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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Foreword From: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 27, Issue 5
The rhetoric of fiction had been studied by literary scholars ("The Rhetoric of Fiction" is a case in point) for at least 200 years. The rhetoric of political persuasion (Orwellian studies of newspeak are cases in point) had been studied for a few hundred years, from Machiavelli to Bernays and onwards, towards our times. Communication techniques and media technologies had been studied by all persuaders, spin-doctors, marketing gurus and propagandists, open and hidden ("Hidden Persuaders" are a case in point) and today these techniques are being used in novel ways (social media in the Arab spring, Wikileaks). All these studies have drawn attention to the issues of rhetoric and narratives in all brands of social communications. But it was only recently that two powerful impulses to study rhetoric - the multimedia explosion prompted by powerful servers and global communication networks and the ability of communicating citizens to oppose a bureaucratic closure of virtual online commons (anti-ACTA protests in all major cities of the EU member states) have started to attract serious academic attention. It seems that Catalonia has played a rather central role in focusing and synthetizing these research efforts. First, Manuel Castells had published "Communication Power", arguably the most powerful theoretical manifestation of a new theory of power as an ability to conquer and defend a dominant position in designing, maintaining and managing the communication networks. Second, Eduard Bonet had started and institutionalized the bi-annual conference on rhetoric and narrative methods in managerial research in Barcelona's ESADE. Co-editor of the Special Issue, Marja Flory, got into the rhetorical project by virtue of her Spanish connections and interest in the Mediterranean model of management contrasting with her native Dutch one. Slawek Magala joined Deirdre McCloskey and Barbara Czarniawska as one of the keynote speakers of the abovementioned conferences. When Marja Flory and Eduard Bonet had persuaded Slawek Magala to present the third special issue on rhetoric and narratives in management research, the tradition of disseminating the conference findings with JOCM had been established. The next one is in 2015. And the next - Suffice it to say that after the fifth international conference on rhetoric and narratives in management research we had received significant number of papers, which had entered the competition for being placed in this special issue. All the past conferences have attracted a lot of attention, but we had never expected so many papers - hence we are very grateful for the reviewers for did their anonymous work. Flory and Bonet have already stated - in previous special issues - "Narrative research has become a respectable research method. It is, however, still burdened with a lot of controversies on how to apply this method across different disciplines."
Let us proudly announce that the founder of the international conference on the rhetoric and narrative methods in managerial research, Eduard Bonet, will take you through this issue with his guest editorial on "Higher aims and meanings of rhetoric of management; building a new discipline" (clearly a shot at "Higher Aims and Hired Hands" - the title of a recent, extremely critical study of history of the managerial education in the USA).
Dear Eduard, the floor is yours.
Marja Flory and Slawek Magala
PS: The current issue also contains two papers, which fall outside of the Special Issue edited by M. Flory and E. Bonet, namely:
a paper by Patrick Dawson, Chris Sykes, Peter McLean, Michael Zanko, and Heather Marciano on "Stories affording new pathways: bridging the divide between aged and disability care" (authors share affinity with the University of Wollongong from Australia, which has a campus in Dubai, while the first author also teaches in Aberdeen); and
a paper by Cecile Cezanne and Olivia Guillon on "Employee loyalty and organizational performance: a critical survey" (with a stress falling on critical, since the link between employee loyalty and organizational performance has been somewhat trivialized by the mainstream HRM publications, which assume that if employees are convinced that their company does a good and desirable job in the world, they owe it much more).
They are a reminder that it is business as unusual, as usual, at the JOCM.
Marja Flory and Slawomir Jan Magala