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Birkbeck hosted its annual Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture on July 20th, with special guest Dame Sandra Dawson delivering her keynote lecture ‘Bridging the Gap: From Weber to Where?’ to an audience of academics, students and professionals.

Dame Sandra Dawson delivers Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture 2016

Birkbeck hosted its annual Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture on July 20th, with special guest Dame Sandra Dawson delivering her keynote lecture ‘Bridging the Gap: From Weber to Where?’ to an audience of academics, students and professionals. The annual memorial lectures are held in honour of Birkbeck’s first Professor of Organizational Psychology, Alec Rodger, and invite speakers with a distinguished record in academia, public service or industry to cover topics relating to the field of Organizational Psychology.

The annual lecture was delivered as part of the Organizational Psychology summer lecture programme, which this year saw presentations from Professor Pat Tissington, Professor Raymond Caldwell, Dr Chris Dewberry and Dr Julie Dickinson, in addition to the lecture presented by Dame Sandra Dawson. The days’ events saw the latest research from the discipline cover topics such as Assessment Centre validity, gender differences in attitudes towards distributive justice in organisations and patient safety in intensive care.

Drawing on her experiences in academia and industry, Dame Sandra Dawson discussed the challenges for leadership and the perennial question of how to bridge the gap between the leader and the led. Discussing Weber’s crucial distinction between mere power and legitimate authority, Dame Sandra Dawson spoke of the importance of organizational psychology in the contemporary world. Indeed, many of the problems currently faced relate to the mechanisms of power; from the polarising result of the EU referendum to the spectre of inequality and technological innovation, the nature and constitution of authority is an issue at the heart of both business and society.

Dame Sandra Dawson also spoke extensively about how her own experiences, in a variety of contexts and institutions, have helped edify her understanding of leadership. As the current Non-Executive Chair of Oxfam, and having also held non-executive positions at Barclays, JP Morgan and the Riverside NHS Trust amongst others, her observations brought a wealth of experience to accompany a life-long academic interest in the field. She joins a list of distinguished guests to have delivered the lecture since its introduction in 1983, connecting Birkbeck research with senior figures from private and public positions.

Videos of Alec Rodger Memorial Lectures are available; you can register to hear about the 2017 Memorial by signing up to the mailing list, and explore further information on research and events from the Department of Organizational Psychology online.

 
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