Organisational Rhetoric in the Prospectuses of Elite Private Schools: Unpacking Strategies of Persuasion
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Schools have seldom been examined by scholars in studies of organizational sites. Yet schools and the educational context in which they operate, offer potentially important insights into how organizations use rhetoric in their communications to persuade audiences and leverage advantage in the marketplace. This study, which utilises rhetorical analysis to examine the persuasive, yet ambiguous strategies used in 65 school prospectuses in Australia, revealed six strategies consistently used by schoolsto leverage competitive advantage and persuade internal and external audiences:identification, juxtapositioning, bolstering or self-promotion, partial reporting, self expansionand reframing or reversal. As well as illustrating how schools operate in the context of marketisation and privatization discourses in 21st century education, the organizational theory and methods utilised for the research demonstrates how rhetorical strategies draw on, as well as reproduce, socio-political and cultural discourses around economic and social privilege.
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