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Governmental management by trust communication: German organizational rhetoric in the 2008 financial crisis

Jan C. L. König (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Marketing and Management, University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany)
Klaus-Peter Wiedmann (Professor of Marketing and Management and Director, Institute for Marketing and Management, University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 9 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the authors of this paper is to observe the German Government’s rhetorical communication measurements during the 2008 financial crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors compiled approaches of organizational rhetoric and pragma-linguistics first to offer a consistent concept and method for observation and analysis. Later on, they give an overview of the problem of trust and confidence according to Luhmann’s approach and its meaning for crisis rhetoric and marketing and managing approaches.

Findings

In the following case study, the authors offer a rhetorical text analysis, combined with a pragmatic perspective of accompanying legal measurements of the government as non-verbal communication. The authors show how the government re-established trust among German consumers and eventually overcame the crisis mainly by rhetorical action.

Research limitations/implications

Regarding future crises, the authors suggest that the interaction of trust, financial markets and rhetorical approaches could be better understood. This could include both more quantitative research and qualitative rhetorical approaches.

Practical implications

Practical implications clearly show the importance of rhetorical education, especially for crises. This counts for governmental managers, as well as entrepreneurs and spokesmen.

Social implications

The authors also revealed the problem of unjustified trust which can become dangerous for social welfare, even if it is only produced by misleading communication. This problem can only be solved by a careful public regulation.

Originality/value

Finally, the authors could describe the importance of effective language and communication as a tool for the German Government in the financial crisis in 2008. It can be also described as an example for decision-makers in similar situations.

Keywords

Citation

König, J.C.L. and Wiedmann, K.-P. (2015), "Governmental management by trust communication: German organizational rhetoric in the 2008 financial crisis", On the Horizon, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 33-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/OTH-02-2014-0005

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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