Alexander Haslam

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S. Alexander (Alex) Haslam (born 1962) is a professor of psychology and ARC Australian Laureate Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland.[1]

His research focuses on areas of social psychology, organisational psychology and health psychology, exploring issues of stereotyping and prejudice, tyranny and resistance, leadership and power, stress and well-being. This work is informed by, and has contributed to the development of, theory and ideas relating to the social identity approach.[1]


Haslam grew up in Elsenham, Essex and completed his secondary education at Felsted School. He holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree from the University of St Andrews and a PhD from Macquarie University (Sydney). His doctoral work at Macquarie was supervised by John Turner (psychologist) and funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship. This was preceded by a year as a Robert T Jones[2] scholar at Emory University (Atlanta). Prior to his current appointment at the University of Queensland, Haslam worked at the Australian National University (Canberra) (1991–2001) and the University of Exeter (2001–2012).

Haslam is a recipient of the European Association of Social Psychology's Kurt Lewin Medal (2005), the British Psychology Society's Presidents' Award for distinguished contributions to psychological knowledge (2016), the International Society of Political Psychology’s Nevitt Sanford Award for distinguished contribution to political psychology (2017), and the Australian Psychological Society’s Award for distinguished contribution to psychological science (2018). In 2009 he was granted the British Psychological Society's Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology, and a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy.[1] He was an Associate Editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology from 1999–2001 and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Social Psychology from 2001–2005, and President of the psychology section of the British Science Association from 2009–2010. He is currently an Associate Editor of Leadership Quarterly (from 2017).

Key research projects[edit]

The BBC Prison Study[edit]

In 2001, Haslam collaborated with Steve Reicher (University of St Andrews) on the BBC television programme The Experiment (which became known as the "BBC Prison Study"[3]). This examined the behaviour of a group of individuals within a simulated prison environment, returning to 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".[4][5] The core insight from the study was that tyranny results from the engaged followership of subordinates rather than blind conformity to roles or rules. Recent work has also demonstrated that the same analysis can explain the behaviour of participants in Milgram's Obedience to Authority experiments.[6][7]

The new psychology of leadership[edit]

Since the 1990s, Haslam has collaborated with a number of social identity researchers, notably Steve Reicher, Michael Platow, and John Turner, developing a social identity analysis of leadership.[8][9] 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, represent, advance and embed a social identity that is shared with those they seek to motivate and inspire. In 2012 the researchers received the University of San Diego – International Leadership Association Outstanding Leadership Book Award for The New Psychology of Leadership.[10]

The glass cliff[edit]

Haslam has worked with Michelle K. Ryan on the leadership experiences of women[11] and together they coined the term "glass cliff" to describe some of their key findings – specifically, evidence that women are more likely than men to be appointed to leadership roles in organisations that are performing poorly.[12][13][14] This was short-listed for the Times Higher Education "Research Project of the Year" in 2005.

The social cure[edit]

Haslam's more recent work (funded by the Australian Research Council ) has contributed to the development of the Social Identity Approach to health and well-being, also referred to as "The Social Cure"[15][16](including the Integrated Social Identity model of Stress; ISIS).[17] This work 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.[18] It is also a basis for them to work together to overcome stressors rather than succumb to them.

Selected publications[edit]


  • Oakes, P. J., Haslam, S. A., & Turner, J. C. (1994). Stereotyping and social reality. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Haslam, S. A., & McGarty, C. (2003). Research methods and statistics in psychology. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Haslam, S. A. (2001). Psychology in organisations: The social identity approach. London: Sage. (2nd ed. 2004)
  • Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D. & Platow, M. J. (2011). The new psychology of leadership: Identity, influence and power. London: Psychology Press.
  • Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., Dingle, G. A., & Haslam, S. A. (2018). The new psychology of health: Unlocking the social cure. London: Routledge.

Edited books[edit]

  • McGarty, C., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.) (1997). The message of social psychology: Perspectives on mind in society. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Spears, R., Oakes, P. J., Ellemers, N., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.) (1997). The social psychology of stereotyping and group life. Oxford: 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: Sage. (2nd ed, 2017)


  1. ^ a b c "Professor Alex Haslam - UQ Researchers". University of Queensland. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Reicher, S. D., & Haslam, S. A. (2006). Rethinking the psychology of tyranny: The BBC Prison Study. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 1–40.
  4. ^ Haslam, S. A., & Reicher, S. D. (2007). Beyond the banality of evil: Three dynamics of an interactionist social psychology of tyranny. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 615–622.
  5. ^ Haslam, S. A., & Reicher, S. D. (2012). When prisoners take over the prison: A social psychology of resistance. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 16, 152–179.
  6. ^ Haslam, S. A., & Reicher, S. D. (2012). Contesting the ‘nature’ of conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo’s studies really show. PLoS Biology, 10(11), e1001426. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001426
  7. ^ Reicher, S. D., Haslam, S. A., & Smith, J. R. (2012). Working towards the experimenter: Reconceptualizing obedience within the Milgram paradigm as identification-based followership. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 315–324.
  8. ^ Turner, J. C., & Haslam, S. A. (2001). Social identity, organizations and leadership. In: M. E. Turner (Ed.), Groups at work: Advances in theory and research (pp. 25–65). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  9. ^ Haslam, S. A., & Platow, M. J. (2001). The link between leadership and followership: How affirming social identity translates vision into action. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1469–1479.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Hass, Nancy (18 July 2012). "Marissa Mayer Stares Down 'Glass Cliff' at Yahoo". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  12. ^ Ryan, M. K., & Haslam, S. A. (2005). The Glass Cliff: Evidence that women are over-represented in precarious leadership positions. British Journal of Management, 16, 81–90.
  13. ^ Ryan, M. K., & Haslam, S. A. (2007). The Glass Cliff: Exploring the dynamics surrounding the appointment of women precarious leadership positions. Academy of Management Review, 32, 549–572.
  14. ^ Haslam, S. A., & Ryan, M. K. (2008). The road to the glass cliff: Differences in the perceived suitability of men and women for leadership positions in succeeding and failing organizations. Leadership Quarterly, 19, 530–546.
  15. ^ Jetten, J., Haslam, C., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.) (2012). The social cure: Identity, health and well-being. New York and Hove: Psychology Press.
  16. ^ Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., Postmes, T., & Haslam, C. (2009). Social identity, health and well-being: An emerging agenda for applied psychology. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 58, 1–23.
  17. ^ Haslam, S. A., & Reicher, S. D. (2006). Stressing the group: Social identity and the unfolding dynamics of responses to stress. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 1037–1052.
  18. ^ Haslam, S. A., O’Brien, A., Jetten, J., Vormedal, K., & Penna, S. (2005). Taking the strain: Social identity, social support and the experience of stress. 'British Journal of Social Psychology', '44', 355–370.

External links[edit]