The Roles of Power, Passing, and Surface Acting in the Workplace Relationships of Female Leaders With Disability

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article describes how female managers with physical impairment negotiate their relationships in the workplace. It locates discussion of physical impairment and disability within an Interactional Model of Disability. Drawing on 20 interviews, this research identifies the factors that are central to the experience of female managers with disability in the workplace, including power, passing, and surface acting. When dealing with others who had power over them (such as their superiors), the leaders adopted approaches such as passing, in an attempt to minimize the visibility of both their impairment and their disability. This involved the leaders using surface acting to present an optimistic demeanor even when their actual feelings were very different. It will be argued that the use of surface acting and the reliance on passing begins to explain why people with disability are invisible in the workplace leadership literature and why this is damaging to diversity agendas in organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1032
Number of pages29
JournalBusiness and Society
Volume56
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • disability
  • managers
  • women

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