Leadership through Identity Development Approach (5R)
The New Psychology of Leadership (NPoL, Haslam, Reicher & Platow, 2011) argues that leadership is a process of identity development and management that centres on a leader’s ability to create, advance, represent, and embed a sense of shared identity within a particular group. This claim is supported by a large body of evidence, much of which has been conducted by members of SIGN.
Yet if this is the case, then a critical question for practitioners — and for organizational psychology as a whole — is what strategies leaders should pursue in order to develop and manage group identities. This is the question that the 5R leadership program endeavours to resolve.
Building on previous work informed by the ASPIRe model (Haslam et al., 2003; Peters et al., 2012), 5R takes leaders through a five-stage process, with three workshops at its core. These correspond to the ‘3 Rs’ of leadership identified in NPoL: Reflecting, Representing and Realising. In the first, Reflecting, workshop participants ascertain the identity resources in their group, primarily through a process of social identity mapping. In the second, Representing, workshop they engage in subgroup caucusing to discover the goals and aspirations associated with different identities. In the third, Realising, workshop they identify identity-related goals and embed relevant practices and policies to help achieve them.
Members of SIGN — notably Alex Haslam, Kim Peters and Nik Steffens, and Randal Tame — are currently working on a number of projects in which they are seeking to explore and test various elements of the 5R process. Initial results, recently published in Personnel Psychology, are very encouraging and a range of further tests are ongoing and planned for the future.