Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15800
Purpose: This study aims to explore the experience of performing androgynous leadership approaches by New Zealand women leaders within the context of everyday conflict situations. Design/methodology/approach: The research question “How do women leaders experience gender in conflict situations?” was explored through the facilitation of 4 focus groups with 19 senior female leaders in New Zealand. Poststructural discourse analysis was used to explore how participants negotiated positions of power within their environments and in accordance with competing gendered discourses. Findings: Participants described taking a flexible, balanced, androgynous leadership approach to managing conflict situations. While the expectations to be “empathetic”, “sympathetic”, “gentle”, “nurturing” and “caring” resonated with the participants preferred approach, they remained firm that if conflict persisted, they would “cross the line” and adopt stereotypically masculine behaviours to resolve the situation. However, participants describe that when perceived to be crossing the line from feminine to masculine approaches, they experienced significant backlash. This demonstrates the tensions between the approaches women leaders would like to take in managing conflict and the experiences of doing so within a prescriptively gendered organisational context. Originality/value: This research contributes to a gap which exists in understanding how gender is experienced from the viewpoint of the woman leader. This research presents a nuanced view of gendered leadership as a contested ground, rather than a series of strategic choices. Despite an increase in the acceptance of women into leadership positions, the authors seemingly remain bound by what is considered a “feminine” leader.
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in Gender in Management: An International Journal. © 2023 Emerald.
- Management Papers