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CEOs as Agents of Change and Continuity

Kelan, Elisabeth and Wratil, Patricia (2021) 'CEOs as Agents of Change and Continuity.' Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal. ISSN 0261-0159

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CEOs are increasingly seen as change agents for gender equality, which means that CEOs have to lead others to achieve gender equality. Much of this leadership is going to happen through talk, which raises the question as to how CEOs talk about gender equality to act as change agents. Drawing on interviews with global CEOs, who have publicly supported gender equality work, the article draws on discourse analysis to understand the arguments CEOs deploy. The analysis shows that CEOs deploy three arguments. First, CEOs argue that women bring special skills to the workplace, which contributes to a female advantage. Second, CEOs argue that the best person for the job is hired. Third, CEOs talk about how biases and privilege permeate the workplace. The analysis shows that CEOs are often invested in essentialised views of gender while holding onto ideals of meritocracy. The article suggests that how leaders talk about gender equality leads to continuity rather than change in regard to gender equality.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Change Agents, Chief Executive Officers, Discourse Analysis, Gender, Senior Leaders
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2020 14:44
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 15:15

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