The Personal and Professional Challenges Encountered by ‘Global Majority’ Individuals Experiencing and Practicing Leadership in the UK

Jackson, Lace Mahalia (2023). The Personal and Professional Challenges Encountered by ‘Global Majority’ Individuals Experiencing and Practicing Leadership in the UK. PhD thesis The Open University.



This PhD study explores leadership and identity as socially constructed phenomena within UK society and organisations. Extant organisation, leadership and identity literature offers some insight into the barriers to career progression and the lack of homophilous ties to critical leadership networks for marginalised groups. However, it does not account for the lived experience of global majority individuals or offer an in-depth explanation of the occluded reasons underpinning structural inequalities or social and material consequences. I interrogate such lived experiences and intrinsic reasons from a critical race perspective. Narrative and genre analysis are used to examine the semi-structured interviews of thirty-five global majority individuals. These interviews are assembled in an evocative narrative of leadership co-constructed by research participants and autoethnographic reflections from the author, with the author in the role of a native autoethnographer. The study finds that even though global majority leaders can thrive by drawing on cultural capital and relational leadership enactments, they still face profound barriers in their experience and practice of leadership. Consistent with Yiannis Gabriel’s work on genres in narratives, dominant genres of tragedy, comedy and epic drama feature highly in the analysis of participants’ leadership and identity construction. In addition, horror emerges as a prevailing genre signalling something quite unique to leadership experienced by global majority individuals within UK-based organisations, such as rootlessness and unbelonging. I present four themes linked to the experience of leadership and one concerning the practice of global majority individuals in response. The thesis's contribution focuses on how the perspectives of global majority people in the UK are often downplayed or ignored in the broader organisation, leadership, and identity literature. It urges future research that draws out this group's rich, challenging, and diverse experiences to build towards a more emancipatory view of the potential for leadership theory and practice.

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