Journal Article

Conceptualizing and disrupting heteronormativity as performative in management education : speech acts and LGBTQ* injurious language


A slowly expanding literature has examined the problem of heteronormativity in management education. Scholars converge on the view that heteronormativity is constituted in and through management education, reproducing heteronormative binaristic notions of sexuality and gender in management curricula, teaching activities, academic scholarship and business schools. This research has demonstrated the negative outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer* (LGBTQ*) people, but questions remain about how heteronormativity is constituted as normative in management education. Addressing this, our essay demonstrates how heteronormativity is performatively constituted as normative through language, and what management educators can do to disrupt it. Analytically, Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, which emphasizes the constitutive power of language and repetition of speech acts, is pivotal to conceptualizing heteronormativity as performative. This essay interrogates the performative effects of LGBTQ* injurious speech acts, lamented by scholars as ubiquitous and harmful, showing how they constitute and sustain heteronormativity as normative in management education. Remedying this, our proposal derives insight from Butler’s ideas about reworking the power of injurious speech to inform management educators how they can disrupt the performativity of heteronormativity. In essence, this essay contributes novel theoretical ideas about conceptualizing and disrupting the performativity of heteronormativity in management education.

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Rumens, Nick
Lewis, Patricia

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford Brookes Business School


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-01-05

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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