The ambiguous nature of a management guru lecture: Providing answers while deepening uncertainty

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David Carlone, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Each year, managers and employees spend billions of dollars retaining management consultants, buying business books, and attending seminars to regain certainty. Some of this quest occurs in the lectures of star management consultants, such as Stephen R. Covey. For his audience, a Covey lecture is a liminoid event, that is, a middle phase in a secular rite of passage from “ineffective” to “effective.” Viewed through the lens of liminoidity, the lecture (a) disrupts the ontology of business subjects, (b) gains force by blending sacred wisdom and technical instruction, (c) makes permanent a transitional stage, and (d) situates the lecturer as guru and audience members as neophytes through their interaction with one another. Despite the quest for certainty, Covey?s lectures simultaneously ease and deepen uncertainty and anxiety.

Additional Information

Journal of Business Communication, 43, 89-112
Language: English
Date: 2006
Management guru, Liminoid, Liminal, Rite of passage, Stephen R. Covey

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