University of Twente Student Theses


The development of leader identities in female leaders

Brandt, Tabea (2022) The development of leader identities in female leaders.

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Abstract:This thesis uses identity research as a lens to investigate the development of leader identities in female leaders. Specifically, research from identity theory, narrative theory, and narrative research is used as all three areas are well researched but not yet integrated into a full framework for identity development. Leader identity development as one work identity does provide more integrated models yet only recently a model has been developed that includes four different leader identity approaches rather than one “traditional" perspective. This novel framework serves as a starting point for investigating the career trajectories of female leaders. To characterise them in the data, practical conceptions have been collected from prior theory and studies done on female leader identities before. Data was collected from 18 semi-structured interviews with female managers from East Germany. In the findings of this work, three different career narratives are explored in detail across three career stages. What becomes apparent is that the trajectories differ in terms of how social and internal sensemaking for identity formation. While all leaders eventually do reach alignment for their identity, some females face higher hurdles. The aim to better understand identity formation processes is met by this work with the final finding that research needs to focus on internal reflection processes and narrative perspectives more in the future.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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