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Gendered Hybridity in Leadership Identities: A Postfeminist Analysis

Lewis, Patricia, Benschop, Yvonne (2023) Gendered Hybridity in Leadership Identities: A Postfeminist Analysis. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 38 (2). ISSN 1754-2413. (doi:10.1108/GM-07-2022-0238) (KAR id:97064)


Purpose - This paper examines the discursive constitution of leadership identities by senior women leaders working in the City of London. We draw on postfeminism as a critical concept to explore this constitution, as it has produced the cultural conditions for the reconfiguration of masculine and feminine gender norms in leadership.

Design/Methodology/Approach – In a qualitative study, 13 women leaders in positions of power in the City of London were interviewed. Discourse analysis techniques were used to unpack the postfeminist shaping of leadership identities

Findings – At the heart of the leadership identities that senior women leaders construct is a gendered hybridity that is a multifaceted calibration of masculine and feminine attributes and behaviours. Postfeminist discourses of individualism, choice and self-improvement are entangled with discourses of authenticity, relatability, and connectivity as particular leadership assets. The gendered hybridity of leadership identities unfolds the possibility for a fundamental makeover of leadership by opening-up space for a transformative change that accommodates women leaders.

Originality/Value – This study is among very few studies that foreground the leadership identities that women leaders construct within the confines of postfeminist gender regimes. It shows how these women invoke authenticity, unfolding possibilities for the transformational change of and political challenge to traditional gendered leadership in their organizations.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/GM-07-2022-0238
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author(s) has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.
Uncontrolled keywords: Postfeminism, masculinity, femininity, leadership identities, authentic, individualism, relatability
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: Leverhulme Trust (
Depositing User: Patricia Lewis
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 11:36 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 14:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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