Research Handbook of Global Leadership
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Research Handbook of Global Leadership

Making a Difference

Edited by Lena Zander

The Research Handbook of Global Leadership is an exciting new Handbook that brings together an international, prominent group of scholars to take a fresh look at global leadership, and query why and how global leaders can make a difference in our world both today and in the future.
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Chapter 22: Intersectional interventions in leadership education

Åsa-Karin Engstrand


Global leadership research and teaching could be developed further with insights from intersectionality research. An intersectional perspective opens up for complexity in cultural constructs, meaning that class, gender, ethnicity and other social categorizations are significant when we research culture. During the first part of the 2000s, research with an intersectional approach gained ground in organization, management and leadership studies and scholars have increasingly emphasized the benefits of bringing in diversity and intersectionality into leadership and management research. Still, popular textbooks on leadership may talk about women, but ignore race and ethnicity and other identities. Arguably, both leadership research and leadership teaching could benefit from a more complex analysis of the role of men’s and women’s multiple identities in this respect. The chapter discusses the contribution of such an analysis in teaching, in particular by reflecting on the author’s experiences of teaching undergraduate business students in Sweden. The chapter includes a review of previous research on leadership and intersectionality, the results of an assignment in which students are asked to analyze how intersections of gender, ethnicity, race, age and other social identities operate in leadership constructions in the media and reflections on the possibilities and limitations of the pedagogical approach. The chapter is meant to work as an inspirational note for anyone within the leadership field who aspires to make a difference.

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