Experiences of imposter phenomenon

Exploring relationships between psychosocial work environments, experiences of imposter phenomenon and psychological capital in the global digital infrastructure sector

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

This project will explore experiences of imposter phenomenon (IP) in the global digital infrastructure workforce. IP is experienced as a dull sense of impending doom ahead of an imagined inevitable discovery that a person is pretending to be competent, or that a terrible mistake has been made about their being put in a particular project or job. IP is associated with higher levels of stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, fear of failure, and lack of self-confidence but little is known about how workplace factors such as psychosocial work environments (PWEs) might influence its prevalence or impacts. PWEs are the opportunities provided by work and the workplace to meet needs for wellbeing, productivity, and positive self-experience (Siegriost & Marmot 2004).

IP is a particular concern for the global digital infrastructure sector. This sector provides digital services essential to cloud-based infrastructure and internet-enabled technologies. The sector faces major challenges in expanding and diversifying its workforce, partly because people from non-traditional backgrounds face potential risks experiencing IP in such workplaces due to feeling 'other' because they are different, marginalised or in the minority.

This project will undertake a large scale mixed method exploration of interrelationships between the PWE, workplace experiences of IP, psychosocial risk and PsyCap. Psychological capital (PsyCap) is an individual's positive psychological state of development characterized by feelings of hope, optimism, self-efficacy and resilience, and has strong and significant relationships with mental health and well-being (Avey, Reichard, Luthans, and Mhatre 2011).  Research questions could include, but not be limited to:

  • What, if any, relationship exists between the experience of impostor phenomenon and psychological capital?
  • Do elements of PsyCap (HERO) relate to recognised characteristics of the impostor phenomenon experience? (e.g. low efficacy, lack of optimism)?
  • How, if at all, does the development of psychological capital influence the experience of the impostor phenomenon?

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Megan Woods


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Completion of prior postgraduate study in Human Resource Management, Psychology, Occupational Health and Safety

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Completion of postgraduate research (eg Honours, Research Masters or MBA with Research specialisation) in Human Resource Management or Psychology.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Previous research or professional work related to imposter phenomenon or psychological capital
  • Relevant publication in high quality academic journals (ABDC A* or A or Q1)
  • Proven track record in qualitative research, most notably interview-based methods
  • Proven track record in experimental study design, survey-based methodologies, and quantitative data analysis techniques (e.g., regression-based analyses and structural equation modelling)

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Megan Woods to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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