Leadership, credibility and persuasion

A view from three public policy discourses

In: International Review of Pragmatics


This short paper makes a tentative attempt to capture the most salient of persuasion strategies engaged in the construction of leadership in three different yet apparently interrelated domains of public life and public policy, political communication, management/business discourse, and academic communication. It explores the cognitive underpinnings, as well as linguistic realizations, of such concepts/phenomena/mechanisms as consistency-building, source-tagging, forced conceptualizations by metaphor, and discursive neutralization of the cheater detection module in the discourse addressee. A preliminary conclusion from the analysis of these mechanisms is that the three discourses under investigation reveal striking conceptual similarities with regard to the main strategies of credibility-building and enactment of leadership. At the same time, they reveal differences at the linguistic level, i.e. regarding the types of lexical choices applied to realize a given strategy.

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