Professor Michelle Ryan
Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology


Research interests


Michelle is involved in a number of research projects. 


With Alex Haslam, she has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff, whereby women (and members of other minority groups) are more likely to be placed in leadership positions which are risky or precarious. Research into the glass cliff was short listed for the Times Higher Education Supplement Research Project of the Year in 2005 and was named by the New York Timesas one of the ideas that shaped 2008.

Michelle is also involved in projects examining

(a) the effectiveness of role models (with Thekla Morgenroth and Kim Peters)

(b) women's ambition in the workplace (with Kim Peters and Alex Haslam);

(c) the gender wage gap (with Clara Kulich);

(d) social identity and sexuality (with Chris Robus);

(e) the impact of metaphors (with Susanne Bruckmueller),

(f) leadership succession (with Nik Steffens, Floor Rink, and Janka Stoker,

(g) the social identity of unemployment (with Pamela Bretschneider & Thomas Kessler),

(h) identity complexity (with Thomas Morton and Anders Sunderlund),

and (i) identity and disabiltiy (with Stuart Read and Thomas Morton).

(i) a social identity analysis of coping with unemployment.


Research projects

The glass cliff project

Research networks

Centre for Identity and the Psychology of Self in Society (University of Exeter, UK)
European Association of Experimental Social Psychology
Society of Australasian Social Psychologists
Society for the Psychology Study of Social Issues
American Psychological Association
Academy of Management
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
International Society for Self and Identity
Society for the Psychology of Women
International Association of Applied Psychology
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Centre for Research on Group Processes, University of Queensland, Australia
Centre for Research on Self and Identity, University of Southampton, UK
HRM/OB Expertise Centre, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Centre for Diversity and Equality in Careers and Employment Research, University of East Anglia, UK

Research grants

  • 2013 British Academy/Leverhulme
    British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship
  • 2012 Economic and Social Research Council
    ESRC Knowledge Exchange Grant


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