Persuasive speech in multi-professional change facilitation meetings: A rhetorical discourse analysis

Hanna Komulainen, Elisa Mertaniemi, Nina Lunkka, Noora Jansson, Merja Meriläinen, Heikki Wiik, Marjo Suhonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe persuasive speech and discourses in multi-professional organizational change facilitation meetings at a hospital through rhetorical discourse analysis. Previous research has often considered organizational change to be a managerial issue, with other employees given the rather passive role of implementators. This study takes an alternative approach in assuming that organizational change could benefit by involving those who are most familiar with the tasks to be changed. Design/methodology/approach: The study employed a qualitative, case study approach and focused on the construction of a hospitalist model within multi-professional change facilitation meetings. Eight videos of these multi-professional change facilitation meetings – which occurred between January and September 2017 – were observed and the material was analyzed by rhetorical discourse analysis. An average of 10–20 actors from different professional groups participated in the meetings. The change actors comprised physicians, nursing staff and nursing managers, along with a secretary and hospitalist. The meetings were conducted by a change facilitator. Findings: The persuasive speech in the analyzed organizational change meetings occurred within five distinct discourses: constructing the change together, positive feedback, strategic change in speech, patient perspective and driving change. The content of these discourses revealed topics that are relevant to persuading members of healthcare organizations to adopt a planned change. Originality/value: The presented research provides new knowledge about how persuasive speech is used in organizational change and describes the discourses in which persuasive speech is used in a healthcare context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-412
JournalJournal of Health Organization and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Healthcare
  • Hospitalist
  • Organizational change
  • Persuasive speech
  • Rhetorical discourse analysis

Field of science

  • Administrative science


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