Book Review: Leadership Talk: A Discourse Approach to Leader Emergence

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Walker, R., & Aritz, J. (2014). Leadership talk: A discourse approach to leader emergence. New York, NY: Business Expert Press. 150 pp. $43.95 paperback, $19.99 digital.

The review by Sky Marsen of the University of Southern California is published in the January 2015 issue of International Journal of Business Communication.

From the review:

Leadership is increasingly becoming one of the most valued concepts in contemporary society—one that is theorized, discussed, and deconstructed in BPCQ/IJBC3.inddmany fields, ranging from academic monographs to popular media articles. In some contexts, such as many Western individualistic societies, leadership is equated with personal charisma and power. In other contexts, leadership may be viewed as a mode of behavior that can foster ethical or collectivist principles and lead to the betterment of society. Robyn Walker and Jolanta Aritz’s book, Leadership Talk: A Discourse Approach to Leader Emergence, sees leadership as a mode of communication and examines it from the perspective of language use and discourse patterns.

The work’s main tenet is that leadership—defined succinctly as the ability to influence others—emerges through communicative practice rather than personality attributes or psychological disposition. This position suggests that individuals must be attributed leadership status by their followers, and they must continually enact this status through their performance in everyday communicative activities. The authors convincingly argue that leadership is expressed in a set of problem-solving and negotiation skills that are developed through practice in specific professional and social contexts.

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