Self-concept of impostors

Managers are competent and qualified. They have achieved their current position due to their high performance, and this in turn gives them recognition, power and status. Although these attributes should enhance self-efficacy and self-confidence, in some managers, they primary provoke fear of failure: These executives consider themselves incompetent, they tend to draw on fortunate external circumstances for explaining their success, and fear to be unmasked sooner or later as impostors regarding their competencies. This tendency to attribute professional success not to personal competence, but to effort or uncontrollable factors such as good luck, has been described as the impostor-phenomenon for the first time in the 1970ies (Clance & Imes, 1978). It is supposed to describe the opinion of successful employed women to be overestimated with regard to their abilities, and to have wrongly gained their position. This phenomenon, which has been investigated only unsystematically by now, and with almost exclusively students as test persons, is in the focus of several ongoing research works.