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The gendered power relations of action learning: a critical analysis of women's reflections on a leadership development programme

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Human Resource Development International
Issue number4
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)416-437
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Revealing power relations in HRD research and practice is an important concern for critical HRD scholars, however little attention has been paid to gendered power relations in the HRD practice of action learning. This paper responds to this gap through a critical analysis of a phenomenological study of six women’s reflections of action learning as part of a leadership development programme. Adopting feminist post-structuralist ideas, the paper draws on the study to interrogate gendered power relations in action learning. Key findings include women’s perceptions of gendered power relations in action learning affirm dominant understandings of leaders as male, not attending to gender impedes women’s leadership development in action learning and action learning principles of trust and comradeship can serve simultaneously to avoid difference and to reinforce a dominant set culture that constructs difference. The paper concludes with proposals of how action learning might take gender into account in the leadership development of women.