Negotiating the tall poppy syndrome in New Zealand workplaces: Women leaders managing the challenge
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The ‘tall poppy syndrome’ (TPS) is one example of a societal constraint whose function in Australasia is to enforce society-wide ideologies such as egalitarianism and the gender order. The TPS acts as an enforcement mechanism which keeps self-promoting discourse in check. While carefully managed selfpromotion is permissible in some contexts, there are others where New Zealanders are expected to behave with modesty and humility. Using a social realist approach and drawing on data from four different professional contexts (a commercial company, a medical clinic, a government department and a nongovernmental organisation), this paper explores the discursive instantiation of the TPS in combination with potentially competing leader and gender identities as experienced by New Zealand women leaders. Finally, we ask if the pressure to conform to the egalitarian ethic, alongside other downplaying strategies, is gendered in New Zealand workplaces.
FuenteGender and Language, 11(1), 1-29
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