Patricia Hewlin

Do strong leaders provoke employees to mask their own values?

Do strong leaders provoke employees to mask their own values?


Patricia Hewlin

Patricia Hewlin, Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour

Professor Patricia Hewlin’s research on authenticity in the workplace reveals that strong leadership qualities such as integrity can stifle diversity of thought.

Desautels professors are behind some of the most unique research projects in the world

Patricia HewlinPatricia Hewlin, Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour

According to research conducted by Professor Patricia Hewlin, employees who pretend to share similar values with their colleagues in order to “fit in” damage their personal well-being and ability to engage with work.

In order for employees to survive at work, they often pretend to share organisational values. Additionally, employees may not feel comfortable expressing their own opinions if their managers act with high integrity.

However, by suppressing their own values and views, employees actually hinder progress for the business and their careers. Instead, it is vital that organisations establish a culture where authenticity is welcomed and the notion of thought diversity is promoted.

“When people are true to themselves, they are more likely to feel connected to their work, which can enhance personal well-being and work performance overall. Managers should, therefore, encourage employees to voice their opinions without fear of repercussions. They should create a comfortable work environment and clearly communicate that disagreements can actually be good for business. Managers can encourage authenticity by creating venues for open discussion, and by developing newcomer socialization practices that promote respect for diverse values, ideas and personal identities” – Professor Patricia Hewlin

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