Consuming passions': Women and leadership in times of uncertainty

Year: 1996

Author: Blackmore, Jill, Sachs, Judyth

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper we are concerned with investigating the broad question what are the experiences of women in leadership in schools? Drawing on current ARC funded research in schools in Queensland and Victoria we argue that in mainstream organisational and leadership theory, leadership is always treated as a technical and intellectual skill. What is missing in these accounts are issues of sexuality, the body, and emotion. While we will deal with issues of sexuality and the body in later work, in this paper we focus on the emotional aspects of leadership in a time of educational restructuring at the system and school level.

We explore the contradiction between how management in greedy institutions tends to intellectualise and technologise leadership while simultaneously it both exploits and manages the emotions of women educational leaders, their desires, pleasures and ambitions. At the same time it disa11ows them to publicly show the negative emotions of fear, frustration and anger arising out of times of uncertainty, ambiguity and rapid change. This not only has significant implications for women principals' work satisfaction but also for the forms of system wide support and their professional development.