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Rhodes > English Language and Linguistics > Latest News

Analysing Clem Sunter's leadership discourse

Date Released: Wed, 9 February 2011 16:51 +0200

Rhodes Linguistics Master's graduate Gina Eley and Ralph Adendorff have recently published an article analysing a selection of columns written by Clem Sunter, the well-known South African leadership guru and futurist.  They look at Sunter's work as an example of transformational leadership, a leadership style which seeks to bring out the best in people by encouraging them to achieve their higher goals and contribute to their communities.

Clem Sunter, like many other transformational leaders, came to the fore during a time of uncertainty. Transformational leaders often emphasize the turbulence of the times they are living in, encouraging their followers to take advantage of the opportunities this turbulence gives them to work for change. Eley and Adendorff used a theory called APPRAISAL to show how Sunter evokes readers' feelings of disquiet about the future. At the same time, he uses examples of tenacity to encourage his readers to show similar courage in the face of this uncertainty. South Africa's unique sociopolitical situation in the 1990s allowed Sunter to use both these emotions of disquiet and courage to full effect in motivating his readers for change.

The article, which is based on research done for Gina Eley's Master's thesis, has been published in Text & Talk, a prestigious international journal of language, discourse and communication studies. Click here to read the article's abstract.

Picture caption: Ralph Adendorff and Gina Eley