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PAD members are very active in researching the various forms and aspects of leadership. Our work highlights the benefits of discursive approaches to leadership, and conceptualises leadership as an activity or a performance rather than an attribute or a list of trades. Most of our current work on leadership evolves around the following topics:

  • leadership in international crises, and issues around questions of who makes claims for leadership, how are they legitimised or challenged, and by whom?
  • the complex relationship between leadership and culture, and the question of whether leadership is indeed a cultural activity and how ways of doing and perceiving leadership may be related to culture;
  • non-traditional leadership constellations, and explorations of how leadership is accomplished in teams where leadership is shared among members such as forms of distributed leadership and co-leadership;
  • analyses around how leader identities are always to some extent co-constructed and may also be challenged and resisted;
  • leadership and gender, with a particular emphasis on the role of discourse in relation to the issues that many women in leadership positions worldwide face;
  • leadership and teamwork, including the close relationship between these concepts, and the ways in which talking about them may be relevant in a job interview; and
  • the interesting although perhaps slightly unorthodox topic of leadership and humour including the multiple benefits of humour for leadership.

While PAD members are engaged in various projects around leadership, two of our most recent projects are:

  • Crisis leadership in global governance (CLiGG): Malcolm MacDonald and Stephanie Schnurr together with colleagues from the Department of Politics and International Studies are working on an RDF funded project on Crisis Leadership in Global Governance that explores issues of leadership in the context of international security and economic crises. (for more information please visit the CLiGG homepage).
  • Exploring the role of culture in leadership discourse in Hong Kong workplaces: Together with a colleague from the University of Hong Kong, Stephanie Schnurr is critically investigating the role of culture in leadership discourse in a range of multicultural workplaces in Hong Kong.
  • Jo Angouri and Doris Schedlitzki (Bristol Business School) are involved in an ongoing longitudinal ethnographic project on the enactment of leadership in an organisation that is transitioning from a small to a medium sized enterprise. Their work problematises current understandings of the ‘leadership’ notion and focuses on the dynamic relationship between perceptions of leadership, blame and responsibility.