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Article in  GÉNEROS –Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies Vol. 7 No.2 June 2018 pp. 1606-1633 Women Leaders as Containers: Systems Psychodynamic Insights into their Unconscious Roles.

Abstract: This article explores the self-defined roles of women leaders working in higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa in the context of systems psychodynamics and thereby increase the understanding of unconscious dynamics in HEIs. This qualitative study is based on the research paradigm of Dilthey's modern hermeneutics. Women leaders are containers of anxieties, while they act out defense mechanisms, such as splitting, projection, projective identification, introjection, idealization simplification and rationalization. Splitting seems to be important in terms of categories such as mother/professional, mother/daughter, women/men leaders and White/Black women leaders. Women leaders further have introjected the roles of their mothers and female family members from their childhood. They do not embrace the full authority and agency of their leadership, and explore their own difficulties and negative emotions in others through projective identification. The findings create awareness of the roles of women leaders, strengthen women leadership and emphasise the need for leadership training taking the systems psychodynamic perspective into account.


 Article in SA Journal of Industrial Psychology (2018): You have to keep your head on your shoulders’: A systems psychodynamic perspective on women leaders.

 Background: Women leaders within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in South Africa have increased in numbers over the past years and they have changed the dynamics in these institutions. Yet, it is a subject that has hardly been explored from the perspective of women leaders 

Aim: The aim of this study is to explore the experiences of women leaders in HEIs from a systems psychodynamic perspective using the conflict, identity, boundaries, authority, roles, task (CIBART) model, a well-researched model to analyse systems psychodynamics and to gain a deeper understanding of (un) conscious dynamics within organisations.


Article in SA Journal of Industrial Psychology (2017): ‘The fact that she just looked at me…’ – Narrations on shame in South African workplaces.

Abstract: Shame in the workplace often occurs and might impact negatively on mental health and well-being, capability, freedom and human rights. This article aims at gaining some in-depth understanding of shame experiences in SA workplaces. Building on this understanding the aim is to develop awareness in Industrial and Organisational Psychologists (IOPs), employees and organisations to cope with shame constructively in addition to add to the apparent void in the body of knowledge on shame in SA workplaces.