PhD defence H.H.W. (Hodar) Lam

Lonely-ship: The emergence and experience of leader loneliness
Prof.dr. S.R. Giessner
Dr. M. Shemla
Thursday 5 Oct 2023, 10:30 - 12:00
PhD defence
Senate Hall
Erasmus Building
Campus Woudestein
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H.H.W. Lam will defend his PhD dissertation on Thursday 5 October 2023, entitled: ’Lonely-ship: The emergence and experience of leader loneliness‘.

Below is a brief summary of the dissertation:

Over the past few decades, interest in loneliness – broadly defined as the subjective, unpleasant experience of social disconnectedness – has grown significantly. Scholars from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and philosophy have been studying the phenomenon and its largely undesirable consequences to individual health, general functioning, and relational outcomes. Despite rising academic interest in these adjacent academic domains, loneliness has only recently started to attract attention in the management field. This is surprising, given the potential negative organisational and managerial implications of loneliness.

Leaders, particularly, seem to be vulnerable to experiences of loneliness. Yet, scholars tend to conflate leader loneliness with general loneliness. Considering leadership often involves directing teams, influencing strategic directions, and making high-pressure decisions in organisations, a generalised approach ignores these leadership-specific factors that may trigger loneliness experiences.

To better understand this overlooked phenomenon, I adopted multiple perspectives and methods in this PhD thesis, including (a) a review-based critique of the dispersed literature of leader loneliness; (b) a qualitative interview study on the leadership narratives of loneliness; and (c) a quantitative project on the loneliness of mid-level managers, using an experiment and a three-wave panel survey study. Together, my work is a timely response to the loneliness “epidemic” and calls for more attention to leader well-being issues in both research and practice.

More information

The public defence will begin exactly at 10.30 hrs. The doors will be closed once the public defence starts, latecomers may be able to watch on the screen outside. There is no possibility of entrance during the first part of the ceremony. Due to the solemn nature of the ceremony, we recommend that you do not take children under the age of 6 to the first part of the ceremony.

A live stream link has been provided to the candidate.

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