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Learning to listen: exploring discourses and images of masculine leadership through corporate videos

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Management Learning
Issue number2
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)179-198
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/06/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Through analysing corporate videos, this article examines two chief executive officer leadership narratives in a UK Building Society that reflected and reproduced certain discourses of masculinity; the first expressed this through military images and metaphors while the second emphasised sport. This article makes three arguments for why certain expressions of masculinity may disengage those whose support managers are endeavouring to enlist. The first is that not all employees are attracted to images of war, conquest or competition. The second is that masculine sporting and warring discourses may repel staff when they are wielded against them. The final argument is that disenchantment is likely to result from enactments of masculinity that treat critical voices as a threat and where leaders simply seek to win the argument, silence opposition and refuse to ‘listen’ to alternative points of view. This analysis of leadership discourses is distinctive because it explores the visible (watching) and the verbal (listening). In this way, it exposes ‘hidden, gendered practices’ that are all too often neglected.