The transformational leader as pedagogue, physician, architect, commander, and saint: Five root metaphors in Jack Welch's letters to stockholders of General Electric

Amernic, J. and Craig, R. and Tourish, D. (2007) The transformational leader as pedagogue, physician, architect, commander, and saint: Five root metaphors in Jack Welch's letters to stockholders of General Electric. Human Relations, 60 (12). pp. 1839-1872. ISSN 0018 7267. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726707084916

Abstract

We analyse the corpus of CEO letters to stockholders that were signed by a widely revered business leader, Jack Welch, during his tenure as CEO of the General Electric Company [GE], 1981-2000. Our discussion is located within theory pertaining to transformational leadership. We examine Welch's language from the standpoint of how transformational leadership can be conceived as a rhetorical artefact of one-sided dialogue emanating from a powerful leader. We give particular attention to the saturation of Welch's discourse with metaphors, and argue that metaphors illuminate how transformational leadership and the accompanying construct of charisma manifest themselves in practice. Five root metaphors that heightened Welch's persuasive and rhetorical impact on his audience are identified and discussed: Welch as pedagogue, physician, architect, commander and saint. We advocate greater awareness of the rhetorical techniques employed by transformational leaders in attempts to broker compliance with their views.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: CEO discourse; general electric; Jack Welch; leadership; letters
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School > Industrial Relations/HRM
Depositing User: Rebecca Stevenson
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2010 11:59
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2012 12:31
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/23796 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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