Leadership, Gender and Ethics : Embodied Reason in Challenging Masculinities book cover
1st Edition

Leadership, Gender and Ethics
Embodied Reason in Challenging Masculinities

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 4, 2021
ISBN 9781138492509
February 4, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
296 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book has a clear concern to offer a distinctive way of studying leadership so that it might be practiced differently. It is distinctive in focusing on contemporary concerns about gender and ethics. More precisely, it examines the masculinity of leadership and how through an embodied form of reasoning, it might be challenged or disrupted. A central argument of the book is that masculine leadership elevates rationality in ways that marginalise the body and feelings and often has the effect of sanctioning unethical behaviour.  

In exploring this thesis, Leadership, Gender and Ethics: Embodied Reason in Challenging Masculinities provides an analysis of the comparatively neglected issues of identity/anxiety, power/resistance, diversity/gender, and the body/masculinities surrounding the concept and practice of leadership. It also illustrates the arguments of the book by examining leadership through an empirical examination of academic life, organization change and innovation, and the global financial crisis of 2008. In a postscript, it analyses some examples of masculine leadership in the global pandemic of 2020.   

This book will be of interest generally to researchers, academics and students in the field of leadership and management and will be of special interest to those who seek to understand the intersections between leadership and gender, ethics and embodied approaches. It will also appeal to those who seek to develop new ways of thinking and theorizing about leadership in terms of identities and insecurities, power and masculinity, ethics and the body. Its insights might not only change studies but also practices of leadership.

Table of Contents

Part I Leadership: An Overview. 1 - Reflecting on Leadership Studies. 2 - Genealogies of Leadership in Practice and Theory. Part II Conceptual Reflections on Leadership, Ethics, and Masculinity. 3 - Identity and Leadership. 4 - Power/ Resistance. 5 - Diversity/Gender and Leadership. 6 - Embodied Reason and Affective Leadership. 7 - Ethics and Leadership. Part III Empirical Illustrations of Leadership, Ethics and Masculinity. 8 - Academia and Education. 9 - Change, Innovation and Technology. 10 - Financial sector. 11 – Postscript. 

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David Knights is Distinguished Scholar in the Department of Organisation Work and Technology at Lancaster University Management School, and Professor at Oxford Brookes University Business School, UK.


"...a refreshing sweep of leadership genealogical history. Leave it to David Knights to delve into the undiscussable post-humanistic heritage of leadership meaning, especially its gendered identity, embodiment, ethics, and affect. If you ride along, your destination will be changed." Joseph Raelin, Professor Emeritus, Management and Organizational Development, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

"Knights has written a timely and erudite rebuke to mainstream, or rather malestream, leadership scholars who have ignored or avoided many of the critical aspects of ethics, power and resistance in maintaining the status quo." Keith Grint, Emeritus Professor, Warwick Business School, UK. 

"David Knights brings his usual erudition and critical spirit to question some of the core assumptions on how we study and how we practice leadership. By focusing on its gendered, bodily and ethical dimensions, Knights rightly seeks to restore the missing heart to leadership and dispel many of the simplistic and wish-fulfilling assumptions that surround it. His book is a must for students, teachers and, especially, those who wish to lead in more enlightened ways." Yiannis Gabriel, Professor at the School of Management at Bath University and Visiting Professor at the University of Lund, Sweden.

"This book is a refreshing and stimulating departure from well-trodden taken-for-granted conceptions of what leadership is and who leads.  The book insightfully integrates thinking about gender, masculinity, the body and ethics to offer a novel perspective of leadership as ethically, embodied and involved engagement with self and others.  Knights also draws upon his considerable practical experience to demonstrate the applicability of his ideas to leadership practice in different contexts." Stella M. Nkomo, University of Pretoria, South Africa.