Imposter phenomenon (IP): An experimental examination of state IP
Gullifor, Daniel Paul
For the pasty forty years, research on the imposter phenomenon (IP) has been conducted primarily in the field of psychology. This research has empirically demonstrated IP’s relationship with various cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes, many of which are applicable to organizational research. Despite the overlap in variables of study and clear implications for the workplace, IP’s integration into the organizational literature is underdeveloped. One possible explanation for this underdevelopment is the prominent conceptualization and operationalization of IP is that of a stable, dispositional trait that endures across situations. This dominant perspective of IP as an individual difference has hindered both a more complete understanding of IP and its integration into the organizational literature. To overcome the theoretical and empirical limitations associated with dispositional IP, this study develops and presents the consideration of IP as a state. Complementary to the trait perspective, this study develops the state perspective which allows individuals to experience temporary, situationally-caused, heightened levels of state IP. This new state approach to IP affords the opportunity to examine situational antecedents and outcomes of IP, including those found in the workplace. Using a 2 (leader/member role) x 4 (high/low performance pressure & high/low threat of evaluation) experimental design, this study empirically tests common workplace scenarios for the elicitation of state IP and the outcomes associated with the experience of state IP. In doing so, this study makes several contributions to IP research. First, this study advances the state IP approach by developing both a conceptualization and corresponding operationalization which complements the predominant trait approach. Second, the state IP approach complements and expands the current trait approach such that a more complete and enhanced understanding of IP’s relationship with organizational phenomena is possible.