An Apology Comparison: A Case Study of Two Different Discursive Leadership Approaches

Abstract

An effective leader in the workplace has a large arsenal of discursive resources. Discursive leadership is an approach to leadership, where leadership emerges through the process of managing the meaning of organizational events through the use of communication-based frames. Opportunities for strong discursive framing happen in organizations all the time, through directives, explanations, appraisals, requests, storytelling, and apologies. Strong discursive leadership also serves to bridge the gap when an incident leaves employees dissatisfied, angry, or confused. A leader who understands the need for managing the meaning of organizational events is more successful in yielding employees who are more trusting, more informed, and more satisfied (Minei, 2015). Leaders that fail to offer competent messaging following an event leave employees confused, angry, or open to misinterpretation of events. As a result, leaders may struggle and ultimately fail to get back the goodwill of employees that they might have benefitted from prior to the incident. This case study focuses on two different approaches to handling a leadership mistake. Both leaders are at fault for the incident but the approaches to reconciliation differ. Dane, the project manager from Markitecht Green Marketing LLC must issue an apology for a scheduling mistake, and Bennet from Blue Rock Ridge Elementary will have to issue an apology for mismanaging a necessary plumbing repair. Both instances have financial costs, but also cost the leader the goodwill of the subordinates. This case study illustrates two different organizational approaches to discursive leadership in the form of issuing an apology, one successfully and one less so.

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