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Professor Jo Silvester BSc Psychology MSc Occupational Psychology PhD Psychology

Photo of Professor Jo Silvester

Professor of Work Psychology

Political Work, Leadership, Diversity

Jo Silvester is a Professor of Work Psychology whose research focuses on leadership emergence and effectiveness in complex work environments. Her research has been foundational in understanding the nature of political work within legislatures and political parties, as well as its importance in business and the public sector. As an academic and practitioner, Jo has led cross-party research investigating political skills required for government, leadership development for aspiring and elected politicians, and the intersection between political work and diversity. She has worked with U.K. political parties to develop fair and robust candidate selection procedures, and more recently with the House of Commons to investigate organisational culture and trust. Other research interests include diversity in the workplace (e.g., financial advisors’ perceptions of wealthy female clients, how senior women and BME leaders navigate leadership emergence) and personality predictors of political effectiveness.

Jo’s work has been published in leading international journals, including The Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Political Behavior, Human Relations, British Journal of Psychology, and European Journal of Finance. She has received research, enterprise and PhD funding from many different organisations, including the ESRC, Home Office, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Civil Service Learning, IDeA, Philips, Boots, Ford, and JPMorgan.

Member of International Advisory Board, BSS University of Aarhus

Member – Academy of Management

Member – British Psychological Society

Member – European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology


Impact and Engagement Examples

  • Political Work
  • Leadership emergence & effectiveness
  • Diversity
  • Doldor, E., Wyatt, M., & Silvester, J. (2019) Statesmen or cheerleaders? Using topic modelling to examine gendered messages in developmental feedback for leaders. The Leadership Quarterly.
  • Wyatt, M., & Silvester, J. (2018). Do voters get it right? A test of the ascription-actuality trait theory of leadership with political elites.The Leadership Quarterly, 29(5), 609-621.
  • Wyatt, M., & Silvester, J. (2015). Reflections on the labyrinth: Investigating black and minority ethnic leaders’ career experiences. Human Relations, 68, 1243-1269.
  • Silvester, J., Wyatt, M. & Randall, R. (2014). Politician Personality, Machiavellianism and Political Skill as Predictors of Performance Ratings in Political Roles. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 87, 258-279.  DOI:10.1111/joop.12038
  • Vecchione, M., Schwartz, S.H., Caprara. G.V., Schoen, H., Cieciuch, J., Silvester, J., Bain, P., et al. (2014). Personal values and political activism: A cross-national study. British Journal of Psychology, 106, 84-106. DOI:10.1111/bjop.12067
  • Schwartz, S., Caprara, G.V., Vecchione, M., Bain, P., Bianchi, G., Caprara, M.G., Cieciuch, J., Kirmanoglu, H., Baslevent, C., Lönnqvist, J-E., Mamali, C., Manzi, J., Pavlopoulos, V., Posnova, T., Schoen, H., Silvester, J., Tabernero, C., Verkasalo, M.,  Vondráková, E., Welzel, C., & Zaleski, Z. (2014). Basic personal values constrain and give coherence to political values: A cross-national study in 15 countries. Political Behavior, 36, 899-930.Political Behavior, 36(4), pp. 899-930. DOI: 10.1007/s11109-013-9255-z

Working Papers

  • Silvester J., Wyatt, M., Ellen III, B.P., & Ferris, G. (Under Review) Campaigning to Win: Political Skill, Efficacy, and Intentions to Influence Votes in a British Parliamentary Leadership Contest.
  • Baeckstrom, Y., Marsh, I., & Silvester, J. (Under Review) Financial advice, wealth and gender: Risk tolerance, knowledge and confidence.