Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Exploring the Interaction of Social Identity Processes and Gender on Perceptions of Organisational Leadership Potential

Tresh, Fatima Abdulraouf (2020) Exploring the Interaction of Social Identity Processes and Gender on Perceptions of Organisational Leadership Potential. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:81075)

Language: English
Download this file
[thumbnail of 219Full_Thesis_Fatima_Tresh.pdf]


A growing interest in the social psychology of identifying leadership potential has followed a significant body of work to identify the best predictors of it. This thesis builds on research which examined contexts in which leadership potential is preferred over objective leadership performance, with a focus on disadvantageous outcomes for women. In this thesis I take a step backwards to examine not when leadership potential is preferred but how it is perceived. With respect to talent management in practice, organisations face two major issues: low success rates for high-potential individuals fulfilling their leadership potential and low representation of women in talent pipelines and leadership positions. I treat these problems as two sides of the same coin; organisations fall short of effectively identifying leadership potential due to social psychological biases in the methods that they use to identify it. Applying the social identity approach, I test the role of social identity processes in driving subjective perceptions of leadership potential. To better understand the role of unequal outcomes for women, I examine how target and evaluator gender interact with social identity processes to hold women to higher standards of recognising their potential to lead. Across eight studies, I demonstrate that social identity processes drive perceptions of leadership potential. Results show that social identity processes and gender interact in such a way that women's leadership potential is recognised through different processes than men's when evaluators are men. In a further two studies, I examine how social psychological processes may explain how individuals self-rate their own leadership potential. Social stereotypes may provide more explanation for this process than social identity processes. Overall, this thesis contributes to the literature on leadership potential by highlighting the biases that can ultimately lead to the misidentification of leadership potential. The thesis is concluded with implications and recommendations for practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Randsley de Moura, Georgina
Thesis advisor: Leite, Ana
Thesis advisor: Wyatt, Madeleine
Uncontrolled keywords: leadership potential gender social identity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2020 16:10 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 16:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Tresh, Fatima Abdulraouf.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.