The Rhetoric Conspiracy: Why Rhetoric is Too Powerful and Had to Be Lobotomized (Part 1 of 3 in the Rhetoric Series)
14 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2006 Last revised: 2 Jan 2008
Date Written: July 6, 2006
Historically, rhetoric as an art has been considered both nefarious and weak. The authors, in a three part series on rhetoric, describe the "lobotomization" of rhetoric, its true power, and its applications with individuals and organizations. This first working paper describes the historical context of the lobotomization - the separation of "Invention" from the other four canons of rhetoric, leaving rhetoric the basis of Freshman Composition and Public Speaking. It then discusses the power of rhetoric, beginning with the human capacity to name objects and people, resulting in leverage over the action of others. Finally, the article suggests a new definition for rhetoric: "The means through which one creates and populates worlds of meaning (language-based realities)."
Keywords: Rhetoric, Corporate Culture, Leadership, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Change
JEL Classification: D23, M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation