My research journey in work psychology began with my interest in individual differences, particularly personality, and how it relates to important issues at work such as well-being. I have conducted studies into the effects of self-awareness training at work: answering the question of whether it is better to know ourselves well or whether "ignorance is bliss". Ultimately, with all of these interconnected studies, my aim is to find ways we can improve our experiences in and of work. Below, I've given a brief outline of each of these related research areas and a link to one or two of my relevant publications.
For a comprehensive list of my research publications (journal articles and conference presentations), take a look at my university page which also has links to open access versions. If you would like a copy of any of my papers and don't have access, just send me an email.
I also have a page for the PhD students I supervise. Have a look at their work here - maybe it will inspire you to your own research project?
Authenticity, Well-being and Engagement
One of the main themes of my research is around what it means to be authentic at work and how authenticity is related to our well-being and engagement. This meta-analysis brought together and evaluated all the published research in this area. Here's a short blog piece on it and the link to the full paper, which was published as part of a Special Issue on Healthy Organizations:
Sutton, A (2020) Living the good life: A meta-analysis of authenticity, well-being and engagement. Personality and Individual Differences, 153, doi:10.1016/j.paid.2019.109645
Well-being at Work
I'm interested in how we can improve people's well-being at work and the various factors that influence our well-being, from Human Resource Management practices to individual personality. The role of self-awareness in well-being is of particular interest to me, especially questions around how we can develop self-awareness and how this might influence our well-being.
Sutton, A., Evans, M., Davies, C., & Lawson, C. (2016). The development and longitudinal evaluation of a wellbeing programme: An organisation case study. International Journal of Wellbeing, 6(1), 180-195. doi:10.5502/ijw.v6i1.8
Sutton, A., Williams, H.M. & Allinson, C.W., (2015) A longitudinal, mixed method evaluation of self-awareness training in the workplace. European Journal of Training and Development, 39(7), 610–627. doi:10.1108/EJTD-04-2015-0031
Authenticity at Work and Personality Differentiation
How different are we at work and home? I'm engaged in research which investigates individual differences in personality consistency, how different people experience authenticity and what kind of impact these differences have on our well-being.
Sutton, A. (2018). Distinguishing between authenticity and personality consistency in predicting well-being: A mixed method approach. Revue Europeenne de Psychologie Appliquee, 68(3), 117-30. doi:10.1016/j.erap.2018.06.001
Sutton, A. (2017). ‘Who am I?’ at work and at home: Authenticity and well-being in different roles. In K. Niven, S. Lewis, & C. Kagan (Eds.), Making a Difference with Psychology (pp. 195–2017). London: Richard Benjamin Trust.
The Enneagram Personality Typology
The enneagram describes personality in terms of nine types, each with a distinct worldview and associated traits, values and motives. For me, the strength of this model of personality is in its potential to aid self-awareness and development. My research has focused on helping to establish the scientific validity of the model and demonstrate the ways it can be used in work.
Sutton, A., Allinson, C. & Williams, H., 2013. Personality type and work-related outcomes: An exploratory application of the Enneagram model. European Management Journal, 31(3), 234–249. DOI:10.1016/j.emj.2012.12.004
Sutton, A., 2012. “But Is It Real?” a Review of Research on the Enneagram. Enneagram Journal, 5(1), 5–19.