Her academic contribution to society includes research 'exploring people’s experiences of distress, healing and growth in the workplace'
Sally Maitlis, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at Saïd Business School, has been nominated to be a British Academy Fellow.
Each year, the British Academy elects up to 52 outstanding UK-based scholars to its fellowship who have achieved distinction in any branch of the humanities and social sciences. This year, 29 (56%) are women, the highest proportion of women ever elected.
Professor Maitlis joins a community of more than 1,600 leading minds that make up the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. Current Fellows include the classicist Professor Dame Mary Beard, the historian Professor Rana Mitter and philosopher Professor Baroness Onora O’Neill, while current Honorary Fellows include Melvyn Bragg, Baroness Brenda Hale and Gary Younge.
Commenting on her nomination, Professor Maitlis said:
‘It’s an immense honour to be nominated to the British Academy, our national institution for the humanities and social sciences. It is humbling to have my work recognised in this way and very exciting to become part of the British Academy Fellowship, an amazing community of scholars, including many who have been great influences on my work.’
Fellows are defined as ‘scholars who have attained distinction in any of the branches of study which it is the object of the Academy to promote'. Only a very small number of scholars in any field are elected.
Professor Maitlis’ research examines how people make sense of important, emotive issues at work, and explores the socio-emotional dynamics of organisational life for individuals, work groups, and top management teams. She explores people’s experiences of distress, healing and growth in the workplace and is a founding member of the Compassion Lab, an international group of scholars who study compassion and suffering in organisations.
Reflecting on her research work, Professor Maitlis added:
‘One of the distinctive things about the BA community is that it spans the humanities and social sciences. This is especially meaningful to me as my research builds on core ideas from psychology and human development, and has long been embedded in narrative traditions grounded in the humanities. From these perspectives, I have explored how people make sense of challenging and sometimes deeply painful issues in their work. These include experiences such as renegotiating careers which have been derailed and identities undermined by physical injury, navigating intractable problems in pursuing a calling, and leaders dealing with mental health difficulties in themselves and others.’
Another stream of Professor Maitlis’ research explores the joys and struggles of those pursuing the work that feels most meaningful to them, including the experience of losing the ability to do that work. She uses qualitative research methods, closely observing individual, team and organisational processes as they unfold in real time, and attending to the ways that people’s narratives shape their working lives.
At Oxford Saïd, Professor Maitlis is the Academic Director of the Oxford High Performance Leadership programme, and contributes to a wide range of other executive education programmes including the online Oxford Leading Professional Service Firms Programme, and Oxford Artificial Intelligence Programme. She also teach on the leadership resilience module of the Diploma in Organisational Leadership.