Good leadership in extreme workplaces

Good leadership in extreme workplaces: A virtues-based approach

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Leadership is widely recognized as a key factor in the cohesion and effectiveness of teams and organisations. Good leadership can unlock individual and team potential, encourage thriving, and facilitate the achievement of desired results; while bad leadership can have catastrophic consequences.
Given the profound effects leadership can have, it is especially important to understand and enable good leadership in high-risk, high-dependency, extreme workplaces, such as in Antarctica, aboard ships, in mines, remote regions, and isolated stations. And yet, there has been scant scholarly attention paid to the development and practice of good leadership such work environments.
From a virtue ethics perspective, good leadership is leadership that is effective, ethical, and inherently sustainable. Good leadership is ideally embodied and practiced by those in formal leadership positions, but can also be cultivated and practiced outside the bounds of conventional organizational hierarchy by any individuals, even if they do not hold legitimate positions of authority.

This PhD project will take a virtues-based approach to understanding when, where, and how good leadership is (or could be) demonstrated in extreme workplaces. The successful candidate might explore questions such as:

  • To what extent does current leadership theory and evidence account for extreme work?
  • How is good leadership understood and/or enacted in extreme work environments?
  • How can good leaders be selected or developed for extreme work?

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Toby Newstead


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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:

  • Proven ability to conduct research across a broad cross-section of business and industry
  • Proven ability to contribute to high-quality journal article publications
  • Willingness to complete a PhD that incorporates publications in high-quality journals

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:

  • Must possess an Honours Degree (2A minimum) or a Masters by Research qualification
  • Must have experience working in a professional research team environment
  • Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience working in extreme workplaces is preferred

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 Toby Newstead, 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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