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

David C. Logan

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Halee Fischer-Wright

CultureSync; University of Colorado

Date Written: July 6, 2006

Abstract

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

Logan, David C. and Fischer-Wright, Halee, The Rhetoric Conspiracy: Why Rhetoric is Too Powerful and Had to Be Lobotomized (Part 1 of 3 in the Rhetoric Series) (July 6, 2006). Barbados Group Working Paper No. 06-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=915304 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.915304

David C. Logan (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

Bridge Hall 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
310-625-1551 (Phone)

Halee Fischer-Wright

CultureSync ( email )

1801 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
United States

University of Colorado ( email )

4200 E. Ninth Avenue
Denver, CO 80262
United States

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