Organizational oratory as the art of addressing multiple and mutually antagonistic audiences

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Abstract

Purpose:
The purpose of this paper is to investigate how organizational orators cope with situations where they must simultaneously address several audiences with clashing interests, conflicting identities and contradictory interpretations of crucial issues.

Design/methodology/approach:
The paper draws on both the classical rhetorical tradition and various contemporary disciplines to delineate, conceptualize and critically discuss a repertoire of rhetorical strategies for dealing with composite audiences.

Findings:
There are at least nine distinct strategies for dealing with the problem. Most of them make problematic assumptions about audiences. The most promising strategy involves shifting and blending frames.

Practical implications:
Most managers will sometimes stand in situations where they have to cope with multiple and mutually antagonistic audiences. This paper provides practical suggestions for how to go about it.

Originality/value:
The paper isolates and investigates a problem that was largely overlooked by classical rhetoricians, and contemporary scholars still underestimate its ubiquity, its complexity and its urgency. Apart from improving our grasp of the problem, the paper provides a comprehensive overview of potential solutions, and shows their shortcomings.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Organizational Change Management
Vol/bind32
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)282-295
Antal sider13
ISSN0953-4814
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2 apr. 2019

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