Who do you think you are? A hermeneutic study of leaders' identities.

FIDMENT, Sarah Elisabeth. (2016). Who do you think you are? A hermeneutic study of leaders' identities. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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This hermeneutic study engaged board level leaders in exploring their leadership identities. Little attention has been paid to exploring identity creation of board level leaders over their professional careers. Studies on leadership identity have focused at organisational level, with those studies not taking into account the whole person perspective as situated in their historical context. Therefore this thesis takes up the invitation to explore leadership identity through social constructivist and symbolic interactionist perspectives. As the thesis has shown the emergent identities of the actors in this study arose from their social and practical environments, with the actors investing themselves in and committing to the social role of leader in an attempt to convince others that they were legitimate actors in order to attain a leadership identity and the associated benefits. Leaders need to both 'fit in' with social norms and to 'stand out' in order to influence and engage others. The thesis has shown how the social actors narratively constructed and negotiated their identities in order to present themselves as legitimate and credible to others by drawing on the formulas and ideas of 'management gurus'.In the thesis both the role and the social meaning of 'leadership' was dynamic and changed over time through experience, with the actors embodied practices contributing to their social identities. The neglect of the body in the leadership literature has produced a disembodied conception of the leader limiting attention away from how leaders 'embodied knowledge' influences their social practices and how their identities emerge from them. By recognising both the linguistic and non-linguistic practices in this thesis has provided new insight into the implications for embodied leadership identity. In relation to practice the research has helped develop a way of thinking about leadership which will allow those charged with the task of being leaders to reflect upon how they are changed by taking on the role of leader. Secondly it will help those tasked with designing and developing leadership development training programmes to reflect on their practice of delivering leadership pedagogy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Mcauley, John
Thesis advisor - Richardson, Helen
Additional Information: Thesis (D.B.A.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2016.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:19
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:23
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19647

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