Advancing Theories of Women and Leadership

Academic Colloquium

May 18 - May 20, 2014
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah, U.S.A

Need and Purpose

Although there are many leadership frameworks, models, and theories, the majority of them were developed by men and are based on male-normed assumptions (Jogulu & Wood, 2006). There is clearly a gap in the literature in terms of individual and organizational leadership theories that focus on women. Thus, we are not able to answer important leadership questions confidently and the demand for insights about women and leadership continues to increase. To help address this gap, three scholars are organizing a two-day women and leadership theory building colloquium. The colloquium will catalyze the refinement and/or creation of scholarly theories, generate focused and sustained research agendas, and advance the next generation of research related to women’s leadership and leadership development for girls and women. These goals will be met by mobilizing new and established scholars toward theory development, connecting scholars from different institutions and disciplines, and stimulating rigorous and sustained scholarly research.


To maximize the impact of the Colloquium, participants were carefully selected. Multiple international calls for proposals were disseminated via listserves, and targeted invitations to recognized scholars were distributed. All interested participants (invited and self-nominated) submitted detailed proposals describing their background and research interests, as well as their reasons for participating. Each proposal was closely reviewed to confirm dedicated commitment and to maximize diversity in perspectives, research, and experiences. Selected participants were notified in November of 2013. Working teams based on interest area will be formed in January 2014.

In all, 70 people from around the world will collaborate together to advance women and leadership theory. Each participant has committed to an assertive and sustained research/theory building and publishing agenda on women and leadership. Collectively, the participants represent a diverse yet cohesive body of work from multiple disciplines and perspectives. In general, participants are one of three types of research scholar: (a) established women and leadership scholars, researchers, or theorists; (b) established scholars, researchers, and theorists in an area related or relevant to the women and leadership domain; or (c) new scholars (e.g., assistant professors, promising doctoral students) who know existing literature well and plan to engage assertively in women and leadership theory-building and research in upcoming years.

Design and Expected Outcomes


This will be a working colloquium, with the collaborative work expected to go back and forth between large group interactions and smaller working groups before, during, and after the event. To support this work, a Moodle site is being developed to share documents, co-create working papers, and provide the collaborative space needed to generate new knowledge across physical space and over time. The goal of the colloquium is to provide a structure and facilitation for critical dialogues to occur, but participants will be the catalyst to have their work and plans emerge throughout this collaborative process. Participants will self-select their focal area from one of five perspectives. The perspectives were selected based on an extensive review of the literature as well as solicited from participants. The perspectives or ‘lenses’ are:


This perspective focuses on the construction and internalization of a leader identity and suggests that identity creation is central to the process of becoming a leader. “Internalizing a leader identity entails a set of relational and social processes through which one comes to see oneself, and is seen by others, as a leader” (Ely, Ibarra, & Kolb, 2011, p. 476). Identity theory offers one way to understand the contextual constraints and affordances that define the development and enactment of leadership.

Leadership Purpose and/or Calling

This perspective focuses on purpose and values. “A leader’s identity is tied to his or her sense of purpose. Leaders are most effective when they pursue purposes that are aligned with their personal values and oriented toward advancing the collective good…a central part of…being seen as a leader is developing an elevated sense of purpose and conveying that sense to others” (Ely et al., 2011, p. 476).

Second-Generation Gender Bias

This perspective adopts a critical stance to focus on the hidden structural and cultural barriers to women as leaders. Moving beyond the explanation that the inequality is a result of intentional actions, this perspective focused on the “second-generations forms of gender bias, the powerful yet often invisible barriers to women’s advancement that arise from cultural beliefs about gender, as well as workplace structures, practices, and patterns of interaction that inadvertently favor men” (Ely et. al., 2011, p. 475).


This perspective focuses on the role of power and influence in women and leadership, and it often considers leadership in terms of the source and amount of power available to leaders. One of the best-known existing theories is French and Raven’s Forms of Power, but there are others as well. Importantly, although men and women often enact power differently, theories that explain what may be considered ‘feminine’ perspectives and practices of power are scarce. Scholars using these theories might, for example, include a critical interpretation of internal and external constraints, study the ability of female leaders to use persuasion, or focus on a myriad of other elements.


This perspective takes into account the many intersecting contexts, or intersectionalities, faced by women who aspire to be or are already leaders. Intersectionalities include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, ability, religion, and education and typically refer to systems of oppression and discrimination. This group will work on a theoretical framework seeking to explain how intersectionalities influence women’s and girls’ leadership aspirations and the factors that describe how some women and girls lead and/or develop leadership.

Teams will start working together in January 2014, and will meet together at Utah Valley University in May, 2014. The Colloquium will begin with scholarly presentations and end with discussions, networking, and collaboration. In between, full-group discussions and breakout sessions will be facilitated to build on the pre-work and create strategies for focused, sustained, and relevant empirical and/or conceptual research projects. If participants are interested in giving a short presentation on their women and leadership research, we will host a 2:00-5:00 p.m. space for scholarly (research/theory) presentations on Sunday afternoon (May 18, 2014) as a pre-colloquium activity. We will also provide seminar and conference rooms after the final luncheon on Tuesday for working teams to continue working if they would like to do so.

Expected Outcomes

Depending on what the teams chose as their goal, proximal outcomes may include one or more of the following: a clearer understanding of the literature gap, the beginning of new, collaborative, and sustained research agendas, components of a possible theory with commitment to move forward on theory-building research, and/or a set of hypotheses, logical statements, or one or several logic models. There is a possibility that, during the event, multiple teams may decide to create an integrated theory containing more than one perspective described above. More distal outcomes include the publication of a book titled “Advancing Theories of Women and Leadership” with chapters from colloquium participants and/or teams.

Colloquium Videos


Transportation and Accommodation

Sponsors (listed below) have generously agreed to cover general Colloquium costs and all participant meals (from dinner on May 18 through lunch on May 20, 2014). Participants will be responsible for transportation and lodging.


The Salt Lake City (SLC) International Airport is 45 miles north of Utah Valley University and the Hampton Inn (location of the Colloquium lodging). SLC airport is a major Delta hub and has direct flights from many US and some international cities. SLC services flights from all major airlines as well.

Ground Transportation

There are a number of ground transportation options to get from the airport to the hotel:


Express Shuttle is offering the Colloquium a special rate of $30 US for the first person and $15 US for each additional person in the same party, one way (up to 7 passengers). When making reservations (1-800-397-0773), please let the receptionist know that you are attending the Women & Leadership Colloquium. Reservations should be made at least 24 hours in advance whenever possible. Passengers can pay the driver by cash or credit card payments can be taken over the phone. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance to avoid a charge. The first regular shuttle leaves the Provo/Orem area at 3:30 am and the last regular shuttle leaves the airport at 1:00 am. Look for the sign that reads «Express Shuttle» at the "Ground Transportation Desk". The shared shuttle to the Provo/Orem area departs hourly at the top of the hour. For more information about the shuttle service, please visit the web site XPress Shuttle Utah

UTA Rail System

UTA Frontrunner Map Utah does have a Rail and Bus system; if you make your way to the Front Runner, you can get within a mile of the Hampton Inn. A bus would then get you to Utah Valley University. It may be an adventure, but if you have time and want to give it a try—you can probably make the trip for around $10-$12.

Car Rental

Information about renting cars at the SLC International Airport can be located here.


Taxi service is not a great option because it can cost around $100 for a 45-minute one-way trip. Reservations are needed for a return trip. More information can be found here.


The Hampton Inn is 0.2 miles from the Utah Valley University. There is a complimentary breakfast provided at the hotel, but there will also be a light breakfast at the Colloquium. The hotel offers an indoor swimming pool and Spa tub, 24-hour fitness facilities, and complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access. Utah Valley University and the Hampton Inn are right at a major freeway exit (off I-15) and there are eating establishments, gas stations, and a Wal-Mart within a block or so. The research presentations and opening meeting on the first day will be held at the hotel. The working sessions on days two and three will be on the UVU campus. The campus is within walking distance of the hotel, but a complementary hotel shuttle will be available as needed.

The Colloquium’s block of rooms at the Hampton Inn begins on Sunday, May 18. If you are interested in sharing a room, Candice Backus ( will be linking interested participants. There is another event in the hotel the 17th that prevented us from starting our rate block earlier. However, the rate will extend through Tuesday night to allow teams to take extra time together. If you do wish to arrive early, contact the hotel directly to check availability. Alternate accommodations include the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites and the La Quinta Inn & Suites. These are the next closest options and are both on University Parkway in Orem.




Our Generous Sponsors

Woodbury School of BusinessAzusa Pacific UniversityUtah State University Center for Women and GenderGeorgia Southern University College of Business AdministrationHERS - Higher Education Resource ServicesUniversity of Nebraska LincolnThe C. Charles Jackson FoundationStephens CollegeNC State University