Charismatic Leadership and Rhetorical Competence: An Analysis of Steve Job’s Rhetoric

Loizos Heracleous1 and Laura Alexa Klaering2

Abstract
One of the primary ways leaders influence others is through their rhetoric.
Despite the clear link between charismatic leadership and rhetorical
competence, empirical studies of this link in the management field remain
sparse. We thus do not have a clear sense of the nature of the rhetoric
of charismatic leaders and whether or how they alter their rhetoric in
different situations. We conduct an in-depth case study of the rhetoric of
the late Steve Jobs, an acknowledged charismatic leader, to expand our
understanding of the fundamental link between charismatic leadership and
rhetorical competence. We found not only an integration of customization
to different audiences and situations but also continuity in central themes in
different rhetorical contexts, which may be a key attribute of the competence
of charismatic leaders. We also find that customized rhetorical strategies
are influenced by the leader’s perceived ethos (credibility) in the respective
situations, which in turn influences the extent of logos (appeal to logic) and
pathos (appeal to emotions) employed.

Keywords
charismatic leadership, rhetoric, situational context, ethos

Charismatic leaders are able to shape actors’ social realities and construct
meaning through how they communicate (Smircich & Morgan, 1982), in particular
their rhetorical competence (Hartog & Verburg, 1997; Shamir, Arthur,
& House, 1994). Through the use of rhetorical features such as central
themes, metaphor and framing, leaders shape followers’ social realities
(Conger, 1991) and enact the distinguishing features of charismatic leadership,
such as idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation,
and individualized consideration (Bass, 1996). However, despite some
insightful conceptual and empirical studies on organizational leaders’ rhetorical
competence (Conger, 1991; Conger & Kanungo, 1987; Hartog & Verburg,
1997), research on charismatic leadership in the management field has largely
overlooked the critical link to rhetoric (Conger, 1991, 1999). Indeed, the
majority of studies that have empirically investigated the link between leadership
and rhetoric focus on the speeches of political leaders (e.g., Beasley,
2004; Bligh & Hess, 2007; Bligh, Kohles, & Meindl, 2004; Shamir et al.,
1994), leaving understanding of this link in management and organizational
theory in rather shallow waters (Conger & Kanungo, 1987).
Organizational leaders engage in a variety of dialogical contexts with different
types of audiences, in some cases hostile, in others as defenders of their
company strategy, and in yet others as respected icons who share their wisdom.
Understanding leaders’ rhetoric in such diverse settings can thus help
expand our understanding of the fundamental link between charismatic leadership
and rhetorical competence.
Rhetoric as a field of study has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in management
and organization theory over the last few years (e.g., Green, Babb,
& Alpaslan, 2008; Hartelius & Browning, 2008; Jarzabkowski & Sillince,
2007; Jarzabkowski, Sillince, & Shaw, 2010). Understanding rhetoric is
important as rhetorical competence is not only a key attribute of leadership,
as noted above, but is also intimately bound up with its context (Bitzer, 1968)
and can have real effects on work arrangements such as how employees are
managed (Abrahamson, 1997), how organizations respond to stakeholder
concerns (Campbell, Follender, & Shane, 1998), or how organizations can
emphasize different aspects of their identity to help accomplish their strategic
objectives and achieve competitive advantage (Sillince, 2006).
As Hartelius and Browning (2008) observed, when rhetoric is not used as
a term that denotes empty words as contrasted with the substance of situations
(e.g., Cooney & Sewell, 2008), management scholars view rhetoric
variously as control and manipulation aimed at controlling employees, as a
resource for influencing institutional logics through various devices, as constructive
of group and organizational identities, or as a set of techniques and
approaches (such as the classical tropes of pathos, ethos, and logos) that can

be employed by managers to persuade stakeholders in the pragmatic pursuit
of goals.
In this article, we analyze the rhetorical discourse of Apple Inc.’s former
CEO, the late Steve Jobs, an acknowledged charismatic leader, in three different
contexts, to empirically explore how he employed rhetoric as an
“applied art of persuasion” (Heracleous, 2006a, p. 32). Our research aim is to
expand our understanding of the fundamental link between charismatic leadership
and rhetorical competence. Our research question is as follows:
Do charismatic leaders change their rhetoric in different contexts and if
yes, how do they do so?
In this way, we aim to contribute to both the understanding of the rhetorical
nature of charismatic leadership as well as to the field of rhetoric itself. We
identify the different rhetorical strategies (Hopkins & Reicher, 1997; Suddaby
& Greenwood, 2005) employed by Steve Jobs in different situations, including
his use of metaphor, recognized since Aristotle’s (1991) foundational treatise
on rhetoric as an essential aspect of rhetorical competence.
We find that Jobs’s rhetoric is characterized by an integration of customization
as well as continuity. Whereas the rhetorical style changes, the central
themes employed are similar across the three rhetorical situations studied,
and the root metaphors employed are similar across two of the three situations
studied (the third situation was characterized by an oppositional context
not conducive to employment of these metaphors, where Jobs aimed to be as
brief as possible, using mostly dead metaphors). We suggest that this ability
to customize the message to distinct audiences while consistently emphasizing
certain key messages through central themes and root metaphors may be
a key attribute of the rhetorical competence of charismatic leaders. We also
find that these rhetorical strategies are shaped by one of the principal dynamics
of rhetoric; ethos (the perceived credibility or character of the speaker),
which, in turn, influences the extent of logos (appeal to logic) and pathos
(appeal to emotion) employed. Whereas the role of context in rhetoric is pivotal,
the importance of ethos as an aspect of context that can shape rhetorical
strategies has not been recognized. The appendix contains a brief explanation
of the rhetorical terms employed in the analysis.
Charismatic Leadership as the Social Construction
of Meaning
Leadership is realized when an individual “succeeds in attempting to frame
and define the reality to others” through the foundational process of language
use (Smircich & Morgan, 1982, p. 258). Leaders can influence others
through processes such as the mobilization of meaning, articulation and

be employed by managers to persuade stakeholders in the pragmatic pursuit
of goals.
In this article, we analyze the rhetorical discourse of Apple Inc.’s former
CEO, the late Steve Jobs, an acknowledged charismatic leader, in three different
contexts, to empirically explore how he employed rhetoric as an
“applied art of persuasion” (Heracleous, 2006a, p. 32). Our research aim is to
expand our understanding of the fundamental link between charismatic leadership
and rhetorical competence. Our research question is as follows:
Do charismatic leaders change their rhetoric in different contexts and if
yes, how do they do so?
In this way, we aim to contribute to both the understanding of the rhetorical
nature of charismatic leadership as well as to the field of rhetoric itself. We
identify the different rhetorical strategies (Hopkins & Reicher, 1997; Suddaby
& Greenwood, 2005) employed by Steve Jobs in different situations, including
his use of metaphor, recognized since Aristotle’s (1991) foundational treatise
on rhetoric as an essential aspect of rhetorical competence.
We find that Jobs’s rhetoric is characterized by an integration of customization
as well as continuity. Whereas the rhetorical style changes, the central
themes employed are similar across the three rhetorical situations studied,
and the root metaphors employed are similar across two of the three situations
studied (the third situation was characterized by an oppositional context
not conducive to employment of these metaphors, where Jobs aimed to be as
brief as possible, using mostly dead metaphors). We suggest that this ability
to customize the message to distinct audiences while consistently emphasizing
certain key messages through central themes and root metaphors may be
a key attribute of the rhetorical competence of charismatic leaders. We also
find that these rhetorical strategies are shaped by one of the principal dynamics
of rhetoric; ethos (the perceived credibility or character of the speaker),
which, in turn, influences the extent of logos (appeal to logic) and pathos
(appeal to emotion) employed. Whereas the role of context in rhetoric is pivotal,
the importance of ethos as an aspect of context that can shape rhetorical
strategies has not been recognized. The appendix contains a brief explanation
of the rhetorical terms employed in the analysis.
Charismatic Leadership as the Social Construction
of Meaning
Leadership is realized when an individual “succeeds in attempting to frame
and define the reality to others” through the foundational process of language
use (Smircich & Morgan, 1982, p. 258). Leaders can influence others
through processes such as the mobilization of meaning, articulation and

interpreting the present and the past in terms of the group’s values and identity,
articulating an ideological mission, amplifying values and identities by using
labels, slogans, and metaphors, linking the amplified values and identities to
expected follower behaviors, and emphasizing the group’s or organization’s
uniqueness and importance. (p. 388)
Johnson and Dipboye (2008) found that both content and delivery have
effects on both the attributions of charismatic leadership by the audience, as
well as employees’ quality of performance on complex organizational tasks.
Use of metaphor is integral to the art of rhetoric. Aristotle (1991) provided
extensive discussions of metaphor (Book 3, Chapters 2-11) as an element of
rhetorical style, addressing the nature, aesthetics, and functions of metaphor.
The concern with metaphor as an element of rhetoric has persisted with later
rhetoricians who discussed issues such as how metaphorical effectiveness
could be evaluated (e.g., Booth, 1978) and the prevalence and persistence of
root metaphors drawn from human experience (e.g., Osborn, 1967).
In this context, a key aspect of the rhetoric of charismatic leaders is the use
of metaphor. Mio, Riggio, Levin, and Reese (2005) found that presidents who
were viewed as charismatic employed almost twice the number of metaphors
as presidents who were not. Amernic, Craig, and Tourish (2007) showed how
Jack Welch’s letters to shareholders were imbued with five root metaphors
aiming to frame social reality in support of his transformational views.
Seyranian and Bligh (2008) found that charismatic leaders employed vivid
metaphorical imagery to introduce social change in frame-breaking, framemoving,
and frame-realigning phases.
Powerful rhetoric, the ability to capture an audience through outstanding
oratorical skills, is thus tightly intertwined with charismatic leadership
(Awamleh & Gardner, 1999; Bryman, 1992; Conger, 1989; Hartog & Verburg,
1997; House & Shamir, 1993; Shamir et al., 1994; Sharma & Grant, 2011). In
this manuscript, we seek to take this understanding further by examining,
though an in-depth case analysis of Steve Jobs’s rhetoric, how rhetorical
crafting may change in different contexts, seeking to identify patterns of rhetorical
strategies and the rhetorical features that comprise these strategies.
Research Methodology
In the context of the rhetorical/metaphorical discourse analysis approach
described below, we analyzed three texts as follows: (a) an Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) deposition of Steve Jobs concerning stock
options backdating. This took place in March 2008 and is a 119-page document,
with a length of 18,394 words; (b) a CNBC interview with Steve Jobs

regarding Apple Inc.’s supplier shift from IBM to Intel. This was conducted
in June 2005 and is 521 words in length; and (c) a discussion with Steve Jobs
at Wall Street Journal’s “D8: All Things Digital Conference” regarding topical
issues in media and technology. This took place in June 2010 and the
transcript of Jobs’s interview was 12,006-words long.
Text Selection and Analytical Approach
We selected these texts because of their context and temporal diversity while
featuring the same charismatic leader, which allowed us to study rhetorical patterns
across these different situations. Specifically, the differences in the rhetorical
situation (in the first text, oppositional with low-ethos attribution to the
leader; in the second text fast-paced, tense, and inquisitive with medium ethos
attribution; and in the third text co-operative and pleasant within a sense of
community with high-ethos attribution, as outlined in Table 4), allowed us to
observe and understand both aspects of customization and continuity in Jobs’s
rhetorical style, including his use of central themes and root metaphors.
Of these elements, attribution of ethos was a key factor in our selection,
given our interest in the dynamics of rhetoric. We made our evaluation of
this element as follows: The D conference is an annual, usually sold-out
event organized by the Wall Street Journal in California, where global,
C-level technology leaders are invited to speak about the impact of digital
technologies on society. This context is one where high ethos is attributed to
the speakers. With respect to the SEC deposition, this is a context where witnesses
give sworn testimony that is transcribed for use in any later court
proceedings that may take place. A deposition takes place when the SEC is
investigating potential breaches of the law. In the SEC deposition where
Jobs spoke, Apple was under investigation for stock options backdating.
Backdating is an illegal practice, which allegedly occurred when Jobs was
CEO of Apple and could therefore be assumed to be potentially responsible.
The deposition is a situational context where low ethos was attributed to
Jobs. With respect to the CNBC interview, Jobs appeared as a CEO of a
listed company to explain a strategic decision of the company. This situation
represents a context where he was neither worshipped (as in the D8 conference)
or even admired, nor was he offering sworn testimony with respect to
a potential breach of the law for which he might have been responsible (as
in the SEC deposition). We therefore assumed that in this context medium
ethos was attributed to Jobs.
We read the full transcripts of these texts to get a sense of context and
rhetorical style, and selected three 500-word portions for detailed analysis for
each of texts 1 (SEC deposition) and 3 (D8 conference); we analyzed the full

transcript for text 2. These extracts related to important themes of the interview,
as shown in Table 1.
We studied these texts systematically and, initially, individually, which
then enabled the identification of emerging patterns across these three texts
in terms, for example, of the central themes and root metaphors employed.
We sought to understand the situational context and how Jobs himself was
seen in that context, so that we could explore whether ethos was influential
on the rhetorical styles employed. We sought to identify the various rhetorical
devices used as key aspects of Steve Jobs’s rhetorical strategies, which we
then investigated further to clarify the nature of the patterns observed. We
were conscious of the need to understand how the principal dynamics of rhetoric
(ethos, pathos, logos) operated and how these elements could potentially
help us explain the patterns of rhetorical strategies we observed.
The analytical approach we employed draws from the field of rhetoric
(Aristotle, 1991; Gill & Whedbee, 1997) as well as metaphorical analysis
(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Morgan, 1986; Oswick, Keenoy, & Grant, 2002). We
adopted a rhetorical orientation as rhetoric is the art of persuasion par excellence,
highly suited to the nature and purposes of charismatic leadership. Within
rhetorical analysis, we pay special attention to metaphor due to its centrality in
how actors make sense of the world (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), as well as its
status as a key element of rhetoric (Aristotle, 1991; Bryman, 1992). Below we
expand further on our rhetorical and metaphorical discourse analysis.
Rhetorical Analysis: Dynamics of Rhetoric and Root Metaphors
Our analysis was conducted within an interpretative approach to organizational
discourse (Heracleous & Barrett, 2001), which recognizes the role of language in
the social construction of reality (Berger & Luckmann, 1966) and accepts that

any phenomenon may be framed in multiple ways which indicate agents’ assumptions,
beliefs, and values. By discourse, we mean a body of texts that share key
structural features such as central themes, root metaphors, or rhetorical strategies
and are constructive of the subjects they address (Heracleous, 2006a). In our
analysis, we treated the three texts produced by Jobs at different situations and
points in time as a sample of his discourse and sought to identify the rhetorical
patterns occurring in these texts, so that we could expand our understanding of
the link between charismatic leadership and rhetorical competence.
Within an interpretative stance, context is vital to both the effectiveness of
rhetorical discourse (Bitzer, 1968) and its interpretative validity, given that
rhetoric must be suited to the context (Aristotle, 1991) and that context provides
resources for discursive interpretation (Giddens, 1979). In this study, we
examine rhetoric in the context, bearing in mind that features of context include
the situation and the audience, which, in turn, affect the rhetorical strategies
employed (Gill & Whedbee, 1997). The sensitivity to context allowed us to
examine the role of the principal dynamics of rhetoric, (ethos, logos, and
pathos), as key modes of persuasion (Aristotle, 1991; Haskins, 2004; Hyde,
2004). These elements, respectively, refer to the rhetor’s credibility, use of
logic in arguments, and ability to ignite the audience’s emotions (Aristotle,
1991). In this sense, we examined whether the situations in which Jobs produced
these texts were, for example, adversarial, where he was treated as a
potential defendant, implying low ethos (credibility) attributed to him, as in the
deposition. Or whether they were potentially tense and fast moving, where Jobs
had to justify his company’s strategic choices as a company leader (as in the
CNBC interview), where a medium level of ethos was attributed to him. Or,
finally, whether Jobs was seen as a charismatic leader and an icon of Silicon
Valley (as in the D8 conference), where a high level of ethos was attributed.
Apart from the rhetorical elements discussed above, we also explore the
use of more general rhetorical devices, including alliteration, antithesis, and
three-part-lists. All of these are rhetorical tactics intended to create a lasting
impression and a positive attitude in the minds of the audience with respect
to what the leader is rhetorically arguing for (Brown, 1977; Conger, 1991;
Fairhurst & Sarr, 1996; Heritage & Greatbatch, 1986).
As noted above, metaphor is not only central to how we make sense of the
world, as the seminal work by Lakoff and Johnson (1980) showed, but is also
a key element of rhetoric, being endemic to argumentation and storytelling
(Aristotle, 1991; Bryman, 1992). As Bryman (1992) suggested, the “deployment
of metaphor seems to be a striking feature of the oratory of many charismatic
leaders” (p. 61).
We adopt a constructionist view of metaphor (Black, 1979), within which
metaphor is seen as fundamental to thought and action (Lakoff & Johnson,

1980). From this perspective, metaphors, due to their multi-faceted nature,
can aid the understanding of complex and abstract organizational phenomena
through semantic leaps (Cornelissen, Kafouros, & Lock, 2005) and can
express and connect with an emotional dimension that lies beyond conscious
awareness in a way that would be unlikely through the use of literal language
(Srivastva & Barrett, 1988). Use of metaphors can lead to the creation of new
meaning through the creative juxtaposition of previously unrelated concepts,
as Morgan’s (1986) work demonstrates.
From the perspective of the rhetor, metaphors can be impactful, as they
appeal to various senses of the audience by challenging and engaging their
imagination, intellect, emotions, and values (Hartog & Verburg, 1997).
Metaphors can also appeal to people and groups with diverse interests, as
they are inherently ambiguous, and they convey a multiplicity of connotations
and meanings (Milne, Kearins, & Walton, 2006; Ortony, 1975). Because
metaphors operate below the radar of conscious examination, they can evoke
images and attitudes within subconscious experience, which can then be
manifested in more conscious awareness through talk and action (Marshak,
1993; Oswick & Montgomery, 1999). Root metaphors (deep-seated metaphors
that operate across texts to structure discourses) are often subconscious
and deeply embedded because they represent the underlying worldview that
shapes thinking and interpretations of the issues they refer to (Audebrand,
2010; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Smith & Eisenberg, 1987).
Analysis and Findings
Based on the discussion in the previous section, Table 2 gives a brief outline
of the assumptions underlying the analytical process and also examples of
indicative research. The table clarifies the links between charismatic leadership
and rhetorical competence, and provides a context for the analysis and
discussion that follows in this section.
Below we present the analysis and findings of the three texts, beginning
with the SEC deposition, followed by the CNBC interview, and concluding
with the D8 conference interview. We examine these texts as instances of
rhetorical competence by an acknowledged charismatic leader, to gain
insights into the exercise of charismatic leadership, and in particular the process
of the social construction of meaning.
Analysis of SEC Deposition
The first text, the SEC deposition, is essentially a pre-trial interrogation and
thus presupposes two opposing objectives by the parties, whereby the

examiner seeks to uncover maximum information and the witness aims to
reveal minimal information. Here, Jobs’s rhetorical style is generally descriptive,
formal, and restricted to the facts. Overall, his statements are kept brief
and are characterized by sparse use of rhetorical techniques. An extract is
given below:
Examiner: All right. Again, I know there is a lot here, so we’ll just talk
generally about your employment history then. Can we just sort of
briefly go over your employment history, I guess after 1973.
Steve Jobs: I was employed by Atari, maker of video games.
Examiner: What timeframe?
Steve Jobs: I don’t know. Early ’70s.
Examiner: Okay.
Steve Jobs: And then my partner, Steve Wozniak, and I started Apple
about 1975 or -6. And then I was basically fired from Apple about 10
years after that.
Examiner: Let me just stop you there then. In other words, it sounds like
what you’re saying is you started Apple in approximately 1975 or 1976.
Is that correct?

Steve Jobs: Yeah.
Examiner: And for 10 years you were with Apple?
Steve Jobs: Yes.
Examiner: And although I assume your responsibilities evolved over time,
could you generally describe what your duties or responsibilities were
over that 10-year period?
Steve Jobs: Mostly the product side of things, worrying about the products.
I was not the CEO during that time period.
Examiner: And when you say “worry about products,” would that be product
development?
Steve Jobs: Yes.
Examiner: — creation?
Steve Jobs: Yes. And—yes.

This rhetorical style aligns with the adversarial and potentially hostile
context of the deposition. Steve Jobs subsequently portrays himself as someone
who did not receive due recognition from the Board and employs the
rhetorical dynamic of pathos in an attempt to evoke sympathy from the audience,
and to present himself as a human being rather than an all-powerful
CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. The use of pathos is augmented here
when compared with the other dynamics of rhetoric (ethos and logos) because
the very nature of the deposition as an investigative procedure severely
reduces Jobs’s perceived high-ethos character. As we see below, when Jobs
sees an opportunity arising to elaborate on his core argument, he makes more
extensive use of rhetorical techniques to strengthen his message; this elaboration
is scant, however, in the deposition, which is overall characterized by
brief, matter-of-fact statements.
Steve Jobs: Well, it was a tough situation, you know. It wasn’t so much
about the money . . . But everybody likes to be recognized by their
peers, and the closest that I’ve got, or any CEO has, is their Board of
Directors. And as we’ve seen in the discussions of the past hour, I spent
a lot of time trying to take care of people at Apple and to, you know,
surprise and delight them with what a career at Apple could be—could
mean to them and their families. And I felt that the board wasn’t really
doing the same with me . . . So I was hurt, I suppose would be most
accurate word, and, you know, the board had given me some options,
but they were all underwater. They weren’t underwater necessarily
because of our performance, but, you know, the bubble had burst in the
dot-coms, and here I had been working, you know, I don’t know, 4
years, 5 years of my life and not seeing my family very much and stuff,
and I just felt like there is nobody looking out for me here, you know.

Jobs reveals that he suffered mental and emotional distress as a result of
what he saw as the Board of Directors’ lack of care for him as their CEO. He
also employs the people theme, a theme that is central to his whole discourse.
He reacts similarly when asked about the impetus of a grant of 4.8 million
shares that was awarded to selected members of the executive team:
Steve Jobs: Well, as you know, many companies have converted to using
RSU grants, restricted stock unit grants, to their senior employees in
the present day, but back then option grants were the norm. And Apple
was in a precarious situation in that we’d, you know, had the Internet
bubble bursting, and I thought that Apple’s executive team and the stability
of Apple’s executive team was one of its core strengths. And I
was very concerned because Michael Dell, one of our chief competitors,
had flown Fred Anderson, our CFO, down to Austin, I guess, him
and his, wife I think, to try to recruit him. And I was also concerned that
[—–] and [—–] (names deleted in official deposition transcript) two
very strong technical leaders, were also very vulnerable. So I was very
concerned that Apple could really suffer some big losses on its executive
team with the business environment we were in and the competitors
coming after our people.
Within the above excerpt, Jobs utilizes a number of rhetorical strategies to
augment his main argument, which is that Apple used the grant—the focus of
the investigation—as a retention tool. First, he notes that option grants were
“the norm” and hence a standard procedure in organizations, connoting that
Apple (and himself as CEO) acted in accordance with what is considered to
be socially accepted behavior. Next, Jobs refers to the external circumstances
that jeopardized the success of Apple. In so doing, he describes the hostile
situation that gave rise to his concerns about keeping key people, to make
Apple’s actions appear justifiable, reasonable, and normal to the audience. In
this context, he emphasizes that the stability of Apple’s executive team was at
risk. Through elaborating on his concerns for the company, and noting that he
worked for very little financial reward at Apple for years, Jobs portrays himself
as a self-sacrificing businessman who places the company above his own
interests.
The majority of the rhetorical techniques employed by Jobs in this text are
various forms of repetition, which serve as a means for amplification and
clarity and to create an emotional effect (Hartog & Verburg, 1997). Jobs, for
example, employs conduplicatio by using the word concerned and simultaneously
forms a three-part-list of issues he was concerned with for emphasis, to
describe his concern about Apple’s potential retention issues. He also employs

tautologia several times, repeating the difficult external circumstances and
the competitive threats Apple was confronted with using different words (the
appendix contains a brief explanation of the rhetorical terms employed here).
He utilizes intensifying adverbs, such as very, really, and big, to augment his
message.
The low-control and low-ethos position of Jobs in this context as well as
the expedient need to share as little information as possible in the context of
an investigation by the authorities grants him little leeway as a rhetorician.
He therefore responds by clarifying his stance in response to pointed, specific,
often repetitive questions, for which relatively literal language and the
effective use of repetition are appropriate, as opposed to building up a more
elaborate argument, where more complex rhetorical features would be
appropriate. Jobs mostly employs dead metaphors, metaphors that have been
used so often they have become taken for granted, and have lost their generative
power (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). His use of dead metaphors is consistent
with his attempt to use mostly literal language in his answers to avoid
any ambiguity or room for interpretation, both of which may lead to additional
questions with the possibility of ultimately undergoing a criminal
prosecution.
In this context, Jobs makes an effort to employ the rhetorical dynamic of
pathos, possibly aiming to invoke the audience’s emotions by triggering feelings
of sympathy. He does so through presenting himself in a vulnerable light
(through noting, for example, that he was a financially disadvantaged student
and that he got “fired” from Apple), by portraying himself as a victim (e.g.,
revealing his feelings of “hurt” and self-sacrifice, and his perception that
nobody was looking out for him including the Board), and by reminding the
audience of the adverse external circumstances (the difficult business environment,
fierce competition, and the danger of key executives being poached)
that made the extensive use of stock option grants a natural response.
Analysis of the CNBC Interview
The second text, the CNBC interview, concerns Apple’s strategic decision
to gradually minimize its business relationship with IBM as a supplier of
memory chips and instead enter into an extensive business relationship
with Intel. The interviewer quizzing Jobs on this decision exhibits a fastpaced,
provocative rhetorical style, while Steve Jobs adopts a composed,
explicatory, and more neutral style. The context is one of a tense situation,
characterized by the reciprocal efforts of interviewer and interviewee to
frame the situation in a specific way through their distinct use of rhetorical
style and language.

The analysis exposes the representations of two distinct social realities of
the two parties, as shown by the different root metaphors they employed,
which have very different connotations. The interviewer frames the Apple/
IBM relationship as “tempestuous,” and the process of separation as “unplugging.”
He subsequently suggests that Jobs had been “harshly critical” of IBM
and asks what IBM had “failed to come up with.” The interviewer’s root
metaphor, “business is war,” connotes conflict between Apple and IBM and
Apple’s decision as a result of this conflict. In contrast, Jobs puts forth the
idea that business success inevitably involves gradual change, where partners’
paths can gradually diverge, employing the root metaphor “business is
a journey,” and portraying Apple’s decision as a natural decision in the course
of doing business. The following extract illustrates the reciprocal framing
efforts:
Interviewer: Apple Computer is a company that does things in rather
unique and dramatic ways and it’s about to make a very dramatic move
in the technology business. It’s unplugging IBM after its tempestuous
10-year relationship and instead will use chips made by Intel from now
on.
Steve Jobs: Well, you know it’s not as dramatic as you’re characterizing it.
You know, we’ve got some great power PC products today and we’ve
even got some power PC machines in the pipeline which we haven’t
introduced yet. And this is gonna be a more gradual transition, I think
we’ll hopefully, when we meet with our developers a year from today,
we’ll have some Intel-based Macs in the marketplace, but its gonna
take maybe a 2-year transition.
In combination with dramatic, the word unique obtains a negative connotation
here, so that Apple’s change from IBM to Intel appears to be out of
the ordinary because it is framed as a drastic, forceful, and radical move. The
interviewer enhances this framing through the use of diacope, a repetition of
the word dramatic within the same sentence that he intensifies through the
amplifier adverb very. The interviewer’s use of the term unplugging connotes
a sudden termination of the relationship between Apple and IBM and his use
of tempestuous gives an implicit rationale for this sudden termination.
There are two main factors that lead us to interpret the interviewer’s language
as underlay by the root metaphor “business is war.” First, Apple’s decision
to change its supplier of chips from IBM to Intel was a strategic decision,
with very significant consequences for both IBM (negative) and Intel (positive).
The field of strategy and practitioners’ interpretations of the field and
their utterances have been shaped since the origins of the field by the root

metaphor “business is war” (Audebrand, 2010), which manifests particularly
in the context of strategic decisions involving significant resources as well as
winners and losers (Intel and IBM in this context, respectively). Second and
related, the terms associated with this root metaphor are consistent with competition
and aggression (Koller, 2004), and they manifest in language in different
ways. The interviewer uses terms such as tempestuous, unplugging,
dramatic move, harshly critical, and fail to come up with, which in this context
connote both competition and aggression, indicating the links between
the interviewer’s way of interpreting Apple’s decision and the “business is
war” root metaphor.
Countering the interviewer’s fairly aggressive stance, Steve Jobs’s response
is underlay by the “business is a journey” root metaphor as a vehicle to portray
Apple’s decision as involving a more gradual transition, in essence a technical
decision that is consistent with Apple’s and Intel’s product “roadmap,” in contrast
to IBM’s own “roadmap.” The decision is presented as essential to Apple’s
continuing development of “awesome products.” Jobs highlights the future
theme by referring to the future in three instances, in this way not only emphasizing
the incremental nature of the switch but also justifying the legitimacy of
the decision as important for Apple’s future competitiveness.
Interviewer: People who were in the room suggested that you were somewhat
harshly critical of IBM and its inability to deliver what you needed
at this point in your product development cycle. What did IBM fail to
come up with in your estimation?
Steve Jobs: You know we have a good relationship with IBM and they’ve
got a product roadmap and today the products are really good. But as
we look out into the future where we wanna go is maybe a little bit different.
We can envision some awesome products we wanna build for
our customers in the next few years and as we look out a year or two in
the future, Intel’s processor roadmap really aligns with where we
wanna go much more than any others. So that’s why I think why we’re
gonna begin this transition now and its gonna take 2 years, but I think
its gonna get us where we wanna be to build the kind of future products
we wanna build. Our products today—our products today are fine, but
it’s really you know a year or two down the future where we see some
issues.
Throughout his rhetorical turns, Jobs concentrates on the core message he
intends to bring across—that this change was not a sudden decision in the context
of conflict between Apple and IBM, related to inadequate performance by
IBM in their relationship, but rather a gradual shift, justified by product

“roadmaps,” aimed to support future development of great products by Apple.
His statement that Apple has “great power PC machines in the pipeline” simultaneously
displays the future theme, the product theme, and the journey metaphor.
Jobs supports the gradual nature of the shift through the future theme in
relation to the product theme, exploiting the mutually reinforcing effect of the
themes products and future within the underlying journey metaphor.
Table 3 juxtaposes Jobs’s responses to the interviewer’s questions to highlight
the re-framing process that Jobs employs as well as to show illustrations of how
the root metaphors of both interviewer and Jobs manifest in their language:
Due to the interdependent nature of dialog, which affects both parties to a
conversation, it emerges that Steve Jobs’s construction of the situation in the
end prevails and influences the interviewer’s construction away from the war
metaphor and toward the journey metaphor, as the following extract shows:
Interviewer: I know you’re not gonna give away any trade secrets here
but to the best that you can, describe where is it that you want to go

that Intel you know is willing to go along with, go along with you I
should say?
In sum, Jobs’s status here is as a company leader who is being quizzed on
a key company strategic decision and has to defend that decision. His rhetorical
style is composed, explicatory, and neutral; whereas the interviewer’s
style is pointed, fast-paced, and provocative. The interviewer’s underlying
root metaphor that frames his statements, as exhibited by the vocabulary he
employs, is business is war, whereas Jobs’s underlying root metaphor is business
is a journey, which reframes the situation in his terms. Jobs employs the
central themes of future, people, and product, themes that are endemic to his
discourse across texts.
Analysis of D8 Conference Interview
The third text, from the D8 conference, presents an instance in which the
discursive aims of Steve Jobs and the interviewer’s are akin, which results in
a more co-operative, mutually reinforcing dialogical situation. In this sense,
the D8 conference context is the opposite of the SEC deposition context. The
purpose of the interview at the D8 conference is to encourage Steve Jobs to
express his opinions and viewpoints freely, which results in Jobs, being the
dominant speaker throughout the interaction process. His status here is as a
respected expert sharing wisdom, an icon of Silicon Valley, within a situational
context that affords him high levels of ethos. His rhetorical style here
is courteous, entertaining, and informal, with substantial elaboration of
themes and with a broad use of rhetorical devices.
Jobs employs the journey metaphor in terms of a life journey, to illustrate
Apple’s strategy of focusing on a limited number of prospective opportunities
early in its life, and concentrating its resources on these prospects only.
He highlights the scarcity of resources and the importance of making the
right strategic choices and, in so doing, connects the journey metaphor to the
future theme:
Steve Jobs: The way we’ve succeeded is by choosing what horses to ride
really carefully, technically. We try to look for these technical vectors
that have a future and that are headed up and you know. Technology,
different pieces of technology kinda go in cycles, they have their
springs and summers and autumns and then they, you know, go to the
graveyard of technology. So we try to pick things that are in their
springs.

Consistent with the business is a journey metaphor, in saying that Apple
searches for “technical vectors” that have a future, Steve Jobs implies that
Apple bases its investment decisions on the direction and the magnitude or
significance of the available opportunities. A vector may also be defined as a
compass direction in which an aircraft or a ship moves, again connoting the
journey metaphor. The concept of “direction” is reinforced, as these vectors
ought to “have a future” and be “headed up,” in this way also introducing the
future theme.
Steve Jobs uses the four seasons as a metaphor for the product life cycle.
By stating that Apple chooses technologies “that are in their springs,” he
refers to the introduction phase of the product life cycle, a phase that is characterized
by high failure rates. This reference reiterates Steve Jobs’s main
point, which is to choose with great caution at the early stages of the product
life cycle. To enhance the meaning of this point, he replaces “winters” with
“graveyards of technology” and so creates a dark picture, which generates a
sharp contrast to the colorful imagery of “springs.” The product life cycle
originates from the biological life cycle, which, in turn, relates to the circleof-
life metaphor, where “spring” refers to birth and “graveyard of technology”
equals death. Jobs extends the circle-of-life metaphor when he describes
that Apple “was on its way to oblivion,” then struggled for “survival,” upon
which the company experienced a rebirth, which is indicated through the
expression “bring it back” as well as through a taken-for-granted understanding
shared with the audience, as Apple has been an incredibly successful
company after Jobs’s return.
Consistent with his other texts, Jobs elaborates on the people theme to
stress the intense collaboration at Apple:
Steve Jobs: There is tremendous teamwork at the top of the company,
which filters down to tremendous teamwork throughout the company.
Teamwork is dependent on trusting the other folks to come through
with their part without watching them all the time—but trusting that
they’re gonna come through with their parts. That’s what we do really
well. And we’re great at figuring out how to divide things up into these
great teams that we have and all work on the same thing, touch base
frequently and bring it all together into a product. We do that really
well.
Jobs stresses collaboration at Apple by continuously using the inclusive
pronoun “we” as well as referring to “teamwork” and “trust”; he also compliments
his employees generously. In the above passage, Jobs also makes
extensive use of the rhetorical device of repetition to facilitate recall; he

applies conduplicatio, the repetition of keywords as a means of emphasis
throughout the entire passage (“teamwork,” “trusting,” “great,” and “really
well”) and makes use of the effect of alliteration when mentioning “tremendous
teamwork.”
Jobs adapts his rhetorical style to the courteous, pleasant atmosphere of
the conference, in a context characterized by high levels of ethos. He exhibits
an entertaining, open, and expansive rhetorical style through employing a
wide range of rhetorical techniques, and relatively complex arguments whose
interplay heightens the effectiveness of his rhetoric through mutual reinforcement.
Jobs’s answers are expansive; he discusses what he deems to be relevant,
sometimes not even in direct response to the original question. This
license to be expansive is consistent with Jobs’s high-ethos status in the conference,
as opposed to the deposition for example. Jobs employs the root
metaphors of the circle of life and business is a journey and the central themes
of people, products and future; these central themes and root metaphors are
synergistic with each other and endemic. As structural elements of discourse,
central themes and root metaphors can persist over time, can apply to a variety
of situational contexts, and are constructive of their subjects (Heracleous,
2006b; Heracleous & Barrett, 2001). The main findings of the empirical analyses
are summarized in Table 4.
Discussion and Contributions
Following earlier studies highlighting the links between charismatic leadership
and rhetorical competence (e.g., Conger, 1991; Mio et al., 2005; Shamir
et al., 1994), our analysis of the rhetoric of an acknowledged charismatic
leader from a rhetorical and metaphorical discourse analysis perspective has
shed further light on this link. We provide further empirical evidence for this
link as well as for the dynamics of its operation, which has been scarce in the
management field. Specifically, by examining Jobs’s rhetoric in three different
situations, we found that he did not exhibit a single rhetorical style, but
rather altered it depending on the situation, particularly on the attributed
ethos of the situation. Furthermore, we found that Jobs balanced customization
with continuity, in effect employing similar central themes in different
situational contexts.
Limitations and Further Research
Despite the insights gained, our research has some limitations. The first one
is the small sample size and the limited number of contexts in which we study
rhetorical competence. This is a study of one charismatic leader, with a focus

on three rhetorical contexts (as outlined in Table 4). Given that this is an
exploratory, in-depth study, the limited sample size is appropriate and was
determined based on theoretical rather than statistical sampling. Having said
that, this sample size detracts from the generalizability of our findings. I
order to address this limitation, the insights gained can be explored in future
research, potentially in the context of multiple case studies (Eisenhardt,
1989), so as to strengthen generalizability.
The second limitation is that we do not have behavioral data on the effects
of the employment of rhetoric by charismatic leaders. Given that this is a
study of rhetoric based on textual data, we did not have access to such behavioral
data as the effects of rhetoric on the audience, therefore we could not
empirically identify the existence of charismatic leadership effects such as
individualized consideration or idealized influence (Bass, 1996). This is a
direction that could be employed in future research. In this case, we have
clarified the assumptions of our analytical process, in particular the links
between charismatic leadership and rhetorical competence. We focused on
identifying empirical data relating to rhetorical competence under the
assumption, based on previous research, that this is an indicator of the exercise
of charismatic leadership.
The third limitation is that the analysis was conducted in the tradition of
interpretive discourse analysis where there is no set number of steps or a
structured recipe. Rather, the process was one of hermeneutic exploration,
pattern-seeking, moving from textual fragments to the whole text and vice
versa, until saturation of understanding was reached (i.e., further iterations
did not lead to further insights). Hermeneutic methods afford the flexibility
for in-depth exploration of the data, but may make it difficult to replicate a
particular study. Future research therefore may seek to codify the analytical
approach in a more structured fashion to facilitate the generation of additive
knowledge.
Charismatic Leadership and Rhetorical Strategies
Our findings suggest that charisma is not an ineffable, magical quality as classically
understood, but can rather be seen as a consequence of the relationships
among leader, audience, and context (Klein & House, 1995). We show that
this relationship is one of social constructions of meaning, accomplished by
charismatic leaders through their rhetorical competence. In particular, we
extend the current understanding of the importance of rhetoric customization
by leaders (Conger, 1991; Shamir et al., 1994) and specify particular rhetorical
strategies showing how this customization can be carried out

These findings provide a different perspective on the treatment of rhetorical
strategies in prior research. For example, Heracleous (2006a, 2006b)
operationalized rhetorical strategies through analytical application of
enthymemes (rhetorical argumentations), Suddaby and Greenwood (2005) in
terms of institutional vocabularies and theorizations of change, and Sharma
and Grant (2011) in terms of a dramaturgical metaphor emphasizing management
of front and back stages. We extend the understanding of the nature of
rhetorical strategies, through our findings on the use of the classical dynamics
of rhetoric and on the balance between continuity and customization.
Furthermore, our findings reaffirm and extend the idea that the ability of
discourse to shape social reality is based primarily on discursive deep structures,
such as rhetorical strategies, which enshrine and reaffirm similar ideas
over time (Heracleous, 2006b). Discursive structures are “persistent features
of discourse, which transcend individual texts, speakers or authors, situational
contexts and communicative actions and pervade bodies of communicative
action as a whole and in the long term” (Heracleous & Barrett, 2001,
p. 758). As we found in our study of Steve Jobs’s rhetoric, such deep structures
include central themes (Kets de Vries & Miller, 1987; Thachankary,
1992), root metaphors (Audebrand, 2010; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Smith &
Eisenberg, 1987), and rhetorical strategies (Hopkins & Reicher, 1997).
Relationships Among the Classical Dynamics of Rhetoric
Our analysis shows that one element of the situation, the rhetorician’s perceived
ethos, is fundamental in offering clues as to the appropriate rhetorical
style to be employed. As Roberts (1954) noted, a leader’s ethos “may almost be
called the most effective means of persuasion he possesses” (p. 25). It has
indeed been suggested that rhetorical effectiveness is highest when ethos,
logos, and pathos are seen as simultaneous dimensions of arguments (Faure,
2010). Research suggests that there is a specific sequence of emphasis on these
dynamics of rhetoric at different stages of institutionalization processes; in the
first few years, pathos, followed by logos, and finally ethos (Green, 2004;
Green et al., 2008). What is the relationship among these rhetorical dynamics,
however, when employed simultaneously in leadership rhetoric? What happens,
for example, when perceived ethos is low, as in the SEC deposition?
To the best of our knowledge, prior empirical research on managerial rhetoric
has not yet examined the simultaneous interplay among the three dynamics
of rhetoric. Our data suggest that perceived ethos is a basic situational
feature, which structures the whole rhetorical dynamics. We found that Steve
Jobs’s perceived ethos in each rhetorical situation influenced the extent of
employment of logos and pathos.

The audience’s receptivity of the leader’s key message depends partially
on the leader’s perceived ethos. With respect to the deposition, its very nature
undermines authority and confidence, while placing honesty and trustworthiness
into question. In this situation, the less that is said, the better. We found
that Jobs’s rhetoric in this low-ethos situation emphasized pathos and deemphasized
logos. In this situation, Jobs skillfully managed to use his less
authoritative position to his advantage by portraying himself in a vulnerable
light, as an under-appreciated person with honorable goals putting the company
above his own interests, in an attempt to build an emotional bond with
the audience. Therefore, it may be hypothesized that when ethos is low, logos
may be de-emphasized and pathos highlighted as a potentially effective
means of persuasion.
We can see the CNBC interview as an intermediate situation, where attributed
ethos was medium, employment of logos was medium as far as the timeconstrained
situation allowed, and use of pathos also low, given the low level
of need for its employment.
In contrast to the deposition, in the D8 conference, Jobs was perceived as
a high-ethos character, employing his credibility to amplify the meaning of
his oratory, which led to the use of more complex and expansive rhetoric (a
higher use of logos) and little use of pathos. In high-ethos situations, the audience
is highly receptive to arguments by the rhetor, which may lead to a
higher use of logos and a low need to employ pathos. It may therefore be
hypothesized that when ethos is high, logos is emphasized, and pathos is deemphasized.
Table 4 summarizes the relationship among these rhetorical
dynamics.
Balancing Customization with Continuity in Leadership Rhetoric
As Shamir et al. (1994) noted, the message itself matters, not just the way it
is delivered, which reaffirms the classical definition of rhetoric that it is
essential to customize the message to particular audiences and situations.
Jarzabkowski and Sillince (2007), for example, found that rhetoric use in
context is an essential means of increasing stakeholders’ commitment to multiple
strategic goals, and that rhetorical congruence is important (rhetorical
congruence occurs when rhetoric is appropriate for contingencies and when
the different elements of rhetoric in use are balanced; Sillince, 2005). Sillince
(2006) showed how leaders can customize their rhetoric to emphasize different
aspects of the organization’s identity to different stakeholders, to achieve
their strategic objectives and build competitive advantage, while at the same
time supporting identities that can remain stable for years. We reinforce and
extend these understandings through our finding of a balance between

customization and continuity. We found that Jobs’s rhetoric exhibits both
continuity (in terms of central themes and root metaphors) as well as customization
(in terms of rhetorical style and emphasis on the principal dynamics
of rhetoric) to suit the circumstances. We can view this ability to effectively
integrate continuity and customization in a leader’s rhetoric as an important
competence of charismatic leadership, especially as the social construction of
reality by leaders necessitates persistent and consistent messages over time to
the various audiences (Berger & Luckmann, 1966).
In sum, we found first that Steve Jobs exhibited high proficiency in customizing
his rhetorical style to the broader contextual situation, but simultaneously
there were constant features in his rhetoric, in terms of central themes
and root metaphors, indicating that an important skill of charismatic leadership
may be the integration of continuity and customization in leadership
rhetoric. Second, we found that the customization process took place through
rhetorical strategies such as re-framing, selective emphasis on the principal
dynamics of rhetoric (ethos, pathos, logos), the level of precision or expansiveness
of the rhetoric, and the use of additional rhetorical devices, such as
amplification and repetition. In this context, we found that the driving factor
in the dynamics of rhetoric was Steve Jobs’s perceived ethos, which significantly
influenced the pattern of customization and has respective effects on
logos and pathos. When ethos was low, high levels of pathos were employed
and low levels of logos. When ethos was high, lower levels of pathos were
employed, and higher levels of logos.
Further research could establish whether the interrelations among the principal
dynamics of rhetoric found in this study hold for other charismatic leaders
and in different contexts. It could also explore whether the ability to integrate
customization and continuity through their rhetoric is a key capability of charismatic
leaders. Third, further research could explore what influences the
nature of the central themes and root metaphors employed by charismatic leaders.
Are these, for example, also influenced in some way by context, as is rhetorical
style? If so, do different charismatic leaders in similar industries or
organizations employ similar central themes and root metaphors?
Practical Implications
In terms of practical implications, this research highlights the need for leaders
to develop the competence to customize their rhetorical styles in accordance
with the characteristics of the audience as well as with the broader
context. As Conger (1998) suggested, leaders ought to have an “accurate
sense of [the] audience’s emotional state, and . . . adjust the tone of their arguments
accordingly” (p. 93). Our findings suggest that leaders should

specifically try to understand not only the emotional state of the audience but
also the level of their perceived ethos in that particular situation and then
adjust their rhetorical style accordingly. Given that effective language skills
can be learned (Bryman, 1992; Conger, 1991), organizational leaders may be
able to increase their self-awareness on their respective rhetorical styles and
consequently more consciously alter their rhetoric toward the context at hand.
Furthermore, leaders could gain a better understanding of how customization
of style can be accomplished; for example, through the use of re-framing,
of expansive or precise rhetoric, and specific rhetorical tools. One
example of re-framing from our data shows how Jobs responded to the CNBC
interviewer, in effect countering the interviewer’s use of the underlying metaphor
of business is war with his own metaphor, business is a journey, which
had the effect of presenting Apple’s decision to change suppliers as a natural,
un-contentious one in the normal course of business rather than a radical
break from an existing dominant supplier.
Furthermore, our findings also show that, while it is important to customize
rhetorical style, leaders can still proceed to share a constant message, no matter
what the context. This element of stability across situations is important for the
effectiveness of leaders in influencing followers or shaping their social reality
(Heracleous, 2006b; Smircich & Morgan, 1982). It would therefore be important
for leaders first to be clear about the central themes they wish to emphasize
and second to employ these across all rhetorical situations as far as possible. As
Sillince (2006) found, rhetoric is intimately linked to developing competitive
advantage and leaders can accomplish this through skillful balancing of continuity
and customization in their rhetorical performances.
Collectively, these findings help us go beyond a view of charismatic leadership
as a magical quality that cannot be explicated. We suggest that leaders
can learn these rhetorical skills and employ them to increase followers’ attributions
of charisma as well as their own effectiveness.
Appendix
Glossary of Rhetorical Terms
Alliteration: Recurrence of an initial consonant sound and sometimes a vowel
sound at the beginning of a number of successive words
Analogy: Reasoning or arguing from parallel cases
Anaphora: Repetition of same word or phrase at beginning of successive
clauses or verses
Antithesis: Conjoining contrasting ideas
Auxesis: Words or clauses placed in climatic order

Climax: A gradual increase in intensity of meaning with words arranged in
ascending order of importance
Commoratio: Emphasizing a strong point by repeating it several times in different
words
Conduplicaio: Repetition of a word or words in succeeding clauses
Denotatio: Dissuasion or advice to the contrary; used to express strong
emotion
Diacope: Repetition of a word with one or a few words in between
Dinumeratio: Amplifying a general fact or idea by giving all of its details;
offering a summary or recapitulation
Enthymeme: Rhetorical structures of argumentation that draw from the premises
already held by the audience in particular social contexts
Epimone: Frequent repetition of a phrase or question to dwell on a point
Ethos: Persuasive appeal based on the perceived character or credibility of
the rhetor
Hyperbole: An extravagant statement or the use of exaggerated terms for the
purpose of emphasis or heightened effect
Hypophora: Asking a question and immediately commenting upon it
Logos: A, means of persuasion by demonstration of the truth, real or apparent,
and through logical argumentation
Metaphor: Framing A in terms of B; assertion of identity between two
domains
Pathos: The means of persuasion that appeal to the audience’s emotions
Polyptoton: Repetition of words from the same root but with different endings
Synonymia: Amplification by synonym
Tautologia: Repetition of the same idea in different words
Source. Based on Lanham (1991).
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication
of this article.
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Author Biographies
Loizos Heracleous is Professor of Strategy and Organization at Warwick Business
School. He earned his PhD at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
His research interests include strategy from an organizational perspective, organizational
discourse and organization change and development.
Laura Alexa Klaering is Account Executive at Geometry Global. She graduated
with an MSc in Marketing and Strategy from Warwick Business School in 2010.