The Executioner Speech: Communicating Tough Decisions

  • Bård Norheim
  • Joar HagaEmail author


In the executioner speech, the leader brings suffering to his audience by executing a verdict, like announcing budget cuts or letting people go. The leader has to offer a rationale for the suffering he executes, some sort of defense of the verdict. This chapter recommends that the leader should do this by appealing to the legacy of the company. The leader will learn to name the legacy of the company in a way that justifies the execution, stick to his story, execute the suffering short and swiftly, be as precise as possible, and possibly offer comfort and care by appealing to the unified “we” that continues to live beyond the execution.


Leadership rhetoric Rhetorical persuasion Institutional decision-making Legacy Legitimacy Emotional appeal 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Theology, Religion and PhilosophyNLA University CollegeBergenNorway

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