Tales of the expected: investigating the rhetorical strategies of innovation champions
Leiringer, R. and Cardellino, P. (2008) Tales of the expected: investigating the rhetorical strategies of innovation champions. Construction Management and Economics, 26 (10). pp. 1043-1054. ISSN 0144-6193
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/01446190802389394
Innovation continues to be high on the agenda in construction. It is widely considered to be an essential prerequisite of improved performance both for the sector at large and for individual firms. Success stories dominate the parts of the academic literature that rely heavily on the recollections of key individuals. A complementary interpretation focuses on the way innovation champions in hindsight interpret, justify and legitimize the diffusion of innovations. Emphasis is put on the temporal dimension of interpretation and how this links to rhetorical strategies and impression management tactics. Rhetorical theories are drawn upon to analyse the accounts given by innovation champions in seven facilities management organizations. In particular, the three persuasive appeals in classic rhetoric are used to highlight the rhetorical justifications mobilized in the descriptions of what took place. The findings demonstrate the usefulness of rhetorical theories in complementing studies of innovation.