Navigating the dynamic leadership labyrinth: Exploring narratives of women academics in Chinese higher education

Wang, Feier (2022) Navigating the dynamic leadership labyrinth: Exploring narratives of women academics in Chinese higher education. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis explores women academics’ leadership experiences in Chinese higher education. It is situated within the literature on gender, organisations, and women’s leadership. It takes a social constructionist perspective and brings together the ‘leadership labyrinth’ and the ‘leadership web’ to form an analytical framework to examine how women academics make sense of their leadership trajectories. A semi-structured interview method was adopted to gain insight into women’s leadership experiences, and a narrative approach was used to analyse and present the findings. Three narratives of women academics’ leadership journeys were identified, namely: navigating the winding path towards leadership, learning while in the centre of the labyrinth, and leaving the centre of the labyrinth. Through combining the leadership labyrinth with the leadership web to conceptualise the findings of the research, it was found that women academics navigated the leadership labyrinth with the support of their leadership web. Specifically, they encountered challenges and opportunities that are characteristic of gendered organisations, but they were able to use their individual agency to use resources and power to help them to achieve their leadership goals. It was also found that, while navigating the leadership labyrinth, women academics’ attitudes and behaviours were shaped by gendered organisations, while their actions, in turn, influenced organisational culture and structures. The thesis makes theoretical and empirical contributions to knowledge of women’s leadership. Firstly, it shows that the leadership labyrinth is dynamic as its walls move and ‘disappear’, and that the labyrinth is co-constructed by both individuals and organisations. Secondly, the thesis demonstrates that individuals and organisations are undergoing changes in contemporary China, which will provide both new challenges and opportunities, for women on their paths towards leadership.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School
Supervisor's Name: Robinson, Professor Sarah and Johansson, Dr. Marjana
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-83355
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2023 13:32
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2023 13:32
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83355

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