Mrs. Evelyn Lanka

Email: elanka1@sheffield.ac.uk
Qualifications: B.A. Psychology
M.S. Psychology

Biography

I have a B.A. (Hons) and a M.S. in Psychology. I am also a graduate member of the British Psychological Society. I enjoy researching issues around, Leadership, Teamwork, and Followership I am also interested in gender issues and women in leadership, but I also have a wide rang of other research interests which fall broadly within the area of Psychology and Management. I have previous experience teaching Psychology and Management related topics at the University level.

Supervisors

Dr. Anna Topakas, Dr. Malcolm Patterson

Thesis Title

I know that I am a leader: interactions, catalyst, barriers, and control of the leader identity construction process

Scope of Research (aims and objectives)

As calls for the investigation of leader identity grow, so too does the need for understanding not just what is being constructed, but how it is being constructed. This thesis provides a qualitative investigation of the leader identity construction process within the context of an organizational setting. This thesis takes a social constructionist approach to investigate leader identity construction and utilizes leadership identity construction theory (LICT) as proposed by DeRue and Ashford (2010) as a theoretical framework to inform the interpretation of the data. According to LICT, individuals within organizations construct identities as leaders (and followers) in relationship to each other, through a process of reciprocal identity claims and grants.
The thesis has three analytical chapters, the data for which were derived from two studies. Study one employed video methods to capture the real time identity claiming and granting process of student groups and utilized interaction analysis to analyze how these individuals negotiated their leader and follower identities. Study two consisted of 50 semi-structured interviews with individuals from a wide range of organizations in both government, charity, and private sectors, and from a wide range of professions. The interview data was analyzed using thematic analysis.

The first analytical chapter draws from the study one data and provides a micro level analysis of the leader identity construction processes. This chapter makes a significant contribution by taking a behavioral approach to leader identity in order to demonstrate how individuals work to support or block identity construction processes of others, as well as illustrating how gender may impact leader identity claims and grants in student groups. The second analytical chapter draws from the study two data and focuses on factors which can either help or hinder the leader identity construction process. For example, it was found that role models, mentors, feedback, key events, and negative role models play an important role in helping individuals to construct a leader identity, while having one’s leader identity rejected or feeling uncertain about one’s identity as a leader were found to hinder one’s leader identity construction process. The third analytical chapter draws on data from study two and provides insights in to the perceptions of organizational control over the leader identity construction process.

The value of this thesis is that it provides both a micro and macro level analysis of the leader identity construction process by drawing on the behavioral components of the leader identity construction process while also addressing organizational level issues as well. Additionally, by engaging with data across the adult life span from university age students all the way up to individuals at the cusp of retirement, this thesis provides a timely temporal look at leader identity construction. In doing so, this thesis provides a multifaceted perspective to the issue.

Conference Presentations

Lanka, E, (2017), “Becoming a Leader: Catalysts and barriers to leader identity construction” paper presented to Sheffield University Management School PGR conference, Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield UK, September 2017.

Lanka, E., Topakas, A., Patterson, M., (2017) “Constructing Identities: Issues of direction of influence in the leadership identity construction process”, paper presented to the Interdisciplinary Perspective on Leadership Symposium, Mykonos, Greece, May 2017.

Lanka, E., Topakas, A., Patterson, M., (2017) “Constructing Identities: Issues of direction of influence in the leadership identity endorsement process”, paper presented to White Rose Doctoral Training Center Conference, University of York, York, UK, May 2017.

Lanka, E., (2016) “Leadership Identity Construction Through Reciprocal Identity Claims: A Relational Leadership Perspective”, paper presented to White Rose Doctoral Training Center Conference, Newcastle university, Newcastle, UK, October 2016.

Lanka, E., (2016) “Leadership Identity Construction Through Reciprocal Identity Claims: A Relational Leadership Perspective”, paper presented to British Academy of Management, PHD Symposium, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK, August 2016.