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Leading business school’s award of PhD studentships positions hubris as emerging area of research. (Jan 2014)

Vita Akstinaite and Tim Wray of Surrey Business School at the top-10 ranked University of Surrey have recently been awarded what are possibly the UK’s first PhD scholarships into hubris.

The full-time, three studentships represent “a significant investment of research resource” for the School according to their supervisor Eugene Sadler-Smith, Professor of Organisational Behaviour. “It is also unusual to have two students funded to study the same subject.”

“Significant strides have been made in studying hubris in political leadership and understanding the psychiatric and neurological basis of hubris. We want to build on what’s been learned so far and apply it to understanding hubris in business management contexts.  Awarding two studentships to two outstanding students will help to build Surrey’s reputation in this emerging and vital area of leadership research.”

Vita Akstinaite has an MSc in Organizational Psychology and Psychiatry with Distinction from Kings College, University of London.

Vita’s interest in hubris was fired by her personal experience in international corporate organisations where she witnessed a number of significant management and leadership problems related to hubris.

“I’m especially interested in executive hubris and its links to senior leaders’ ‘derailments’. I see research into hubris as important in preventing destructive leader behaviour and the failure of business organisations.”

Tim Wray already has an MBA with Distinction from Surrey Business School

“I find it intriguing that our classical forebears seemed to have a good grasp of hubristic behaviour and its dysfunctional outcomes yet that awareness seems to have become obscured in recent times.”

Tim feels that hubris needs to be recognised much more widely and believes that researching hubris in business management will help to understand its causes, curtail its development and mitigate the risks for stakeholders.

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