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Apr 6, 2020

Carol Dweck's Mindset (2006) and Angela Duckworth's Grit (2016) are two of the most influential social science texts of this century, but difficulty implementing their ideas and a failure to replicate their findings has left them open to criticism.

In this special crossover edition of The Good Practice and Emotion at Work podcasts, hosts Nicola Boyle and Phil Willcox are joined by Owen Ferguson, Ross Garner and Gemma Towersey to discuss.

We explore:

  • the extent to which we feel we demonstrate grit and growth mindset
  • the problems posed by the popularity of these ideas
  • the impact of grit and mindset on L&D.

Show notes

Mindset - Updated Edition: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential, by Carol Dweck, is available here:

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth, is available at:

A useful review of mindset literature is: Burgoyne, A. P., Hambrick, D. Z., & Macnamara, B. N. (2020). How Firm Are the Foundations of Mind-Set Theory? The Claims Appear Stronger Than the Evidence. Psychological Science, 0956797619897588. Online at: 

A study looking at mindset in the workplace is: Campbell, A. (2019). Effects of Growth and Fixed Mindset on Leaders' Behavior during Interpersonal Interactions (Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University). Online at:

Professor Dweck has responded to criticism of her work here: 

Two papers critiquing the 'grit' concept are:

Credé, M. (2018). What shall we do about grit? A critical review of what we know and what we don’t know. Educational Researcher47(9), 606-611. Online at:

Lee, C. S. (2018). Authentic leadership and organizational effectiveness: The roles of hope, grit, and growth mindset. International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics118(19), 383-401. Online at:

The paper that Ross and Owen discussed was: Yeager, D. S., Hanselman, P., Walton, G. M., Murray, J. S., Crosnoe, R., Muller, C., ... & Paunesku, D. (2019). A national experiment reveals where a growth mindset improves achievement. Nature, 573(7774), 364-369. Online at: 

The blog by David D'Souza that Phil mentioned was: 

In What I Learned This Week, the gang discussed:

Security issues associated with Zoom. Find out more at and

Ross' reflections regarding Dr Catherine Calderwood's resignation, covered online at: 

The book Ross recommended was Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed, available from Amazon: 

The paper Phil discussed, on the mindsets intervention, was: Foliano, F., Rolfe, H., Buzzeo, J., Runge, J., & Wilkinson, D. (2019). Changing mindsets: effectiveness trial. National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Online at:

The book that Gemma recommended was The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker, available at: 

If you'd like to Give Blood during the current crisis, you can! See: 

For more from Emerald Works, see: 

For more from Phil, see: 

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