Enacting and negotiating power relations through teasing in distributed leadership constellations
This paper explores how power relations are enacted and negotiated in the largely under-researched non-hierarchal leadership constellation of distributed leadership. Drawing on more than 300 hours of audio-recorded interactions of a corpus of interdisciplinary research group meetings, we analyse how members of a team that does not have an officially assigned leader or chair regularly draw on teasing thereby enacting and reflecting, as well as sometimes challenging existing power relations. Findings show that the highly ambiguous discursive strategy of teasing enables all members, regardless of their official role or position, to contribute to the team’s leadership performance. However, findings also show that although teasing has the potential to facilitate more collaborative approaches to leadership, the ways in which power is actually enacted in our data resembles more traditional hierarchical leadership constellations.
Keywords: distributed leadership, power, teasing, leadership discourse, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), humour
Published online: 15 September 2016
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