Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers
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Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

This unique Research Handbook covers a wide range of issues that affect the careers of those in diverse groups: age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexuality and transgender, as well as appearance. International experts from a variety of backgrounds contribute chapters in their given fields, reviewing current thinking, practices, initiatives and developments within the field, as well as presenting a wide-ranging and holistic coverage of the topic.
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Chapter 13: Impostor syndrome as a way of understanding gender and careers

Thomas Calvard

Abstract

This chapter aims to review and develop work on the ‘impostor syndrome’ or ‘impostor phenomenon’, defined as the experiencing of persistent feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence despite evidence of competence and accomplishments. There are arguments and evidence to suggest that impostor syndrome affects both women and men, but that it can play a particularly influential role in shaping high-achieving women’s gendered experiences of career and leadership development. This chapter therefore also considers the particular types of experiences, associations and dilemmas shaping women’s impostor experiences at work, as well as theories, examples and explanations of how they might affect their career development. The chapter concludes with several implications and recommendations for how organisations and employees of both genders can resist feelings of rigid conformity and inauthenticity, largely by striving to develop more open, inclusive workplace cultures that emphasise multiple strengths, forms and routes to career success.

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