The Application of Rhetorical Theory in Managerial Research: A Literature Review
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Hartelius, E. Johanna and Larry D. Browning
Management Communication Quarterly
Recent management research imports rhetorical scholarship into the study of organizations. Although this cross-disciplinarity is heuristically promising, it presents significant challenges. This article interrogates management's use of rhetoric, contrasting it with communication studies. Five themes from management research identify how rhetoric is used as an organizational hermeneutic: The article demonstrates that management research conceptualizes rhetoric as a theory and as an action; as the substance that maintains and/or challenges organizational order; as being constitutive of individual and organizational identity; as a managerial strategy for persuading followers; and as a framework for narrative and rational organizational discourses. The authors argue that organizational researchers who study rhetoric characterize persuasive strategies as managers' most important actions.