Portsmouth Business School

Gender and Leadership

The research in the area of leadership thought focusses on gender equality in leadership and management. We study organizational behaviours and cultures which support and inhibit women’s career trajectories. The research aims to improve our understanding of barriers and enablers to female career progression into leadership and management positions. In so doing we seek to assist organizations to achieve gender equality, manage talent and create a working environment where employees, irrespective of gender, feel valued and make a contribution to the organization.

Our research is multi-disciplinary in nature drawing upon leadership, management, business and organisational studies, political science, social policy, public administration, sociology, psychology, law and economics. Our research employs mixed methodologies of both qualitative and quantitative methods. We aim to provide academic and practitioner communities on how to improve the representation of women in leadership and management positions.

The research team is led by Professor Karen Johnston. She is an internationally respected academic having published numerous journal articles, books and book chapter on women in leadership and management. In addition, Professor Johnston has undertaken research for government organizations, the NHS, further and higher educational institutions, protective services and professional bodies on gender equality and to meet the regulatory requirements of the Gender Equality Duty. For example, her research informed the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s Diversity Strategy for 2007-2012; greater awareness of gender inequality in the education sector (see LFHE In Practice, Issue 9); and stimulated public debate of the enablers and barriers to female career progression within the education sector. Her research was also adopted by the United Nations Development Programme on the representation of women in the public sector in a presentation of Gender and Public Administration by Soma Chakrabarti Fezzardi to the UNDP. She has been recognised for her research excellence in this area in the UK’s Research Excellence Framework 2014 and by being made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

For further information on research outputs, please click this link.