Edited by Dorien Van De Mieroop and Stephanie Schnurr
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 69] 2017
► pp. 21–38
Within corporate contexts, senior leaders must construct credible leadership identities if they are to demonstrate effectiveness in achieving business goals. This is a particular challenge for women, who have struggled historically to gain senior leadership positions. This chapter explores the identity struggles experienced by Karen, a woman Human Resources director within a management meeting as she delivers bad news about ‘company restructuring’ to her colleagues. Using Feminist Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis (FPDA), I show how this leader struggles to maintain a professionally competent identity as she negotiates the bad news. The analysis reveals that despite the demands of her role, Karen demonstrates extraordinary linguistic competence in managing her team within a turbulent business world that continues to remain inhospitable to female leaders.