This article aims to inspire international human resource management (IHRM) scholarship that incorporates postcolonial feminist theory, using the under-researched topic of paternalistic leadership and gender to illustrate the opportunities and challenges such an endeavour can present. Paternalistic leadership is an important and widely used indigenous framework for examining leadership in Chinese contexts, while postcolonial feminism holds the capacity to problematise the representation of non-western women in feminist theory as a universal, transhistorical category. As this article demonstrates, postcolonial feminist theory centralises cultural difference in theorising gender, strives toward shattering binaries reproduced by colonialism and imperialism (West/East, Western/Third World Woman) and generates indigenous, localised knowledge on non-western women. Three sites of enquiry are discussed: 1) Chinese feminisms and genders; 2) Chinese cultures and gender norms; 3) Voice, agency and the subaltern woman. This article provides research propositions for IHRM scholars to translate postcolonial femininst theory into research on paternalistic leadership and gender. Concluding, the article outlines implications for practice and sifts the discussion for the future avenues of research it signals.
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Sposato, MartinRumens, Nick
Oxford Brookes Business School
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