Alex Benson is joining the Department of Psychology at Western University as Assistant Professor.
Benson completed his PhD in Social Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, and spent time working at Bangor University in Wales, in the Institute for Psychology of Elite Performance. Benson recently completed a SSHRC-funded post-doctoral fellowship at Nipissing University, Benson’s research focuses on group dynamics, including how groups shape the experiences of individuals, and how individuals can shape group processes.
He is currently researching different strategies used to integrate new members into groups, and the intended and unintended consequences of different approaches.
“Group membership can be highly rewarding but transitioning into an unfamiliar social dynamic can be a challenging experience. Understanding the factors that can ease transitions into new groups is important across a variety of settings, including sports teams, organizational groups, or different social groups,” said Benson. “People are becoming increasingly mobile in their careers, so organizations are constantly challenged with how to effectively on-board new members.”
Benson is also interested in the role of followership, which, he said is a role almost everyone plays at some point and is crucial to cooperative group efforts, but is often overlooked in comparison to leadership roles.
Not everyone embraces the idea of occupying a followership role. “Narcissists are more sensitive to status-oriented distinctions and respond more negatively to subordinate roles,” said Benson. “They are dissatisfied and less likely to contribute to tasks that would benefit the group when placed in such a role.”
While Benson studies the success of newcomer integration, he is excited to be a newcomer to the Department of Psychology.
“The department has such a strong reputation for research in areas such as social dynamics and organizational psychology, and it consistently attracts high-caliber students,” said Benson. “I look forward to establishing collaborations in the department.”
Benson joins the Department of Psychology on July 1.