006-present)

Applied Psychology: An International Review (2006-present)

Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology (2006-present)  

Journal of Managerial Psychology (2008-present)

Political Psychology (2008-present)

Professional responsibilities

Associate Editor British Journal of Social Psychology (1999-2001)

Chief Editor European Journal of Social Psychology (2002-2005)

President, British Science Association (Psychology Section) (2008-2009)


Picture of 'Professor Alex Haslam'
Professor Alex Haslam
Research Activities:

(1) Psychology in organizations — with an emphasis on the contribution of groups and group membership to leadership, motivation, creativity, communication, decision-making, and productivity.

(2) The social psychology of stereotyping, prejudice, and tyranny — exploring the role of social identity and self-categorization in shaping the dynamics of intergroup relations and conflict.

(3) Social processes in health and well-being — looking at the contribution of group life to stress, depression, and resistance in vulnerable populations.

(4) Research methodology — focusing on issues of research design, ethics, and uncertainty management.

Representative Publications:


Authored books

Oakes, P. J., Haslam, S. A., & Turner, J. C. (1994). Stereotyping and social reality. Oxford: Blackwell.

Haslam, S. A., & McGarty, C. (1998). Doing psychology: An introduction to research methodology and statistics. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Haslam, S. A. (2001; 2nd ed. 2004). Psychology in organizations: The social identity approach. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D. & Platow, M. J. (2011). The new psychology of leadership: Identity, influence and power. New York and Hove: Psychology Press. 

Haslam, S. A., & McGarty, C. (2014). Research methods and statistics in psychology (2nd Ed.) London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Edited books

Spears, R., Oakes, P. J., Ellemers, N., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.) (1997). The social psychology of stereotyping and group life. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

McGarty, C., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.) (1997). The message of social psychology: Perspectives on mind in society. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Haslam, S. A., van Knippenberg, D., Platow, M., & Ellemers, N. (Eds.) (2003). Social identity at work: Developing theory for organizational practice. New York and Hove: Psychology Press.

Jetten, J., Haslam, C., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.) (2012). The social cure: Identity, health and well-being. New York and Hove: Psychology Press.

Smith, J. R., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.) (2012). Social psychology: Revisiting the classic studies. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Picture of 'Professor Alex Haslam'
Professor Alex Haslam
leadership, group processes, stress, creativity, tyranny, space
Social psychology
Course Coordinator:
  • Semester 2, 2017
    PSYC4181 - Applied Social Psychology

Note: Coordinator roles prior to 2009 and tutor roles prior to 2006 are not included.

Research Area:
Social Psychology

My research has three main foci:

Psychology in organizations — with an emphasis on the contribution of social identity to leadership, motivation, communication, decision-making, negotiation, and productivity.

The social psychology of stereotyping, prejudice, and tyranny — exploringthe role of group processes in the dynamics of intergroup relations and conflict.  My more recent work has focused on the importance of social identification for what Milgram termed 'obedience to authority'. 

Social processes in health and well-being — looking at the contribution of group life to stress, coping and well-being, especially in vulnerable populations.

Interested students should email me (details above) regarding their interests in these areas.

You can see more information about my own research on the School of Psychology's 'Featured Researcher' page, on the UQ News webpage, or by looking at my Google Scholar page, or following me on Twitter @alexanderhaslam

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