Coping with uncertainty:gender and leadership identities in UK corporate life

Baxter, Judith (2017). Coping with uncertainty:gender and leadership identities in UK corporate life. IN: Identity struggles. van de Mieroop, Dorien and Schnurr, Stephanie (eds) Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture . Amsterdam (NL): John Benjamins.


Within corporate contexts, senior leaders must construct credible leadership identities if they are to demonstrate effectiveness in achieving business goals. This is a particular challenge for women, who have struggled historically to gain senior leadership positions. This chapter explores the identity struggles experienced by Karen, a woman Human Resources director within a management meeting as she delivers bad news about ‘company restructuring’ to her colleagues. Using Feminist Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis (FPDA), I show how this leader struggles to maintain a professionally competent identity as she negotiates the bad news. The analysis reveals that despite the demands of her role, Karen demonstrates extraordinary linguistic competence in managing her team within a turbulent business world that continues to remain inhospitable to female leaders.

Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences > English Language
Languages & Social Sciences > English Language research group
Uncontrolled Keywords: leadership,identities,gender,intercultural communication,discourses,feminist poststructuralist discourse analysis,subject positioning
Published Date: 2017-04


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