Our purpose was to investigate the range and types of speech styles used by senior male and female managers in British businesses.
We audio-recorded senior level management during meetings in various corporate organisations, to observe how they used language to achieve effective decisions. We also conducted interviews with members of the meetings, in order to reflect upon the language used during the meeting and what constitutes effective leadership at this level.
The leaders we observed were provided with a personalised and detailed feedback report, evaluating the linguistic strategies they used to enact leadership effectively. We decided to take an appreciative inquiry approach, which was both positive and constructive; therefore, suggestions on how to improve their linguistic styles were also incorporated in the feedback report.
“We hope to give both scholars and business people a linguistic understanding of the ways in which effective leadership can be enacted through the use of language (and if there are any best practices models to adopt and adapt). We also hope to bring about a better understanding of gender and equality issues in leadership within the business context. This ethnographic study will served as the first stage towards a larger project, wider institutional collaboration and an interaction with the business community”. – Baxter