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Working with Language: A Refocused Research Agenda for Cultural Leadership Studies

Schedlitzki, Doris; Ahonen, Pasi; Wankhade, Paresh; Edwards, Gareth; Gaggiotti, Hugo


Doris Schedlitzki
Associate Professor in Organisational Leadership

Pasi Ahonen

Paresh Wankhade

Gareth Edwards
Professor of Leadership and Community Studies

Hugo Gaggiotti
Associate Professor in Human Resource Management


© 2016 British Academy of Management and John Wiley & Sons Ltd This paper critically reviews existing contributions from the field of cultural leadership studies with a view to highlighting the conceptual and methodological limitations of the dominant etic, cross-cultural approach in leadership studies and illuminating implications of the relative dominance and unreflective use of the English language as the academic and business lingua franca within this field. It subsequently outlines the negative implications of overlooking cultural and linguistic multiplicity for an understanding of culturally sensitive leadership practices. In drawing on lessons from this critical review and the emergent fields of emic, non-positivist cultural leadership studies, this analysis argues that the field of cultural leadership studies requires an alternative research agenda focused on language multiplicity, which enables the field to move towards emic, qualitative research that helps to empower individual cultural voices and explore cultural intra- and interrelationships, tensions and paradoxes embedded in leadership processes. The paper concludes by offering suggestions on methodological approaches for emic cultural leadership studies that are centred on the exploration of language as a cultural voice.


Schedlitzki, D., Ahonen, P., Edwards, G., Gaggiotti, H., & Wankhade, P. (2017). Working with Language: A Refocused Research Agenda for Cultural Leadership Studies. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(2), 237-257.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 15, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 19, 2016
Publication Date Apr 1, 2017
Journal International Journal of Management Reviews
Print ISSN 1460-8545
Electronic ISSN 1468-2370
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 237-257
Keywords leadership, culture, language, multiplicity, methodology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Schedlitzki, D., Ahonen, P., Edwards, G., Gaggiotti, H. and Wankhade, P. (2016) Working with language: A refocused research agenda for cultural leadership studies. International Journal of Management Reviews, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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