Dr Inmaculada Adarves-Yorno
Senior Lecturer in Leadership Studies
+44 (0) 1392 722588
Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK
Since 2007 Dr. Adarves-Yorno has been exploring what areas resonate not only with her intellect but with her whole self. She is particularly interested in the contradictions between our inner and outer lives, some of which are reflected in her work on paradoxes of authentic leaders. She is passionate about change agency and how we can all make a difference utilising mindfulness and social identity processes. Proof of that can be seen in her impact work where inmates become mindful leaders who are transforming themselves, people around them and their institution (see details).
Her research, her teaching and her impact work is currently driven by both academic fields social identity and mindfulness.
Some of her past research legacy revolves around developing the Social Identity Approach to Creativity. Her current and main research programme aims to explore “Mindfulness within and beyond the individual”.
Her main teaching is about “Leading Change in Practice” and upcoming module on “Mindful Leadership development”. The huge success of her modules is not just about the content, but also about (1) the use of mindfulness to facilitate inner change (2) the practice of being a change agent where they can leave legacy as they make a difference in the world (see some of their change projects here) and (3) the community of change agents that we create in the module using social identity processes.
He impact work is leading to systemic transformation in the Kenyan Prison services. During this impact programme she developed a unique training that goes beyond traditional Mindfulness, aka called ‘Mindfulness Plus’. This has been successfully implemented in Kenyan Prisons and is inspiring work done in UK Prisons. In addition, some elements of this training will be adjusted for the Mindfulness in Schools project which starts in 2019.
As a practitioner, Dr. Adarves-Yorno worked for over five years as an organisational psychologist (CEO advisor and HR manager) for an engineering company in Spain. She has particular expertise in areas such as leadership, organisational commitment, communication, performance and employee wellbeing.
- PhD (Exeter University)
- MSc in Psychological Research Methods,
- MSc in Social Psychology (University Autonoma, Madrid),
- BSc in Psychology
Dr. Inmaculada Adarves-Yorno started conducting research in 1996. She worked and collaborated in a wide range of topics (including ‘perverse norms‘, discrimination, affirmative action, social influence, framing, leadership and health related behaviour) with a number of researchers from Europe and Australia.
Social identity, Authentic Leadership, Change Agency, Mindfulness and Wellbeing.
In 2002 she started her work on social identity which lead to the development of a new approach to creativity together with Prof. Alex Haslam and Prof. Tom Postmes. This work has been in a range of high impact papers. A review of this body of work can be seen in our Personality and Social Psychology Review paper and engaging articles for all audiences can be found in Scientific American Mind.
In 2011 she started working on authentic leadership and change agency. This was a very insightful period of her career and a few qualitative studies were conducted. All those insights have informed her work in all areas although no empirical papers have been formally written yet. Her findings made her realise how essential is to work with social identities when leading change and how social identities can present an unspoken paradox within the authentic leadership realm. Studying change agents she also discover how essential is mindfulness for individuals who are leading change. This reinforced her interest in and commitment with Mindfulness both as a researcher and as a trainer.
Her current mindfulness research programme is titled “Mindfulness within and beyond the individual”. Among other things she is looking at (1) What is the impact of mindfulness for individuals, specifically in helping deal with and lead change? (2) How can mindfulness benefit individuals, institutions, communities and society? And (3) How can others and our shared identity help us become more mindful?
Combining mindfulness and social identity some of the questions that she is looking at are: Can identification with a mindful identity can help us become more mindful? And what are the combined benefits of social identity and mindfulness on psychological outcomes such as mental wellbeing and resilience.
- 2018 ESRC Impact Acceleration Award
Cultivation Award: Mindful Leaders disseminating teachings and impact
- 2018 ESRC Impact Acceleration Award
Rapid response: supporting change in the Kenyan Prison Services and Beyond
- 2017 ESRC Impact Acceleration Award
Knowledge Exchange Fellowship: Expansion, Evaluation and Consolidation of the Inner Rehabilitation Programme in Kenyan Prisons
- 2016 ESRC Impact Acceleration Award
Economic Development and Welfare Scheme: Inner Rehabilitation Programme for Kenyan Prisons
- 2015 ESRC Impact Acceleration Award
Cultivation Award: Authentic Leadership and Change Agency Training in the Kenyan Prison Services.
- 2007 ESRC Seminar Series
Balancing the Tensions: Using Organisational Theory to Inform Business Practice
- 2005 ESRC
Post-doctoral Fellowship: New Approach to Creativity and Innovation in Organisations
Publications by category
Publications by year
Using Social Identity and Mindfulness to Create Transformation in the Kenyan Prison Services
For the IRP I trained senior managers (Director of Rehabilitation, Prison Governors), guards (e.g. welfare officers) and inmates. Hundreds of people were trained (see report). In addition, we developed an inner rehabilitation pack composed of the Mindfulness Handbook with relevant content, appropriate language, real examples, simple tasks and meaningful exercises and Development Portfolio with specific guidelines to support their development. This has been updated, expanded and adjusted by Kenyans as well as translated into Kiswahili. In addition, we developed an implementation process for the IRP in other prisons.
For Mindfulness in Prisons Initiative I worked at different levels:
To obtain support and endorsement from the top I trained 20+ senior managers from Headquarters and Officers in Charge. I also provided support on a one to one basis face to face via skype.
To expand the programme into prisons and build capacity I trained 50+ welfare officers from a range of prisons maximum, medium, remand and juvenile from different parts of Kenya. I also supported them in the creation of their own mindfulness handbook to deal with emotions.
To create a network of mindful leaders and keep that identity activated I created a group of over 140 people of all ranks and positions. I send further teachings monthly via email. In addition, we have a WhatsApp group with 60+ members in which we celebrate the successes of the programme within the prisons.
To make mindfulness mainstream we are using strategies such as newsletters, ambassadors and exposure to media such as Kenyan National News and BBC.
Details of impact
Personal transformation: behaviour change such as reduction of violence and substance abuse (see testimonial letters, impact report, academic paper). As we explore in strand 4 this is due to a combination of both individual mindfulness as well as identification with a mindful identity.
Intergroup transformation: relationship between inmates and guards change as a result of the new supra identity ´”mindful leader identity” which encompasses both groups (see BBC news). In turn, as our research predicts, this allowed creations from inmates to be accepted and supported by guards, expanding the reach of mindfulness within and beyond prisons doors.
Institutional transformation: new initiatives were implemented (e.g., new mindfulness courses) and the overall level of aggressive incidents and conflict reduced (see testimonial letters). Success is underpinned by the effectiveness of the mindfulness practices and the mindful identity which gives meaning to such activities.
System transformation: The programme is running in 18 prisons successfully and the director of rehabilitation is working on developing a policy document to include mindfulness in all prisons of Kenya with a reach of 55.000 inmates (see testimonial letter).
Mindfulness has been taught during the training and participants now have a conceptual understanding of what mindfulness is and how they can develop it.
The impact of social identity factors that affect acceptance or rejection of the mindfulness training has been explored in prisons and will inform the future of the programme. For instance, in a juvenile centre when the trainer wore uniform she was considered “the enemy” and thus training was rejected. Social identity processes ensures the acceptance of the training.
At the individual level, participants have developed their mindfulness skills and resilience. At the group level, mindful leaders are training others which in turns builds the capacity for further training (see testimonial letter).
Do you want to know more?
- Get a glimpse of the impact this project is having in the largest men maximum security prison (Naivasha)
- Hear and see the mindful leaders in Naivasha talk about their training and their mindfulness revolution
- Look at the inner rehabilitation blog which puts together rationale, stories, impact evidence, resources and much more
- Look at the Mindful Leaders Project in Kenya website
- Watch the BBC News on this project
- Read how mindfulness is helping Kenyan prisoners achieve inner freedom in The Conversation
Associate Editor for Frontiers in Psychology
Awards and Honours
- 2009 Rising Star Award (teaching excellence) Exeter University
- 2008 Merit award (performance excellence) Exeter University
- 2007 Merit award (performance excellence) Exeter University
- 2000 Award from the British Council-La Caixa of one year MSc scholarship at University of Exeter. UK.
- 1998 Award from the Spanish Ministry of Work and Social Issues of two-year scholarship at the Health Department of the National Women Institute. Madrid, Spain.
- 1996 Award from the Spanish Ministry of Culture of a research scholarship at the Social Psychology Department. University Autonoma of Madrid. Spain.
Ad hoc reviewer for the following journals:
- Management Learning
- Human Relations
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
- British Journal of Social Psychology
- International Journal of Psychology
- European Journal of Social Psychology.
- Academy of Management
- Culture & Organization Journal
- Journal of Management Spirituality and religion
External PhD examiner
- (2007) Sharyn Herzig “the role of middle managers in organizational change”. University of Queensland
- (2009) Cláudia Moreira Martins “Transformational leadership and gender in military organizations”. Complutense University of Madrid
Her main teaching is about “Leading Change in Practice” and upcoming module on “Mindful Leadership development”. Many students declared that the module has transformed them and that it was the best module they have ever taken. It is not just about the content, but also about (1) the process of inner change the go through (2) the practice of external change in which they see the difference they can make in the world and (3) the community of change agents that we create in the module. You can see some of their change projects here.