MILLER, CAROLE-ANN (2022) The Transformative Power of Re-storying Childhood Trauma: A Life Span Approach to Understanding Posttrauma Leadership and Posttrauma Leadership Identity Construction Processes. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
We are living in a culture of trauma, with media depicting psychological trauma, crisis, destruction and mayhem almost daily. Yet, while much is known and communicated about the harmful effects of trauma, less is understood about positive growth post-trauma. Studies have demonstrated the possibility for individuals to experience posttraumatic growth. An equally substantive amount of management studies has explored leader identity and development. However, few studies have examined the effects of childhood trauma on the identity construction process, post-trauma leadership identity or leader development over the life span.
Using narrative inquiry to capture rich data and thematic analysis to identify themes related to the construction of their leadership identities, this study investigated the lived experiences of eight women who - despite histories of early childhood sexual abuse - ascended to top senior leadership levels. The aims of the study were to 1) explore how the participants were able to re-story their childhood trauma in positive ways, 2) investigate the influence of their childhood trauma on the construction of their personal and leader identities over their life span and 3) understand the formation of identity motives and competences related to their trauma, and their relevancy to the participants’ corporate success.
The study reveals how the participants used narrative and re-storying to make sense of their early childhood experiences and how they influenced their leader identity development. It offers further insights into how these transformative narrative identity re-storying processes shaped their evolving life stories and influenced the construction of their personal and leader identities, life trajectories, and contribution to their corporate success. This work contributes to posttraumatic growth and narrative identity theories, with broader implications for leadership development, posttrauma leadership and leader identity construction over the life span while offering mitigating strategies for therapeutic practice.
|Doctor of Philosophy
|narrative identity, posttrauma leadership, posttrauma identity construction process, early childhood trauma, lifespan approach to leadership, posttraumatic growth
|Faculty and Department:
|Faculty of Business > Management and Marketing, Department of
|Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
|22 Sep 2022 09:04