Gender and Language, Vol 5, No 2 (2011)

Leadership discourse in a Maori workplace: negotiating gender, ethnicity and leadership at work

Janet Holmes, Meredith Marra
Issued Date: 20 Dec 2011

Abstract


Masculinist gender norms and majority group ethnic norms are always covertly relevant as important systemic characteristics of interaction at work, subtly influencing people's unconscious interpretations of what is considered appropriate in the workplace and influencing evaluations of the ways in which individuals do gender, ethnicity and leadership. Drawing on material from the Wellington Language in the Workplace Project, we focus on a particular case study exemplifying the construction of a complex and hybridised identity in a challenging socio-cultural context. The discourse of a female Māori Managing Director of a commercial organization is analysed to illustrate how she negotiates the complex triple bind of gender, ethnicity and leadership in her everyday talk at work. It is proposed that the analysis of such instances of the effective performance of a hybridised identity may contribute to an increased understanding of the complexities of managing workplace discourse in culturally diverse and gendered institutional contexts.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v5i2.317

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