Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden
Chapter 13: Impostor syndrome as a way of understanding gender and careers
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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