Female leadership in communication management in Spain: making a difference in a sexist culture

Ileana Zeler*, Cristina Fuentes-Lara, Ángeles Moreno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to explore the position of women in the communication management sector in Spain from their own experiences. The study examines female communication and leadership styles, emphasising the cost of leadership in which they are leaders or led. Design/methodology/approach: This study used a qualitative methodology based on in-depth interviews with 22 women actively working in top companies and agencies: female communication directors, female employees with a female leader and female employees with a male leader. Data were analysed through thematic analysis. Findings: Results show mixed communication and leadership styles. In addition, the high level of self-demand of female communication managers stands out, making it challenging to achieve a work-life balance and the implementation of successful role models. Social implications: Exploring the factors of female leadership remains necessary to understand and make their situation in various industries and positions visible. It also helps remove barriers to leadership, guide organisations in addressing gender discrimination issues and develop mechanisms for the internal promotion of female professionals. Originality/value: To the best of authors' knowledge, this is the first study exploring the leadership and communication styles of women in the Spanish Public Relations (PR) and communication management industries. It also highlights the aspects influencing the cost of leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-92
Number of pages19
JournalCorporate Communications
Issue number5
Early online date28 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2022


  • Communication management
  • Gender
  • Leadership
  • Organisational culture
  • Workplace


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