Policy and leadership as practice: Senior women academics and the "risky business" of diversity policies in enterprise universities

Year: 2007

Author: Wilkinson, Jane

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper explores the ways in which senior female academics' leadership practices are informed and negotiated in relation to a multiplicity of fields. While policy is one of those fields and has a hegemonic hold on representations of women's work, it is not the sole site in which many women leaders operate, nor the most important in guiding the practices they produce. Drawing upon case studies of senior academic woman leaders, the paper examines the strategic ways in which they draw upon a variety of logics of practices from fields such as academia, feminism and the 'private realm', amongst others. The case studies examine how the women's leadership practices contest the emergent logic of practice of neoliberal notions of management which underpin the academic field. Such contestation can be considered one of the 'subaltern' consequences of policy regimes and form an integral part of policy fields.