Penny obtained her DPhil (PhD) in experimental social psychology from the University of Oxford, Christ Church College; her doctoral research investigated how we ‘catch’ others' emotions. Her research looked at how the wider social and interpersonal context, for example the appropriateness of others' emotional reactions, the extent to which we identify with them, interpersonal attraction, and perceived similarity, influence how likely we are to catch another’s emotions. Her field research explored the phenomenon of ‘group emotion’ by mapping the emotional responses of group members over several days. Penny assessed the extent to which group dynamics such as how much members identified with their group and the emotional expressiveness of leaders influenced the spread of emotion.
Penny is currently employed as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, working within the Henley Directors Forum. Current research projects include; exploring the nature of ‘conflict’ and ‘trust’ in the boardroom, capturing the life-stories of senior leaders and CEOs, and investigating the impact of senior leaders sharing personal stories in the context of their work.
In addition her research interests include identifying processes which enable people and teams to thrive and flourish, and to cope, adapt and grow in the midst of adversity. She is interested in how constructs such as ‘hope’ ‘optimism’ and ‘purpose’, to name a few, can enable a more ‘resourceful’, creative way of thinking that enables individuals, leaders and teams to spot and take advantage of opportunities and deal with challenges.
Previously Penny has lived and worked in London, Malaysia, and Barbados, most recently serving as Lecturer in Psychology at the University of the West Indies.