Postgraduate Researcher

Postgraduate Researchers, Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC), Work and Employment Relations, Management
Thesis Title: Gendered Discourse and Female Representation on Corporate Boards: A Critical Discourse Analysis


Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship


MSc Organisational Psychology, University of Leeds

BASc Honours Psychology, University of Guelph Ontario

Professional Memberships

British Psychological Society


During my Undergraduate degree I was selected to assist in research examining the social and political effects of framing racism and prejudice in first year textbooks. My role involved the collection, analysis, and synthesis of introductory textbook narratives.  Using qualitative methods, I created a critical review surrounding the existing narratives within these texts, focusing on the framing of prejudice and racism and the potential impact on social discourse and cultural understanding.

I was later employed in a research lab examining the impact of felt trust on workplace behaviour.  Being involved in a project requiring methods of deception gave me an insightful view on the importance of research practice and high ethical standards.

During my MSc, I gained experience in change management projects within existing Leeds organisations.  I used quantitative research methods to examine potential areas of change for organisations, as well as how to best manage the change within financial limitations.


Thesis Title

Gendered Discourse and Female Representation on Corporate Boards: A Critical Discourse Analysis


Jennifer Tomlinson, Jean Clarke


Gender; quotas; management; equality; inequality; power relations; linguistics; discourse.

Thesis Summary

Corporate boards continue to be dominated by men on a global scale, despite recent improvements in gender equality.  More specifically, although there are more women in professional and managerial positions than ever before, women remain underrepresented at the top rungs of the corporate ladder.  In order to counter these gender biases, researchers have approached the issue from varying perspectives to enforce gender management techniques, from an increase in pressure from equal rights activist on corporations to lawful gender quotas employed at government level.  However, these regulation techniques have mixed results in creating both a successfully diverse board and an improved attitude towards the women who take up the positions.

My research aims to identify and critique current techniques for implementing gender diversity methods within a discursive framework.  The study hopes to emphasize the discursive reproduction of gender stereotypes and unequal social orders between men and women on individual boards in the United Kingdom.  Discourse is an essential part of socio-cultural practices, and my research hopes to connect organisational social contexts and the gendered discourse surrounding corporate board appointments.  I aim to answer the question: how does the discourse surrounding the implementation of interventions contribute to the overall gendered culture of corporate boards?  I concentrate on the ways existing board members discursively represent their experiences with gender regulation.  These findings will help researchers understand the impact of intervention method discourse on gendered organisational culture, and ultimately eliminate the attitudinal and structural barriers that women experience as they climb the corporate ladder.   

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