Title: A critical perspective on gender and paternalistic leadership in China

Authors: Martin Sposato

Addresses: Middlesex University, Dubai Knowledge Village, Block 17, Dubai, UAE

Abstract: Women have made significant social advancements in recent times in China, but as in most of the world they still face barriers to leadership positions. This is even (re)presented in the most popular indigenous Chinese theory of leadership: paternalistic leadership (PL). As a theory, PL overlooks the potential of women leaders. Acknowledging what may be understood as epistemological sexism, this article critically analyses PL as the dominant theoretical framework for the study of leadership in China. Gender bias is inherent within the theory, and even its name. This is identified as a key weakness for its application. The use of a postcolonial feminist leans to address this gender bias is introduced, applying concepts like othering, norm, and essentialism. This article highlights the utility of postcolonial feminism to PL studies by introducing a conceptual toolkit for future researchers.

Keywords: paternalistic leadership; postcolonial feminism; gender.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2021.113513

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2021 Vol.24 No.3, pp.417 - 428

Received: 19 Dec 2018
Accepted: 06 Jun 2019

Published online: 10 Mar 2021 *

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