There are still few explanations of the micro-level practices by which top managers influence employee commitment to multiple strategic goals. This paper argues that, through their language, top managers can construct a context for commitment to multiple strategic goals. We therefore propose a rhetoric-in-context approach to illuminate some of the micro practices through which top managers influence employee commitment. Based upon an empirical study of the rhetorical practices through which top managers influence academic commitment to multiple strategic goals in university contexts, we demonstrate relationships between rhetoric and context. Specifically, we show that rhetorical influences over commitment to multiple goals are associated with the historical context for multiple goals, the degree to which top managers' rhetoric instantiates a change in that context, and the internal consistency of the rhetorical practices used by top managers. Copyright © 2007 SAGE Publications.
Bibliographical noteThe final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Organization Studies, 20(11), November 2007 by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © 2007 SAGE Publications.
- multiple strategic goals