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The Sick Body: Conceptualizing the Experience of Illness in Senior Leadership

  • Peter P. Ghin
Chapter

Abstract

There has been a proliferation of research that has explored the role of embodiment in leadership; however, a common feature of this literature is the assumption of ‘corporeal intactness’, that is, leaders’ bodies are treated as unfailingly healthy objects. Ghin suggests that this absence reflects a broader oversight in leadership scholarship to countenance the illness experience of those in formal positions of organizational power. He argues that the conceptualization of a ‘sick body’ challenges individualistic, masculine, and heroic characterizations of leadership, which have been stubbornly resistant to change and further emboldened by health discourses and practices that promote body mastery. Revealing the sick-bodied leader enables a different leadership discourse to emerge, one that recognizes the universality of the illness experience and ordinariness of leaders’ bodies.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Workplace Leadership, Department of Management and MarketingUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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