There is No Lean In for Men

Nicole Ferry, Eric Guthey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

There is no Lean In for men. That is, in the mass market leadership press, in leadership development circles, and in much of leadership research, the counterpoint to “women’s leadership” is not “men’s leadership,” but just plain, gender-neutral “leadership.” In this paper, we explore the discursive, cultural, and gender politics behind the stark divide between the popularity of women’s leadership on the one hand, and the relative non-existence of men’s leadership as a comparable topic of concern on the other. Toward this end, we track the rise of women’s leadership discourse, we discuss the subtle (and not so subtle) gendered nature of supposedly gender-neutral leadership speak, and we analyze the differences between a best- selling women’s leadership text and a popular ‘gender-neutral’ text. On this basis, we argue that the prominence of “women’s leadership,” together with the comparable lack of a “men’s leadership,” functions to reinforce a masculinist leadership discourse that flies under the banner of “just good leadership.” We also argue that over-attention to women as a special case in leadership contexts, and often as a problem to fix, ultimately reinforces sexist and/or misogynistic attitudes that can undermine the very project of empowerment that women’s leadership discourse seeks to promote.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsGuclu Atinc
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2020
Article number79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020: Broadening Our Sight - Virtual
Duration: 7 Aug 202011 Aug 2020
Conference number: 80
https://aom.org/events/annual-meeting/past-annual-meetings/2020-broadening-our-sight

Conference

ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020
Number80
LocationVirtual
Period07/08/202011/08/2020
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings
ISSN2151-6561

Cite this

Ferry, N., & Guthey, E. (2020). There is No Lean In for Men. In G. Atinc (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management [79] Academy of Management. Academy of Management Proceedings https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2020.79