Identity work in female‐led creative businesses

Lynn Martin, Bob Jerrard, Lucy Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the identity work carried out by three female owner-managers in creative industry businesses, identified in Government reports as a discriminatory industrial sector for women in the UK. Through the development of narratives by the owners and other participants, observation of practice and review of online and offline materials, three cases emerged. These showed overlapping, different identities developed and performed through identity work. Each presented rational and logical persona as business leaders despite observation showing extensive use of intuition and gut feeling in both creative and entrepreneurial aspects of the business. Intuition and gut feeling were seen as inappropriate at work as they belonged to the home sphere, emotionally based and therefore automatically unreliable. While occupying male stereotypes and avoiding the female realm of emotion at work, these women expressed femininity through their emphasis on the maternal, ‘being a good mother' as a desired ideal being embedded in work as well as home practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-326
Number of pages17
JournalGender, Work & Organization
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • creative industries
  • entrepreneurship
  • gender
  • identity
  • innovation

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