Headhunters and the ‘ideal’ executive body

Susan Meriläinen, Janne Tienari, Anu Valtonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we adopt a critical perspective to study how executive search practices reproduce particular understandings of the ‘ideal’ executive body. We show how this disadvantages not only women but also men who are considered not to fit the ‘ideal’, and further demonstrate how search practices are embodied: how aesthetics, the senses and a sensorial way of knowing permeate the practices through which candidates are evaluated. We identify discourses on embodied co-presence, capabilities and voice in search consultants’ talk, and specify how notions of the ‘ideal’ executive body and embodied search practices become intertwined. We offer this contribution to the discussion on the body, gender and management and to research on executive search practice.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalOrganization
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management


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