How women socially construct leadership in organizations: A study using memory work

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17 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a group of Australian female leaders (including the author), collaboratively explored their early memories of leadership using the memory work method (Haug 1987, 1992; Crawford et al. 1992). From this exploration, they developed theories about how they socially construct leadership in organizations. They explored their early memories of leadership, and from these, identified how their social constructions are located within the dominant construction of white male Australian leadership. They also examined how their constructions are based in the family, and are dominated by notions of services and sacrifice, and the absence of men. They also identified the ways they resist these constructions, such as holding strong values and remaining connected to themselves and to others. The costs of this resistance include self-doubt and a reluctance to describe themselves as leaders. Research like this threatens traditional models and theories of leadership (Burrell and Morgan 1987) and opens up the possibility that research, of itself, can change the ways leadership is experienced, acted out and talked about.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


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