BMP 2500 Rhetoric, Communication and Management


BMP 2500 Rhetoric, Communication and Management

Responsible for the course
Maria Isaksson

Department of Communication and Culture

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

This Bachelor’s program takes a holistic approach to communication and leadership. Students will learn how and why communication is the essence of leading people.
Members in modern knowledge organizations seek more than economic safety, they seek meaningful work. It is the task of the leader to create and communicate this meaning. The focus of this program is thus on leadership as sense-making activity, on the ability of the leader to evoke engagement and identification through storytelling and symbols. A good leader is also a good listener. Thus our idea of communication integrates co-operation and respect where the leader’s task is to enable dialogue and mutual learning between different parties.
Historically, rhetoric has been the prime leadership discipline, with an advanced theory of delivery and argumentation. This course extends this tradition and combines it with other communication theories from the humanities and social sciences. We focus on applying theoretical models to real life experience and practice.

Learning outcome
Knowledge outcome
After having completed the course, students will have:

  • basic knowledge of rhetorical theory and terminology
  • basic knowledge of central concepts within the field of communication
  • insight into relevant research within rhetoric, communication and leadership
  • an understanding for language, style and coherence aimed at persuasion in speech and writing
  • an understanding for the impact of rhetoric and dialogue at work.

Skills outcome
After having completed the course, students will possess:
  • rhetorical skills relevant for communication at work and for other contexts where messages are to be presented. They will be able to:
  • present a problem clearly and sensibly
  • plan, develop and deliver a speech or a presentation
  • argue effectively and credibly
  • construct their own speaker roles with respect to context
  • engage their audience both orally and textually
  • do rhetorical analysis in order to evaluate how speaker, text and audience connect with and influence the whole
  • demonstrate dialogical skills and understanding.

Attitudinal/value outcome
After having completed the course, students will:
  • identify good rhetoric from bad rhetoric
  • understand of the importance of meaningful and effective language use
  • understand the importance of a work environment based on dialogue and respect
  • contribute to the building of leadership ethos within an organization

Work experience. No other prerequisites are needed.

Compulsory reading
Andersen, Øivind. 1995. I retorikkens hage. Universitetsforlaget. Kapitel 1-2, 5 og 7 (ca 100 sider)
Gabrielsen, Jonas, Tanja Juul Christiansen. 2010. Talens magt : indføring i mundtlig retorik. 2. udg. Reitzel. 191 s
Hoffman, Mary, F., Debra J. Ford. 2010. Organizational rhetoric : situations and strategies. Sage. 267/10
Johansen, Winni og Finn Frandsen. 2007. Krisekommunikation : når virksomhedens image og omdømme er truet. Samfundslitteratur. Kapitel 1-2, 4-5 (ca 200 sider)
Kjeldsen, Jens E. 2006. Retorikk i vår tid : en innføring i moderne retorisk teori. 2. utg. Spartacus. minus kap. 10
Noonan, William R. 2007. Discussing the undiscussable : a guide to overcoming defensive routines in the workplace. Wiley. Kap. 2 (ss 15-36), Kap. 6-9 (ss 101-173), Totalt: 93 sider.
Svennevig, Jan. 2009. Språklig samhandling : innføring i kommunikasjonsteori og diskursanalyse. 2. utg. Landslaget for norskundervisning : Cappelen akademisk. Kap. 1-6, 185 s

Collection of articles:
Argyris, Chris.. 1991. Teaching smart people how to learn.. Harvard Business Review.. 10 sider
Czarniawska, Barbara. 1997. Narrating the organization : dramas of institutional identity. Chicago : University of Chicago Press. Kap. 2 i Narrating the organization. Dramas of institutional identity, s. 30-53
Denning, Stephen. 2004. Telling tales. Harvard Business Review. 7 sider
Gardner, Howard. 1995. Leading minds : an anatomy of leadership. New York : BasicBooks. Kap. 2: Human development and leadership, s. 22–40
Greene, Richard og Florie Brizel. 2001. Words That Shook the World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Event. New York : Prentice Hall. John F. Kennedy: "Ich bin ein Berliner" (10 sider)
Isaksson, Maria. 2011. Talets gyllene ögonblick. Retorik för fest och politik - en norsk och amerikansk fallstudie. Sundnes Drønen, T., Fretheim K. & Skjortnes, M. (red.). Forståelsens gylne øyeblikk. Festskrift til Øyvind Dahl. Trondheim: Tapir.. 13
Johansen, Anders & Kjeldsen, Jens (red.). 2005. Virksomme ord. Politiske taler 1814-2005.. 1. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Gunnar Stålsett: Ved et vendepunkt (4 sider)

Recommended reading
Aristoteles. 2006. Retorikk. Vidarforlaget
Berge, Bjørn Magnus. 2013. Talens makt - maktens taler. Cappelen Damm. 497 s.
Johansen, Anders. 2002. Talerens troverdighet : tekniske og kulturelle betingelser for politisk retorikk. Universitetsforlaget

Course outline
1. Module. Credibility and argumentation
Ethos, logos and pathos in rhetoric
Credibility – ethos and authenticity
Ethos and authority; ethos and honor; ethos and sincerity
Argumentation – the good argument
The speech as a management tool

2. Module. Style and delivery
Style and genre
Rhetorical tools, tropes and figures
Leadership, metaphors and storytelling
Non-verbal communication and presentation techniques

3. Module. Crisis communication
Crisis communication
Crisis and leadership
Conflict and conflict solution

4. Module. Dialogue and interpersonal communication
Dialogue and mutual learning
Conversational strategies and management communication
Unity and conflict in dialogue
Culture and communicaiton

5. Module. Rhetoric, communication and leadership
Rhetoric and leadership
Charisma, rhetoric and leadership
Visions and leadership
The authentic leader

Computer-based tools

Learning process and workload
The program runs over two semesters. Students are registered for each semester; the program in the first semester is called BMP 2501 and in the second semester BMP 2502.

The program consists of lectures, text analysis, verbal and non-verbal training and performance, writing a speech text to be delivered in class, giving and receiving feedback, and writing a project paper. Students write individual speech texts, deliver them individually, but work in pairs with the project paper. The project paper is a rhetorical and/or discourse analysis of a text of the students’ own choice. The text is to be approved by the instructor. Throughout the program students work in groups and learn how to give critical and constructive feedback on each others’ written work. The speech text and the project paper are handed in once for feedback by the instructor. In modules 1-3 students work on writing their speeches and receive speech writing tutoring; in modules 3-5 we focus on the project paper, which also includes tutoring. In module 4 one day is set off practicing the speech given in the oral exam in module 5. Lectures by faculty highlight the syllabus; lectures by invited practitioners demonstrate rhetoric, dialogue and communication put into practice. The written exam is based on the mandatory course literature.

Students hand in their individual writing portfolio which counts 60% of the total grade.
The portfolio is submitted as process evaluation and consists of three parts. Part 1-2 are submitted on a given date after the end of the course. Part 3 is performed in class in module 5.

Part 1: A text analysis written individually or in pairs (2 students). The choice of text shall be approved by the instructor responsible for the program. The analysis shall be up to 20 pages, excluding attachments. Counts 30% of the total grade of the course.
Part 2: A written speech (2 pp.) on a topic chosen by the student about a communication problem or challenge related to the workplace of the student. The assignment is written individually, but students receive feedback in groups and from instructor during modules 1-3.
Part 3: Oral delivery (7 min) of the written text of the speech with fellow students acting as audience in class. Performed and evaluated in module 5.
Parts 2-3 count 30% of the total grade of the course.

In addition, each student is evaluated on a five (5) hour in-class written exam which counts 40% of the total grade of the course.

Examination code(s)
BMP 25003 – process evaluation which counts 60% of BMP 2500, 30 credits.
BMP 25004 – individual written exam which counts 40% of BMP, 30 credits.
Both exams must be passed in order to get a passing grade for the course.

Examination support materials
No aids are allowed in the written in-class exam.

Re-sit examination
Written exam at next ordinary exam.
All individual assignments of the writing portfolio must be submitted again.
Both exams must be passed in order to get a passing grade for the course.

Additional information