Susan Blackmore's Confirmation Presentation

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Susan Blackmore's Confirmation Presentation

We invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of Susan Blackmore, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate within the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.

Title: Sessional academics' psychological wellbeing: The influence of the Dark Triad, precarious employment, and work engagement 

Presenter: Susan Blackmore

When:Tuesday 9 October from 1–3pm

Where: Building H2, 2.09

Abstract: The uncertainty about security and continuity of employment is of concern to most individuals in casual employment, although a small percentage may choose this work because it suits their current circumstances. Casual workers are generally conceptualised as having lower educational attainment and working in poorer quality jobs. In contrast, precariously employed academic sessional staff are highly qualified, with most holding or working towards higher degrees, whilst still receiving an hourly pay rate with limited rights and benefits. The current research will look at sessional academics because little research has been conducted with this specific group and personality, in particular measured as the Dark Triad (DT; narcissism, Machiavellianism, and subclinical psychopathy). The current economic climate in Australia may inadvertently foster the expression of these socially aversive traits. Machiavellians, in particular, if rewarded for counterproductive behaviour can create a toxic, dysfunctional work situation. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the DT impacts on work engagement in this sector. Sessional academic staff may have little formal training in the academic teaching environment and information sharing is key to their ongoing skill and career development. This progression may be thwarted by those high on the dark traits who are intent on their own career advancement. Job crafting, whilst typically viewed as positive, is potentially an avenue by which toxic employees can flourish to the detriment of others. The modern university, with limited career prospects, can give rise to a competitive environment that may encourage expression of the DT as one strives for career advancement. It is expected that workplace experiences of these dark traits will impact on the individual’s work engagement. This project will consist of three studies, two focusing on sessional academics and a third on sessional-supervisor relationships to better understand the differences between deviance and desperation that pushes individuals into ‘bad’ behaviour.

Bio: Susan has worked as a sessional tutor in psychology at the University of the Sunshine Coast since 2013. Susan has also worked as an instructor in the Tertiary Preparation Program at Sippy Downs, and is currently lecturing in psychology at Fraser Coast campus and tutoring at both Sippy Downs and Fraser Coast campuses. Her interest in precarious work, personality and positive psychology are reflected in her PhD and she hopes that her research can be used to develop future interventions to provide better outcomes for sessional academics.

Should you have any questions about this event please contact

We look forward to seeing you there.

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