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Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture

Since 1983, the annual Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture honours the influence of one of the founding members of the Department of Organizational Psychology. The invited speakers are distinguished individuals who have made a demonstrable impact on organisations in academia, public service and commerce.

The lecture series is funded by the T. Ritchie Rodger Research Fund, which is managed by the British Psychological Society (BPS). The fund was set up by Alec Rodger, the first Professor of Occupational Psychology at Birkbeck, in memory of his father.


Professor Sally Maitlis, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford: 'Hidden from View: Leading with Depression and Anxiety’

Tuesday 13 July 5pm

We are delighted to welcome Sally Maitlis, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, to deliver the 2021 Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture to staff, students, alumni and friends of Birkbeck’s Department of Organizational Psychology.

In this online lecture, Professor Maitlis will draw on an in-depth interview study to explore mental health and organisational leadership.


5.00pm - Welcome address -Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean

5.15pm - Alec Rodger Lecture - Professor Sally Maitlis

6.00pm - Leading Q&A – Dr Rebecca Whiting

6.15pm - Closing remarks and vote of thanks - Dr Rebecca Whiting


Sally Maitlis is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Her research examines how people make sense of important, challenging and sometimes painful issues at work, and highlights the emotional side of organisational life for individuals, work groups, and top management teams. She has a particular interest in processes of suffering, healing and growth in the workplace and is a founding member of the Compassion Lab, an international group of scholars who study compassion in organisations.

Another stream of research explores the joys and struggles of individuals pursuing the work that feels most meaningful to them, including the experience of losing the ability to do that work. Sally specialises in qualitative research, closely observing individual, team and organisational processes as they unfold in real time.

Her work has been published in the major management journals, as well as practitioner outlets such as Harvard Business Review and the MIT Sloan Management Review. Sally is the Academic Director of the Oxford High Performance Leadership programme at Oxford Saïd and contributes to a variety of other executive programmes as well as working as a leadership coach and therapist. Her training in psychology, organisational behaviour, and psychotherapy underpins all of her research, teaching, coaching and therapeutic work.

Previous Lectures

  • 2019 - Professor Michelle Ryan, University of Exeter: 'The glass cliff: Understanding the precariousness of women's leadership positions'.
  • 2018 - Professor Evangelia Demerouti, Eindhoven University of Technology: 'Is job-crafting a way to stimulate effective functioning? (video)'.
  • 2017 - Professor Ellen Ernst Kossek, Professor of Management, Krannert School of Management: 'New frontiers in work-family research: a vision for the future in a global world'.
  • 2016 - Dame Sandra Dawson DBE, Professor of Management Studies, University of Cambridge: 'Bridging the gap - from Weber to where? (video)'.
  • 2015 - Professor Lynda Gratton 'How our world will change - and what it means for us'.
  • 2014 - Adrian Moorhouse MBE: 'What can business learn from sport?'.
  • 2013 - David MacLeod: 'Engage for success: putting people at the heart of our approach'.
  • 2012 - Professor Andrew Pettigrew OBE, Professor of Strategy and Organisation, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford: 'Scholarship with impact'.
  • 2011 - Tom Cox CBE, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology and Management, Birkbeck: 'Resilience: people, organisations and their communities'.
  • 2010 - Professor Dame Carol Black DBE, Principal of Newham College, University of Cambridge: 'Maintaining the health and wellbeing of the working age population'.
  • 2009 - Stephen Fineman, Professor Emeritus, School of Management, University of Bath: 'Getting critical about emotion'.
  • 2008 - Mary Chapman, Chief Executive, Chartered Management Institute: 'Management futures: fit to lead tomorrow's organisations?'.
  • 2007 - David Guest, Professor in Organisational Psychology and HRM, King's Business School: 'The psychological contract: was it ever worth taking seriously?'.
  • 2006 - Toby Wall, Emeritus Professor, Sheffield University: 'Management practices and company performance: a policy perspective'.
  • 2005 - Professor Colin Mackay, University of Nottingham: 'Psychology in health and safety: research, policy and action'.
  • 2004 - Sir Cary Cooper CBE, Professor of Organizational Psychology, University of Manchester: 'The disposal workforce'.
  • 2003 - Will Hutton, Principal, Hertford College, University of Oxford: 'Companies on the cusp'.
  • 2002 - John Arnold, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Loughborough University: 'Matching person to occupation in career choice'.
  • 2001 - Professor Binna Kandola OBE, Pearn Kandola: 'Managing diversity, dealing with prejudice'.
  • 1999 - John Burgoyne, Professor of Management Learning, Lancaster University: 'The Learning Company ten years on: what have we learned?'.
  • 1998 - Lord Monks, Labour Peer, House of Lords: 'What about the workers at the millennium?'.
  • 1997 - Nigel Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School.
  • 1996 - Karen Legge, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Warwick Business School: 'Human resource management and ethics'.
  • 1995 - Edward E. Lawler, Professor of Business, University of Southern California.
  • 1994 - Sir Stephen Tumin, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales: 'What are prisons about?'.
  • 1992 - Joanna Foster CBE, Chair, Equal Opportunities Commission.
  • 1991 - Roger Williams CBE, Professor of Hepatology, King's College London.
  • 1990 - Henry Mintzberg, Professor of Management Studies, McGill University: 'Managerial work revisited'.
  • 1989 - Professor Mike Cooley, Director of Technology, Greater London Enterprise Board (GLEB).
  • 1988 - Chris Argyris, Professor of Education and Organizational Behavior, Harvard Business School.
  • 1987 - Judson Graham Day, Chairman, Rover Group: 'Organizational development strategy'.
  • 1986 - Enid Mumford, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, University of Manchester.
  • 1985 - Peter Warr, Professor of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield.
  • 1984 - Professor Charles J. de Wolff, Organizational Psychologist.
  • 1983 - Denis Pym, author and editor: 'Beyond rationality and employment'.