Women in public relations: Ascribed and avowed leadership identities and expectations

Abstract: Women who aspire to leadership positions in public relations have to develop political astuteness when it comes to addressing ascribed identities and expectations associated with gender and race. Through 51 in-depth interviews with women working in mid-management and senior-executive level positions in public relations in the U.S., this study provides new insights into women’s perceptions regarding the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed in public relations leadership. The study revealed some women’s preferences for contemporary management styles such as servant leadership and transformational leadership as well as barriers to advancement and influence, particular for women of color.