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

Judith Baxter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdentity struggles
Subtitle of host publicationevidence from workplaces around the world
EditorsDorien van de Mieroop, Stephanie Schnurr
Place of PublicationAmsterdam (NL)
PublisherJohn Benjamins
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-272-65883-
ISBN (Print)978-90-272-0660-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Publication series

NameDiscourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture
PublisherJohn Benjamins


  • leadership
  • identities
  • gender
  • intercultural communication
  • discourses
  • feminist poststructuralist discourse analysis
  • subject positioning


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