Traditional perceptions that view leadership as a top-down process are increasingly challenged by so-called critical perspectives that acknowledge that leadership may involve several people. This article explores a particular type of these other leadership constellations, namely co-leadership where members share several leadership responsibilities.
Drawing on more than twenty hours of authentic discourse data recorded in two workplaces in Hong Kong, we employ the analytical concepts of face and identity to identify and describe some of the complex processes through which co-leadership is enacted. Our particular focus is situations in which members of the co-leadership team disagree with each other.
Our findings indicate that co-leadership is a dynamic process in which both members position themselves and each other as leader and co-leader at different moments throughout an interaction. This dynamic nature can be captured particularly well by exploring how face-work and identity construction are accomplished in interlocutors' everyday workplace talk. (Co-leadership, identity, face, workplace discourse, Hong Kong)*