University Female Leaders and Imposter Syndrome: An Exploratory Case Study in Malaysia


Imposter Syndrome (IS) affects individuals, specifically high-achieving females, by causing them to experience self-doubt and feelings of being fraudulent. This study employed an innovative visual quasi-gamification tool to conduct semi-structured interviews aiming to investigate how IS affects female leaders in higher education in Malaysia and how IS could be managed. It concluded that IS is displayed differently than what literature shows, as the female leaders seem to be perfectionists who do not experience immense self-doubt but rather a pressure to appear ideal before colleagues and seniors. This Study shows that female leaders manage the negativities of IS through self-awareness and reflection. It recommends re-examining how IS is perceived by investigating multiple cultures and solutions, specifically focusing on females and how their background affects their leadership in education and other fields.

Author Information
Nouran Tarek, University of Nottingham, Malaysia
Rozilini Mary Fernandez-Chung, University of Nottingham, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2023
Stream: Educational policy

This paper is part of the ACE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Tarek N., & Fernandez-Chung R. (2024) University Female Leaders and Imposter Syndrome: An Exploratory Case Study in Malaysia ISSN: 2186-5892 The Asian Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon