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The reluctant rhetorician: Senior managers as rhetoricians in a strategic change context
Lund University.
2010 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, ISSN 0953-4814, E-ISSN 1758-7816, Vol. 23, no 2, p. 137-144Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

– This paper explores strategic change communication, framed by the idea that managers can be viewed as rhetoricians. The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss senior managers' subjective experiences of rhetorical aspects of change management.

Design/methodology/approach

– The paper draws on a case study from ABB Sweden (a power and automation technology company). In‐depth interviews with senior managers, with vast experience of change management, constitute the empirical source.

Findings

– The most important finding is the managers' overall reluctance towards rhetoric. According to the managers in this study, a rhetorician is an over‐enthusiastic person who “waves his arms when speaking”. To master the art of rhetoric is not believed to be of particular importance when managing strategic change.

Research limitations/implications

– Senior managers' potentially negative attitude concerning rhetoric should be taken into account when researchers situate change management within a rhetorical frame.

Practical implications

– Given the large interest in “efficient” communication, generally managers should be encouraged to overcome their reluctance towards rhetoric to improve their ability to “manage meaning” constructively.

Originality/value

– This paper contributes to change management communication insofar as it gives voice to the individual manager. This voice indicates; in a time when rhetoric, storytelling, and charismatic leadership are making ground; that the understanding of rhetoric is much more limited than the general impression might suggest.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2010. Vol. 23, no 2, p. 137-144
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-73308DOI: 10.1108/09534811011031300OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-73308DiVA, id: diva2:1200003
Available from: 2018-04-23 Created: 2018-04-23 Last updated: 2018-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, Tomas

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf