Doing authenticity: The gendered construction of authentic leadership

Helena Liu*, Leanne Cutcher, David Grant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Authenticity has been a focus of much leadership research in recent years. Despite this interest, there has been a dearth of studies that explore the role of gender in the social construction of authenticity. To date, authentic leadership theories have tended to be either gender neutral or, where gender has been considered, it is argued that women as 'outsiders' are less likely to be accepted by their followers as authentic leaders. In this study we examine the media representations of the CEOs - one male, one female - of two major Australian retail banks during the global financial crisis. Our approach enables us to show that authenticity is something leaders 'do' rather than something they 'have' or 'are', and that being constructed as authentic depends on the leader performing authenticity in line with gender norms deemed appropriate for the socially constructed context in which they are expected to lead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-255
Number of pages19
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


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