Survival or success? A critical exploration of the use of 'double-voiced discourse' by women business leaders in the UK

Baxter, Judith A. (2011). Survival or success? A critical exploration of the use of 'double-voiced discourse' by women business leaders in the UK. Discourse and Communication, 5 (3), pp. 231-245.

Abstract

This article considers whether using leadership language may be one under-explored reason why there continues to be a significant lack of women at executive level. Do women make less of a linguistic impact in the boardroom than men? By analysing linguistic data from senior management meetings and follow-up interviews in seven multinational UK companies, we suggest that senior women and men use a very similar range of linguistic strategies to lead their teams except in one key respect. Women appear to monitor and regulate their use of language more than men, adjusting what they say in the light of their colleagues’ concerns and agendas. This use of ‘double-voiced discourse’ (Bakhtin, 1994/1963) enables women to survive in a male-dominated business world, but this can sometimes make their voice ‘harder to hear’. However, double-voiced discourse is also a form of linguistic expertise and potentially might offer women leaders a strategy for success.

Publication DOI: 10.1177/1750481311405590
Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences > English Language
Related URLs:
Uncontrolled Keywords: double-voiced discourse,gender,interactional sociolinguistic analysis,leadership discourse,linguistic expertise,senior women,workplace talk,Communication,Linguistics and Language
Published Date: 2011-08

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