Virtual Writing as Actual Leadership

Virtual Writing as Actual Leadership

James R. Zimmerman (James Madison University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-893-2.ch035
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This chapter applies the evolving principles of electronic communication rhetoric and recent leadership theory to the daily practice of e-mail composition by leaders in large organizations. It articulates principles and techniques for new and midlevel leaders who most need to use e-mail. This analysis specifies opportunities and pitfalls and recommends that e-mail be a planned, significant part of an overall strategy to communicate the leader’s vision while offering support and information to peers and superiors. The discussion addresses rhetorical principles and practices as they apply to the advantages and disadvantages of leadership via e-mail, and it advocates a composition process to increase effectiveness and reduce inefficiency for all levels of leadership in large organizations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Brainstorming: A rapid-fire free-associational listing of items according to a specific purpose.

Community Of Practice: An effective working group that transcends traditional organizational lines.

Communication Point: A single-sentence meta-statement of a core message composed in memorable terms that can be adaptable and richly, productively repeatable.

Leader: Anyone with formal or informal power or influence over the attitudes and behaviors of others in an organization.

Leadership: the art of setting standards, creating a community and climate, and developing short- and long-term plans for an organization and its employees, especially in times of rapid organizational change.

Anticipated Audience Reaction: A method of testing drafts of a composition that depends on the writer’s ability to imagine what any audience member might say or think in response to the draft.

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