Change Rhetoric and Politics


Course Objective

The objective for the Change Rhetoric and Politics course is that you
(1) show a critical mastery of core and state-of-the-art thinking in the
areas of institutional change, classic and contemporary rhetorical
theory, charismatic/transformational leadership, and framing
Knowledge). Further, this course aims to equip you in the application of
this knowledge such that you (2) understand the political (e.g., power,
multi-stakeholder) dimension of organizational change, and formulate
innovative ideas to frame a particular change initiative in such a way
that it minimizes political problems, making use of the theories and
tools acquired in this course. Last but not least, an important
objective of this course is for you to (3) develop a rhetocial ability,
that is an ability in the symbolic manipulation of the audience's
limited cognitive resources to persuade or "make known" meaning to
oneself and to others in order to influence action in the context of
organizational or institutional change.

Course Content

Effective change leaders are masters in the art of public speaking. In
this course you will take a plunge into the art of public speaking in
the context of convincing and mobilizing others to change. You will
learn about classical rhetorics in order to how to persuasively use
language to mobilize others. You will learn this through a combination
of rhetorical theory in a text book, lectures and academic articles
(e.g., the five canonical principles of rhetorics, institutional theory,
framing theory, charisma), through rhetorical analysis (i.e., analizing
speeches for rhetorical content, recognizing fallacies in
argumentation), and through repeated practicse in speech writing and
speech delivery. Apart from having obvious practical utility for
developing your future leadership capacity, this course is also
academically challenging because it bridges between micro-level theories
(e.g., linguistics and charismatic leadership) and macro-level theories
of institutional change (e.g., the institutional logics and open polity
perspectives). This means that we explicitly situate the persuasive use
of language within organizations that consist of mutiple stakeholders
with a diverse set of frames and interests, and within societies that
provide alternative cultural registers for what is (and what is not) a
'good' argument. This degree of complexity means that being a good
speaker is not enough. A leader must also be poliltically savvy, namely
to persuade others and to come a common understanding of what and why
things need to change in a multi-stakeholder organization, the change
leader needs to able to frame his/her message effectively to different
stakeholders, build coalitions and negotiate effectively.

Teaching Methods

6 lectures
12 work groups

Method of Assessment

Individual assignment
Written exam


16 academic articles
1 text book: "Corbett, E. P. J.., & Connors, R. J. (1999). Classical
rhetoric for the modern student (4th ed.). Oxford University Press."

Target Audience

This course is open to all students enrolled in the Business
Administration master (+ exchange students) and is part of the
Leadership and Change Management curriculum

Custom Course Registration

This course is open to all students enrolled in the Business Administration master (+ exchange students) and is part of the Leadership and Change Management curriculum

General Information

Course Code E_BA_CRPOL
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Course Coordinator dr. O.N. Solinger
Examiner dr. O.N. Solinger
Teaching Staff I.M. Brokerhof MPhil

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: