Leading with words : Leadership rhetoric in modern organizations

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Ekonomihögskolan, ELNU

Author: Maria Kihlgren; [2010]

Keywords: vision; charisma; rhetoric; leadership;

Abstract: Within the business world, there are many examples of more or less successful leadership, but it is not always clear why some leaders are more effective than others. However, it is reasonable to believe that leaders’ successful usage of rhetoric can inspire an entire company and provide the followers with a sense of meaning and purpose, and that this will inspire them to perform towards the leader’s vision.   This thesis explores how successful business leaders apply rhetoric in their leadership. This is done trough a deductive research strategy, which means that the research is grounded in general theory. The theory is then compared to real cases in order to examine similar patterns in reality. Relevant leadership- and rhetoric theory have been applied to speeches preformed by successful business leaders to explore how they use rhetoric in their leadership.   The results suggest that successful business leaders use rhetoric in numerous ways when engaging followers towards accomplishment of their vision, such as classical speech disposition, vision articulation, frame alignment, change rhetoric, and a combination of speech content and delivery. Hence, the skilful use of rhetoric is evidently a critical component of successful leadership.

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