Dr Robert French: in memoriam…

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Br Professor Peter Case.

It’s with great sadness that we announce that our long-time colleague, Dr Robert French, passed away peacefully on Friday 5th January. A dedicated scholar and teacher, Robert joined UWE (then Bristol Polytechnic) more than thirty years ago, having spent the early part of his career in secondary school education. Robert was a remarkable man and someone whom we all valued greatly as a colleague.

A handsome and physically impressive figure, I shall always remember the intellectual acuity and creativity he brought to the many academic collaborations we engaged in together. He was ever a font of intellectual insight and wisdom, as well as someone whose great learning was admired and respected by all who knew him. He and I shared a great passion and interest in matters philosophical, publishing several articles and book chapters in collaboration with Dr Peter Simpson on the themes of workplace spirituality and leadership philosophy. We also wrote on the topic of ‘friend and betrayal’ jointly with professor Jonathan Gosling of Exeter University.

I’m sure that Robert’s deep Christian faith would have been a source of confidence and assurance as he faced the challenges that his illness presented him with, particularly in the latter stages. I shall miss our regular conversations – often in the company of Peter Simpson – very much indeed. I shall also miss his joie de vivre and wry wit; the broad smile that he greeted one with was invariably the source of joy and uplift.

There was often a mischievous aspect to his humour. I remember well the way he once drew me in with the following joke: ‘Peter’, he said, ‘you know, of course, that Proudhon and his anarchist compatriots only ever drank herbal tea’. Believing him to be relating an established historical fact, in my naivety I replied ‘No, why on earth was that?’. ‘Because proper-tea [property] is theft!’, came the swift retort.

It was an honour and privilege to have known Robert and spend time in his generous presence. I and all my colleagues in the Organization Studies department at UWE shall miss him greatly.



Please follow the links below to view some of Robert’s work:





‘Rich pictures’ – Delta 7 come to UWE to talk visual representations and relationship building

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On the 6th December 2017, the BLCC hosted a practical workshop from Delta 7 – an innovative Organisational Development Consultancy. In their practice, Elinor Rebeiro and Julian Burton engage with organisations to explore their problems and employ novel methods to help resolve issues. Most notably they make use of ‘rich pictures’ – visual representations – to invoke discussion and dialogue. A short introduction to this can be seen here.

Whilst there were discussions regarding this method during the workshop, the primary aim was the explore the ethos and heart behind Delta 7’s work: relationship building. Throughout the two-hour session the significance of emotions, vulnerability and trust were explored in great detail. Eli and Julian drew on their own tales to express how current organisational practice seems to be ‘stuck’ in mechanistic and individualistic modes where work is done in a mostly transactional and depersonalised manner.

They pushed for a deeper understanding of relational leadership approaches to make for more ‘meaningful and productive’ workplaces. Here, they argued, we must be able to challenge our basic assumptions about working patterns and learn to develop a language that allows for relationships to develop more freely. Leadership therefore moves away from more traditional command and control styles and toward a more flexible, pluralistic, dynamic and human(e) process. This concept has received increasing attention from academics in recent years – including UWE researchers – yet Delta 7 offered actual embodied insights to ask why these approaches are not being operationalized, and how we might be able to integrate further in the future.

For more information on Delta 7, please visit their website.

The Art of Management and Organization – deadline extended!

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If you haven’t been to this conference before…you might be missing out!

Come to Brighton in the UK next summer and join us!

The theme is ‘Performance’ and exhibitions, installations, workshops and performances are all welcome!

Deadline for abstracts and contributions has just been extended to February 9th 2018:

Call for Contributions Deadline Extended February 9th, Brighton 2018!

Organization and Leadership Development for Malaria Elimination in Zimbabwe

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Picture above: ODME staff and trainees. From left to right: Dr Greyling Viljoen, Dr Gladwin Muchena, Professor Peter Case, Dr Macdonal Hove, Mr Munashe Madinga, Ms Nomaqhawe Mpala, Prof. Jonathan Gosling, Prof. Peliwe Mnguni, Dr Rudo Chikodzore,Mr Notho Dube.

Professor Peter Case returned recently from Zimbabwe where he and Professor Jonathan Gosling have been progressing a project to assist the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in that country. Peter and Jonathan were both working in Bulawayo when the Zimbabwean military took control on 14th November and, for a few days, had to contend with a high degree of uncertainty as political events unfolded around them and they were advised to remain in their hotel. Despite the difficult circumstances, they worked alongside two other FBL Associate Lecturers, Dr Greyling Viljoen and Professor Peliwe Mnguni, to deliver the first of a series of workshops to a cohort of medics and senior administrators from Matabeleland South – members of a provincial team that has been involved with the wider project since August 2016 and who have embarked on a training programme entitled Organization Development for Malaria Elimination (ODME). The plan is to build OD training capacity in the Zimbabwean health system with a longer-term aim of expanding the process-improvement work to other nations in the region. The training is accredited through UWE Bristol’s Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice and the students (pictured below with the FBL project team) have all expressed an interest in pursuing a UWE-based masters degree. Dr Carol Jarvis, Felicity Cargill and Sue Brown have assisted greatly with setting up the PG Cert and enrolling the first cohort.

The two-day induction event (13-14 November) was judged to be a success by all concerned and several of the trainees made themselves available to assist Professors Mnguni, Case and Gosling with a large-scale workshop designed to address malaria-specific challenges in Matabeleland North province. For delivery of the workshop, the team expanded to include Professor Daniel Chandramohan – a world leading expert on malaria from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – and Precious Chitapi an OD facilitator based in Harare. Now in its second year, the project will be active in over half of Zimbabwe (geographically) by the end of the 2017-18 malaria season. The work has been contracted by the Malaria Elimination Initiative – based at the University of California, San Francisco – and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project has been approved by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and in-country administrative support is provided by the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

How to Increase Coach-Coachee Trust in Coaching.

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11 December 2017, UWE Bristol Business School and EMCC Event.

Sign up now to this great morning event run by the EMCC and hosted at UWE Bristol Business School on the 11 December 2017, 9am – 12pm.

There will be tea, coffee, mince pies, opportunities for great networking and 2 fantastic key speakers, including one of our UWE MSc Leadership and Management (Coaching and Mentoring) students, Katie Joyce.

See below and this link for full details and how to sign up:

Recent research by Bozer and Jones highlights the essential role of trust in the coaching relationship on effective coaching, in particular that trust is essential to ensure the level of openness and sharing required to facilitate lasting behaviour change. This roadshow session will focus on the topic: ‘How to increase coach-coachee trust in coaching’. The session will include a presentation of the key research findings in relation to trust and coaching effectiveness, followed by a facilitated discussion on best practice guidance on increasing trust in coaching.

Dr Rebecca J Jones

Dr Rebecca J Jones is an Associate Professor in Coaching at Henley Business School. Rebecca is actively engaged in researching workplace coaching, teaching the new generation of coaches and engaging with organisations regarding their coaching practice. Rebecca’s background is in Occupational Psychology and she is passionate about building the evidence-base of workplace coaching to inform theory, research and practice.

Katie Joyce

Practice Placement Manager (PPM), Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Katie Joyce is a UWE Bristol Business School Postgraduate part-time student on the MSc Leadership and Management (Coaching and Mentoring) programme. Katie is currently conducting a research project  that explores the potential for using a virtual blog as a coaching method and as a learning tool to support the transitional development phase of Newly Qualified Midwives (NQMs) in the NHS.  Katie will discuss her findings so far and reflect on how this coaching tool might be effectively used in the future.

Venue and Travel Details

Reception will be from 8.30 a.m for a 9.00 a.m. start.
The event will be held in the Business School – Fifth Floor, Room 5X101
Visitors driving to Frenchay Campus and the Bristol Business School should use the North Entrance to access car parks (BS34 8QZ for your sat nav) from the A4174 Ring Road.
There will be parking spaces reserved in the Bristol Business School visitors car park; you may have to pick up a ticket at the barrier and get it ‘cleared’ at reception inside.
Refreshments will be served from 08.30,  with the event starting at 09.00.  After the event there will be more refreshments and homemade mince pies, with time and space for networking.  Please be aware – traffic on the ring road can get heavy in the morning rush-hour.
Useful links…
Travelling to UWE Bristol
Bus information
Frenchay campus map
Bristol Parkway rail station is very convenient for the University’s Frenchay Campus and there are regular buses directly to campus.
There are great cycle paths from the centre of Bristol and around the area.

Spaces of in-between-ness in a ‘green’ city: Exploring ‘wandering’ as an affirmative critique of utopian practice

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By Dr Pam Seanor.


” … what does it mean to reflect upon a position, a relation, a place related to other places but with no place of its own – a position in-between?” Elizabeth Grosz 2001.

I write as I am coming to an end of the Wandering about Bristol project and pause to reflect on the recent workshop, where we screened a film to the participants who filmed videos of wanders in Bristol (view film here). As such, the film draws upon participant videos capturing – How to navigate a “green” city? – and wandering opens up opportunities for using research to actively participate in, and render visible, spaces of in-between-ness which defy some of the official narrative introduced by the Green Capital 2015 initiative. In the wanders, the one narrative of the ‘green’ city is broken up by the street and the official voice and imagery is replaced with the sound of conversation partners. Representatives included those from the Bristol 2015 Co., who created the imagery and those who delivered projects as part of Bristol 2015 European Green capital initiative, local government, Sustrans, consultants, architects, landscape architects, Artists and those creating skate parks. The three wanders, 2015-2017, were co-created with practitioners, as they held the videos (please see links below to the wanders). Moreover, each of the wanders and the workshop were created from conversations with and listening to practitioners over coffee and cake or breakfast, sometimes walking and conversations ending up at the pub over a pint. However, when it came to writing up, each practitioner – research partner – was clear; none wanted any part of that experience. That role was (mostly) mine, with my working up drafts sent back and forth between me in Bristol and my co-writer Pascal Dey, whilst he was in Zurich and/or Grenoble. It is this part thinking/writing up space of which I speak.

In writing up, I am drawn to Steyaert’s (2011) thoughts of ‘movement and being moved’, as I too feel the moving and moving images, raise questions and reveal varied perspectives of spaces. On the one hand, the official imagination of Bristol as a ‘European Green Capital’ city and, on the other, the availability of alternatives to it. From the above citation, Grosz (2001) argues for openness to questioning perceptions and that the metaphor of ‘in-between’ offers a space from thinking solely in terms of binaries and dualisms. Where Grosz’s comment speaks of place, I am interested in Henri Lefebvre’ triad of space; it is her thinking of in-between-ness which has stayed with me. In a similar manner following Hjorth’s (2005, p.395) thoughts of ‘stepping in to the in-between’, I like the notion of transition and of the unexpected – Neither one thing nor the other but an-other space. The metaphor of in-between-ness offers such a space for transitions, the space of crossing a line, and new interpretations, a space for juxtaposing notions. In this particular instance, I am interested in juxtaposing how urban space might be thought about and how people move in-between ideas about Bristol as a ‘green’ city, what Lefebvre termed ‘official’ space and what they do in their everyday practices: Lefebvre’s ‘lived’ space. As Rajchman (2001, p.17 cited by Massey, 2005, p.159) posed ‘What kind of lines of flights of thought take off when we start to depart from ways we have been determined to be towards something other, we are not yet quite sure what…’. This last part is crucial in that wandering and the use of moving imagery is well suited to transcending dichotomies and communicating ideas that are complex and address plurality. And, though the thinking of the ‘other’ sits well with writers of critical writing of management and/or organisation studies, the imagery of utopia, often seen in green capital imagery, does not sit easily with the critical literature (Parker et al., 2014). What appears missing from these utopian imaginaries are the everyday, to which I now turn to step in to the methodology of capturing how we negotiate spaces. The wanders offered a way of moving in-between official utopian notions of Bristol as a ‘green’ city with how Bristolians’ everyday life, including their understanding and practices of greenness.

As my point of departure, the project began by looking at how those in cities organize and re-imagine as a ‘green’ city.  In conceiving the ‘entrepreneurial’ city as a ‘site of organization’ (Beyes, 2015), there are challenges making the interactions complex; Timon notes that ‘greenness’ is heralded as a pertinent means to ‘save the city’ (p.208). Recent times have witnessed an increasing interest amongst city planners, including those in universities, in ‘greenness’, as a means for reconceiving urban space in line with concerns around environmental pollution and climate change.

Cities have long been privileged sites of power investments, as different stakeholders perpetually try to shape urban space in defined ways (Steyaert and Katz, 2004). These writers often drawn upon the thinking from other fields of study including, anthropology and human or cultural geography. Beyes (2010, 231) noted: ‘As Steyaert argues with regard to organisation studies, what makes cities interesting is their ‘imaginative geography’ (2006, 253), their possibilities for ‘transitional’ spaces that can be found in the organising processes of cities, ‘specific, “potential” or “other”, spaces and timings, which (…) allow transition and transformation (…)’ (2006, 248).

Knox (2010, p.187) too noted:

‘Cities are both the drivers of change and sites where transformations, which organisation scholars have observed elsewhere, can be re-interrogated and rethought’.

However, where Knox explores transformations using the lens of technological change and the nature of information in the city, I am interested in transformation from another vantage point. My study highlights how practitioners re-image their everyday practices.

My approach to the fieldworking is ‘on the move’ (Czarniawska 2007) in order to capture shared experiences and differing views. There was a moment when it became clear to me that the study required moving imagery, and the aspect of movement felt to fit the methodology and attitude of this project. Drawing its inspiration from existing research in organisation studies on walks/walking (for instance, Timon Beyes, Damian O-Doherty, Filipa Matos Wunderlich, Mary Phillips), the study advances the notion of ‘wandering’ as an embodied, collective and spatial research methodology which opens up opportunities for bringing to light spaces of in-between-ness which are glossed over and marginalized by dominant imagination. In reading, and re-reading the above writers, I have observed the fecundity of collective wandering in critical management studies, as a mode of critical inquiry, which in this study generates spatially embedded narratives and practices that reveal tensions and paradoxes within the official narrative of Bristol as a site of ‘green living’. Exposing ‘rupture lines’ of the conceived imagery of Bristol as a ‘green city’, wandering, I argue, also bears purchase as a means of utopian imagination since offering new opportunities for stepping into ‘the in-between’ to stimulate experiences of transition and a plurality of meanings in movement as opposed to notions of apparent stability and predictability. The tentative conclusion toward which the study gravitates is that the critical thrust of wandering is deeply imbricated with the possibility of utopian imagination, not in the sense of advancing clear-cut alternatives to the dominant imagination, but by creating a distance from the dominant notion of ‘green city’ to create possibilities for looking at urban space afresh.

Finally, in the metaphor of in-between-ness, there is one last thought. I find myself as part of this project and seek to offer affirmative critique which can change practices. I think that wandering and/or capturing conversations using moving imagery offers the opportunity to question existing tools and methods in organization studies, and to open up a conversation of the need to look around for alternative ways. Yet, in sharing these ideas at conferences, it has yet to find a place. In presenting at EGOS 2015, to the Space and materiality stream, mine was the only paper looking at spaces in a city, most researchers were focusing on space in a building (e.g. hospitals seemed particularly popular sites of study). My feedback being scholars present had not before seen a Prezi and people liked this tool and my use of colour. At EGOS 2016, I tried the Ethnography stream to find the study did not fit well there either: one said I was not writing of an organization, and another that I had neglected to draw upon the traditional anthropology literature. In the Manchester International Ethnography Symposium, this summer, again, it did not to fit comfortably in the visual studies stream, as two attendees said it was not aesthetically pleasing (e.g. there are noises from the city and it is not professionally videoed), nor was it of ‘a standard expected for it to be an ethnography’. I submitted an earlier manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, and the editor-in-chief kindly sent me two e-mails saying he regrettably rejected the manuscript as ‘Space’ does not sit easily within the narrative of his journal, and the second that he too attempts to publish in this field of study and gets rejected as this research sits at the margins. Hence, I it is a bit with irony that I find my thinking in Grosz’s position of in-between-ness. I welcome conversations to discuss these ideas and experiences with those also interested in affirmative critique.

Wandering about Bristol is a Small Research Grant for the project ‘Thinking urban spaces differently: Articulating and contesting “green” imageries of Bristol as an enterprising city’ and is supported by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.

» Wander 1


» Wander 2 


» Wander 3

Developing Leadership Capacity Conference (DLCC)

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The Developing Leadership Capacity Conference (DLCC) is returning to UWE for its 10th anniversary. The conference will be hosted by Bristol Leadership and Change Centre (BLCC) and the Bristol Business Engagement Centre (BBEC) in our new Business School on the 12th and 13th July 2018. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary the topic of leadership learning seems to be as important as ever with an increased level of research interest and increased levels of investment. This popularity of leadership learning and development has been accompanied by a focus on innovative and creative methods. We wish to explore some of these methods as part of the conference and hence invite contributions on leadership learning, development and education, with a particular focus on innovation and creativity. These creative and innovative approaches further appear to resonate with increased interest in critical issues within leadership studies more widely. For example, we are seeing research into issues of gender, identity, power and resistance and a more aesthetic appreciation of leadership. The methodologies used for learning leadership are also developing outside the mainstream with increased calls for more reflexive and democratic processes of learning. Whilst we are hoping to explore these innovative, creative and critical issues further, the conference will also welcome any other discussion of leadership learning, development and education.

We already have two keynote speakers how have agree to present at the conference – Professor Paul Hibbert (St Andrew’s University) and Professor Carole Elliott (Roehampton University). They will be discussing innovative approaches to leadership and organizational learning from a reflexive standpoint and based on a large scale research project on women leaders respectively. We hope that you will join us in sharing your experiences, practices and research on leadership and organizational learning and development. 500 word abstract submissions are needed by the 16th March 2018. Contact Dr Gareth Edwards (gareth3.edwards@uwe.ac.uk) or Dr Doris Schedlitzki (doris.schedlitzki@uwe.ac.uk) for further details or watch out for our website which will go live soon!

Katie Beavan appointed Research Fellow at Harvard University. 

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We recently received some exciting and pleasing news concerning one of our part-time doctoral students, Katie Beavan. She has been appointed as a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Management, Katie will be joining the Women’s Public Policy Program (WAPPP), a research centre focused on closing global gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health and education.

Katie’s doctoral research is focused on how to undo gender in 24/7 hyper-masculine cultures, and create working environments that support gender parity at all levels, including the very top of the organization. Her work explores resistance to the dominant culture(s) and the development of working practices to disrupt the status quo. She has a long career of working in global financial services. Her deep practitioner experience in cultural change, employee engagement, leadership development, and diversity and inclusion inform her research.

Katie works with interdisciplinary methods of inquiry, including poetics, autobiographical and auto/ethnographic writing and feminist reflexivity. She is interested in evoking critical and ethical responses in organizational leaders, creating emotional motivation for change. Her work is based within the Bristol Leadership & Change Centre and she’s supervised by Professor Peter Case and Dr Margaret Page.


ISBE Forum: Adding the relevance to rigorous business research.

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In association with SAMS (Society for the Advancement of Management Studies)

ISBE Forum

Wednesday 13 September 2017

0930 – 1600
The Studio, Leeds

To register for this free event please click here.

What is interesting about entrepreneurship research?

What is relevant in entrepreneurship research?

What does rigour and relevance mean to different users of academic research?

This one day event in Leeds, organised by The Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies at Leeds University Business School in association with the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE), will bring together senior policy makers, business owners, and academics from all career stages, to discuss these questions.

Aims of the day include: to develop collaborative best practice dissemination guidelines for both academics and practitioners, and to facilitate opportunities to build valuable relationships for future impact cases.


9.30 – 10.00: Registration and tea/coffee
10.00 – 10.15: Welcome
10.15 – 12.00 Panel discussion: Perspectives on rigour-relevance of academic research
Panel members: Dr David Higgins (University of Liverpool); Prof. Kiran Trehan (University of Birmingham); Philip Salter (Direct, The Entrepreneurs Network and Secretary for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship); Anthony Moody (Deputy Director of Enterprise Analysis, BEIS); Joe Clease (Senior Economist, BEIS); Jonathan Seaton (Managing Director, Twinkl Ltd.)
12.00 – 13.00: Lunch and networking
13.00 – 14.30 Interdisciplinary workshops. Example topics:
·      What is interesting about entrepreneurship research?
·      What is relevant in entrepreneurship research?
14.30 – 15.00: Tea/coffee break and networking
15.00 – 16.00: Summary of best practice guidelines, Q&A, and next steps

For further information on the event please contact Isla Kapasi at i.kapasi@leeds.ac.uk


Who am I? Leadership seen through the lens of language and identity

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By Associate Professor Dr Doris Schedlitzki.


As a German national, I have always been both fascinated with and troubled by the romantic belief in leaders that seems to dominate life in organisations based in English speaking countries. When – as an undergraduate student – I first encountered the idea of the effective leader who can pretty much save a team or organisation single-handedly by winning followers’ hearts and minds and showing them the path to enlightenment, I was excited. This is the answer that nobody had talked about when I was growing up in post-WW2 Germany! Studying for a degree in Industrial Relations where conflict was a given assumption of daily reality in the workplace, this idea of leadership felt nicer, warmer and promising harmony (Collinson, 2012; Learmonth and Morrell, 2017). It was like leaving the cinema after watching a big blockbuster movie where, through tenacity and bravery, the hero comes forth to save the day.

Alas, this fascination was soon marred when I embarked on my PhD in leadership studies and cracks in this positive image of the heroic, effective leader started to appear when trying to compare forms of leadership in Germany and the UK. As a native German speaker, I was lost for words. I simply could not translate the words leader, manager, leadership and follower into the German language (Jepson, 2010). The meaningfulness and indeed power of the language of leadership, intertwined so deeply with and dependent on the denigration of management (Ford and Harding, 2007), was lost. The realisation that language mattered and that without an ability to articulate a sense of self as leader or indeed follower was significant and opened up avenues for exploring my own aversion to being called a leader or follower.

Through my research into leadership, language and identity, I have explored some of the manifold ways in which language matters for our understanding of the concept and practice of leadership. By exploring notions of leadership and management in the German language (Jepson, 2009; 2010) and in Welsh (Schedlitzki et al., 2016), for example, I have highlighted the importance of paying attention to culturally and historically embedded meanings of leadership but also warned of the dangers of oversimplifying and stereotyping the connection between nationality and leadership so as to recognise diversity in meaning within and across languages. With colleagues (Schedlitzki et al., 2016; Schedlitzki et al., 2017) I have called for a research agenda in leadership studies that pays attention to the importance of language, giving voice to currently muted and diverse meanings embedded in non-English languages and regional dialects. This may bring to the fore other, culturally embedded notions of organising that are more meaningful for individuals’ sense of self in the workplace than the idea of the effective leader.

But we do not have to venture ‘abroad’ to realise how much language matters for our understanding of who we are – our identity in the workplace. Myself and colleagues (Schedlitzki et al., 2017) have joined others (e.g. Ford and Harding, 2015) in questioning the ease with which we assume that individuals will see themselves as leader and/or followers in their daily working life. Whilst some may identify quite readily with being a leader, others will experience the daily frustration of wanting to be a leader but feeling like they never quite reach the mark of the effective, great leader depicted in the media and literature. Why is this so? Some argue it is the lack of ‘real’ followers in the workplace (Harding, 2015); others (Collinson, 2011; Ford, 2010; Liu and Baker, 2016) argue that the language of leadership conjures up an image of the ideal leader that is predominantly white, male, masculine, middle class, able bodied, heterosexual and middle aged. Coupled with near heroic abilities of a leader promoted through popular theories like transformational leadership (Alvesson and Karreman, 2016), we start to realise that this effective leader image is highly exclusionary and often unattainable (Ford et al., 2008).

So, where does this leave us? Gaining an understanding of the manifold ways in which language matters for our understanding of leadership and sense of self in the workplace may indeed give us a sense of control over who we can be. Understanding the language of leadership in our workplace may enable us to see the image that it creates of an effective leader and the extent to which we fit into this image or resist it. This may help to make sense of barriers we are experiencing to developing a sense of self as a leader or follower. This insight may also invite us to try and influence both the organisational language of leadership and the image conjured through this language to make space for alternative meanings and images of leadership – or indeed other forms of organising – that are more meaningful for our sense of self.