'If you had only listened carefully...':the discursive construction of emerging leadership in a UK all-women management team


Increasingly, feminist linguistic research has adopted a discursive perspective to learn how women and men 'do' leadership in gendered ways. 'Women' as a social category is made relevant to this study by virtue of the lack of female senior leaders in UK businesses (Sealy and Vinnicombe, 2013). Much previous research has analysed leadership discourse in mixed gender groups, relying on theories that imply comparisons between men and women. Using an Interactional Sociolinguistic approach, this study aims to learn more about how women perform leadership in the absence of men by analysing the spoken interactions of a women-only team who were engaged in a competitive leadership task. The analysis reveals that the women accomplish leadership in multiple and complex ways that defy binary gendered classifications. Nonetheless, there is a distinctive gendered dynamic to the team's interactions which, it is argued, might be disadvantageous to women aspiring to senior positions.



Version: Accepted Version

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