This paper focuses on women’s learning from their lived experiences of leadership.
In an examination of how six women leaders at a UK university learn to deploy (in)visibility, I draw on conceptualizations of (in)visibility more commonly found in feminist research. These include surface ideas of (in)visibility as states of exclusion or difference due to a lack of women in leadership roles, and deeper ideas of how states of visibility and invisibility are maintained through power relations (Lewis and Simpson, 2010; Simpson and Lewis, 2005 and 2007). I also refer to ideas on how (in)visibility operates and is produced and reproduced through organizational processes and practices (Lewis and Simpson, 2010). This analysis extends critical perspectives of leadership learning and development. Specifically it adds to understandings of the tacit nature of social and situated learning, through an articulation of the ways in which gender and power operate in women’s learning of leadership from experiences of (in)visibility.
The paper concludes by indicating further areas for research including; more developed understandings of women’s learning to think strategically from experience, examining the role of management educators in revealing women’s leadership learning, and identifying methodologies to examine women leaders’ learning experiences.