A study of the discourse of leaders and managers

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

A study of the discourse of leaders and managers


Author: Fan, Hing-man Heidi
Title: A study of the discourse of leaders and managers
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2001
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Discourse analysis
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: vi, 80 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1608262
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/3582
Abstract: Nowadays, the study of leadership has an important impact on organizations in the business world. Organizations are continually searching for successful leaders in order to turn themselves around. Managers are easy to find, but leaders are not. We have too many of the former, but too few of the latter. Whereas "transactional" leadership consists of a set of contractual exchanges, more recent leadership research takes a different view that focuses on empowerment, influence and motivation. "Transformational" leadership has become the essence of business management today, employing both cognitive and interpersonal skills on the part of leaders to gain the support of followers. How do followers perceive some leaders to have the cognitive and interpersonal capabilities and others not? It appears likely that this is done on the basis of a leader's apparent vision and their ability to communicate it. Research suggests that there is a close correlation between visionary and rhetorical skills. Charismatic leaders are almost invariably seen as organizational reformers or entrepreneurs. In other words, they act as agents for innovative and radical change. It is thus the role of the leader to heighten followers' awareness about the importance and value of designated goals and the means to achieve them. Vision by itself is insufficient. It must be effectively articulated in ways that can be seen and heard by followers as positive and meaningful. So, leaders need to have the interpersonal skills to communicate effectively. By using certain rhetorical devices and language skills, leaders are able to inspire and motivate followers to work towards a particular goal. It seems likely that charismatic leadership requires cognitive, interpersonal, communicative and technical skills, along with a large degree of vision. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether these intuitions have any basis in fact. In order to do this, I shall study differences in the attributes of managers and leaders, specifically in relation to the ways in which they communicate.

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