This blog is about gender, language and power in professional life. It accompanies the English and Power programme which, thanks to the remarkable women of PWN Global and the generous support of Lancaster University, has run in Madrid, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Vienna and Barcelona with over 60 leaders and managers from many different countries, sectors and corporate backgrounds. The reflections, recordings and many conversations are part of my doctoral research into patterns of interaction for more effective and inclusive leadership. The purpose of the blog is to summarise some of these findings, to offer insights from the discipline of linguistics and to share stories, tips and techniques from the field.

  • Do women really speak differently than men?
  • What is the relationship between power and politeness?
  • How can we interact powerfully in corporate meetings in ways we feel comfortable?
  • What are the challenges of taking leadership in a language which is not your own?
  • Which conversations present the biggest barriers, and how can they be overcome?

Sharing these, and other common themes and concerns from stories of experience, I will be identifying some of the sites where critical language awareness can bring about a shift in the patterns of workplace talk.

While the examples and illustrations are inspired by the participants of the programme, none of them is real. They are fictional snippets and cameos made from the amalgamation of different people and settings.

About me – I am a researcher and consultant in leadership and organisation development. My research programme, The Dynamics of Difference, looks at how collective aspects of leadership work are achieved in talk. I hold a research studentship from Lancaster University and am working towards my doctorate with the Departments of Linguistics and English Language, and Leadership and Management. I co-authored Managing International Partnerships and Alliances, [European Foundation for Quality Management 2001] and The Partnering Imperative: Making Business Partnerships Work, [Wiley 2003].


Photos by: Rubianca Photography (www.rubianca.com)

Images:  www.freeimages.co.uk


4 thoughts on “About”

  1. What an interesting and important subject! I have now shared the blog with colleagues. I look forward to interesting views and reflections. I hope, the fact that the blog is in English, will not prevent my Swedish or Spanish colleagues to write. This gives us immediately an example of how the ownership of a language can give you power.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Anette. Let us not hold back from speaking or writing because we worry about whether we are saying exactly the right thing, in exactly the right way. Many non-native speakers hold themselves in check and miss opportunities to influence and to lead. Someone else comes in, and they let it slide. Speaking (and not speaking) is one of the main themes coming through from the research and a topic I will address next.


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