- Block Island porch
- Intercultural Management in Modern Organizations
- Management and Workplace Diversity: Challenges and Goals
- Cicero’s Classical Canons of Rhetoric: Their Relevance and Importance to the Corporate Workplace
- Kenneth Burke’s Defintion of Humans and Use of Symbols
- Enlightenment Era: Rhetoric
- Rhetoric in the Renaissance
- Rhetorical Arts in Medieval Europe
- Rhetoric in Rome
- Rhetoric in Plato’s "Gorgias"
1. To be able to understand the traits and characteristics of a successful manager in today’s modern, multicultural work environment.
2. To differentiate how different cultures approach the leadership aspect of a modern work environment.
3. To explain the major problems that may arise when multiple cultures work together as leaders/ employees or as teams of leaders.
4. To be able to define terms such as culture, value, and value dimensions.
5. To understand the pros and cons of each of the two types of work culture.
Culture has always played an important role in the workplace. In modern workforces, culture has become a great impetus in ways of thinking more creatively and in understanding one another more deeply. In no role is this more critical than in that of a manager. As companies strive to be global in their reach, managers must understand how valuable cultural understanding is, let cultural differences among employees thrive, and learn to work amongst its potential conflict as well. Many studies involving culture indicate there are common traits that will help the manager succeed in an intercultural setting. However, regardless of the environment, the manager himself as well as his employees will be subject to outside influences that will shape the cultural context of the company. This chapter is divided into three easy to understand sections: 1) global management teams, 2) traits of a successful manager, and 3) cultural influences and leadership.
Global Management Teams
A manager faces many challenges in their day to day work. No aspect of management is as challenging as the intercultural aspect that comes with a global management team. Both managers who serve on it and employees who report to this team will face critical cultural barriers. Many times, cultural differences will force communication barriers on managers despite their best efforts. Both Eastern and Western cultures, including both dependent and independent management, believe that management involves decision making and the formation of teams within to become successful.
Working with Multiple Managers
It is rare in many cultures for employees to report to only one boss. In many companies, managers overlap each other in both their duties and their subordinate staff. This complicates the way cultural differences will be faced. Global managers by nature supervise staff that is not always in their own country, so the employees may identify much more with their own country’s supervisors than with their global managers. Managers in this situation can try a few methods to make the process work more smoothly.
Meeting with the individual employees they have reporting to them is not always feasible, but it is desired in order to maintain the authority and integrity of global management. Face-to-face meetings, of course, may be out of the question. The goal can be accomplished by using teleconferencing or even email. Global managers must also meet together, by various means, to discuss employee performance, company goals, and management projects. They may have more leverage in traveling to meet one another, and this would prove more successful in bridging cultural gaps than electronic meetings would. It takes a special team of employees to achieve success when reporting to multiple and multi-national managers. Employees who require little or no supervision in their jobs will do best, as they will have to make quick decisions with no guidance simply because their manager is not always available. Managers need to coordinate projects first before delegating them; otherwise, confusion over whose project is more important will result. This means the managers will all have to share a common work philosophy and common value orientations, and they cannot be competitive over the employees who report to them. Employees who report to multiple managers are expected to think on their feet and work creatively to complete projects. Reporting back and forth to more than one boss all the time is not feasible, so they have to be able to be more self-reliant than other employees with one direct manager.
Value Dimensions and Their Importance
Geert Hofstede invented five dimensions of culture that are very relevant to the study of global management. Power distance refers to the degree to which the less powerful members of society expect there to be differences in the levels of power. Authority in the cultures which value a high power distance is seen as being much more powerful, and much more distant, to the subordinates. Individualism vs. collectivism is evident in cultures where the “team” dynamic contrasts with the “individual”. In collectivist or dependent cultures, the team or group makes decisions and carries more authority than the individual. Masculinity vs. femininity refers to the value placed on traditionally male or female values. Masculine cultures often value competitiveness, assertiveness, ambition, and material wealth, whereas feminine cultures place more value on relationships and quality of life. Uncertainty avoidance – reflects the extent to which a society attempts to cope with anxiety by minimizing uncertainty. Long vs. short term orientation describes the cultures importance on the passage of time with regard to an issue, vs. its importance in the past or the future. Short term oriented cultures, for example, place less importance on preserving their culture and on materials they might need in the future, because they are focused on more short-term projects.
Managers who travel to meet their counterparts overseas often find that decisions in many cultures are made outside of the office. The Japanese, for example, prefer informal decisions that are made in such places as restaurants and bars, whereas American managers prefer meetings to make these decisions. In any case, managers on both sides of the globe must possess social savvy with regard to their global counterparts, as well as intuition and “keen observation skills” (Hoffman, 2006). Hoffman describes an experience between Japanese and American managers on a conference call where the Americans thought their counterparts had lost the phone connection- every time they spoke, there was silence. In reality, the Japanese managers were “tending their roots”- taking due time to think before responding- an alien idea to the American managers. The value orientation of individual vs. collectivist was at work- showing that the Japanese teams needed time together to think, while the Americans spoke individually and quickly without regard to their teams. A previous understanding of the value dimensions might have made the situation seem less daunting.
Global teams of management, in addition to their internal issues, also need to focus on their intercultural employees. Many companies have managers in one country and the supervisors who report to them in another. Hofstede’s value dimensions have proven useful in these situations, but the element of cultural understanding is the most important tool. Any manager that ties a certain dimension to an employee is at risk for unfair treatment of that employee. There are many women, for example, that are successful managers in Mexico, despite Mexico normally placing high in the context of masculinity. Management needs to understand the environment their employees work in, as well as the cultural background that fosters their beliefs. The study highlighted in the Chen et al (2005) article shows how the two groups can focus on the rewards of a cross cultural relationship in business to better visualize the end result and achieve communication success.
The Importance of Cultural Conflict
Global managers must realize that conflict, although it is a disruption to their processes, is also effective in confronting issues and therefore resulting in a conclusion, whereas cultural avoidance does not accomplish anything. Conflict and conflict avoidance are extremely important to understand in a global management team. Both can be valid responses, however, if managed properly and if handled sensitively amongst the two involved cultures.
Cultural conflict often stems from the beliefs that say it is “Us” vs. “Them”. Each identity is held fast to and the other culture is always inferior. Culture itself gives employees common rights, but globalization (although a positive change) can erode many of those rights. “Globalization is both a threat and an opportunity.” (Davies, 2006). To avoid conflict in cultural learning and among employees and management, the company must be rich in employees who share open-minded traits. They must be interested in other cultures and willing to learn as much as possible about one another. Having a respect for other cultures is also important; despite differences, a showing of respect gives both parties space and time to confront larger issues. Companies should facilitate the removal of beliefs that lead to stereotypes. For example, a global manager would never speak of their Mexican branches as though they were infringing on the US branches. This would create confusion and anger among his or her employees. Instead, they should be a model to their employees for intercultural thinking and be conscious that they are building a new kind of citizenship- on that relies on company pride and not just country pride.
The Successful Manager
There is no one quality that can define a “good manager.” After all, management is judged by its employees, for the most part, who are the people they take the least amount of guidance from. But they are also judged by their character, their cultural understanding, and their business know-how—all qualities which cannot be forced or fabricated. Managers in today’s corporate environment should be able to work cross-culturally without issue, and to be models to their employees of respectful and successful intercultural business ethic.
The Employees’ View Many cultures operate under a hierarchical work structure which involves employees, some supervisory staff and managers who oversee both. The employees are rewarded based on their performance within the company. It is interesting to note that in this paper, management and leadership are terms that are used interchangeably, but they are not always the same. In fact, employees can show traits of leadership without being managers. Often, this is how management gets their start- by proving they can lead a team, or by showing they have capabilities of handling leadership responsibilities.
In order to complete on a global level, corporate culture must reward employees so that they can work toward a goal of advancement within their company and for their own professional lives. Many managers have to change the way they manage in order to adapt to their employees’ way of thinking. Today’s work culture is moving away from the traditional hierarchies of employees to managers, and working instead toward “self managed teams, defining competence and working practices such as multi-skilling and project working” (Coomer, 2007). Although difficult to standardize based on so many cultural differences, GLOBE Scholars have attempted to define organizational leadership as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members” (Aditya et al, 1996).
Managers should consider culture in their workplace when creating programs that involve reward, promotions, project management, and recognition. Considering the ethnic culture of their workplace(s), as well as the business culture, is the key to success in adopting new programs and introducing change. For example, a company who assigns teams of managers to assemble new initiatives within their company for the safety of their employees needs to know whether the employees value quantity over quality, work over safety, etc. Trying to view changes from the employees’ point of view gives the management leverage in implementing their changes, and creates a feeling of understanding among the employees. Changes that do not take into account the culture of the organization may result in the “perception of [management] being inflexible and bureaucratic” (Coomer, 2007.) Delegation, Goals & Setting Guidelines Managers need to know how to maximize team productivity, based on how the team works best. They may need to use different methods for different members of the team to get the job done in the most effective way. Managers who are most effective usually know what is important to each member of the team, and can define goals for them based on that information. Many managers use the SMART system to help them remember how to set objectives for their employees. First, the objective must be Specific- each employee should be aware of exactly what is expected when the manager delegates a task. If the command is at all unclear, the task might not be done the way the manager expected, and communication is strained.
Secondly, the objective should be Measurable- it should be able to be measured, recorded or monitored to assure success. Next, the objective must be Attainable. Managers should not be unrealistic in their expectations of employees. Goals should have a fair chance of being met with the tools the employees are given, without being so easy that there is no sense of accomplishment after the task is met. Next, the objective needs to be Relevant to the job the employees actually perform. Asking them to increase sales if they work in customer service is not directly relevant to their job, and they might fail at such a task. Again, the importance of corporate culture here is important. Lastly, the objective should be Timely- that is, it should have a clear timeframe of when it should start and when it should end. Without a specific timeframe, neither employees nor managers will be able to tell for sure if the objectives have been met.
Why Management Fails to Flourish In many cultures, management is promoted from within the company. Managers are often employees who started on the lower end of the company spectrum and worked their way into the management role, having proved themselves through hard work and respect from their peers. They have also shown themselves to be professional, loyal to their companies, and confident in their abilities.However, once the manager is in place, they have many obstacles ahead of them. In today’s work environment, there are many reasons why a manager received his or her promotion- and not all of them are related to whether or not they can handle the stress and added responsibilities in their new role. These concerns only surface after the manager is in their new role several weeks or more. Many times, an employee is promoted to management partly because they can get along with people from many different departments, and they are friendly with their staff. Unfortunately, these managers often fail because they cannot separate their managerial status from the easy communication with their old coworkers. Some managers are promoted because they perform well in their current job duties, but in their new management roles they cannot handle the additional responsibilities. The very title of “manager” gives people the feeling of power and respect, which can lead them to become one-minded in their quest to attain company power at the expense of their work ethic.
Of course, management can be very successful and avoid all these pitfalls, and somehow still fail. This may be explained because managers undergo added scrutiny from those around them, magnifying their faults, and making employees less willing to forgive them. In Paul Glen’s article, he asks the question: is it managers who actually fail, or is it the employees’ perception of them as a manager which fails them?
Cultural Influences and Leadership
The expectations of someone in a leadership or management position, as well as the influence they may have in their organization, will vary widely depending on the “cultural forces” in the surrounding culture. (Aditya et al, 1996).Leadership will also assume a different role based on the emphasis given to the role in its culture, as well as the importance the culture places on leadership skills such as personality, communication skills, group vs. individual orientation, and the various value dimensions’ weight in the culture. To understand this section better, one must know the definition of culture: the accumulation of values, behavior rules, forms of expression, norms, religious beliefs and occupational choices for a group of people who usually share a common language and environment (Penner, 2000). To further define, values are “conceptions of the desirable that guide the way social actors select actions, evaluate people and events, and explain their actions and evaluations” (Penner, 2000). Values, in other words, often work with one another to influence the culture of a group of people.
Internal Cultural Influences There are many internal or dependent variables which may influence management directly. Some examples of this are the company or culture’s socioeconomic status, the cultural emphasis on achievement, the work dynamic favored by the company, the dominant religious beliefs of the culture, historical experience with certain leader types, employee satisfaction, and the employees’ identification with the cultural society’s value for leadership. Internal influences only include those that originate from the company itself, outward toward the culture. There are several types of organizational cultures into which a company may be categorized (Croomer, 2007). First, there is the “clan culture”- a friendly, informal place to work in which the members act more as family or friends than coworkers. The company culture places high values on tradition and loyalty. This type of company will place less value on the authority of management and more on the ability of managers to interact as a team with their employees. The authority and power of management is minimized in favor of the cozy atmosphere of the work environment. Next there is the “market culture”. This type of organizational culture is primarily results-oriented and focused on the task at hand. Managers must have specific goals in mind to achieve success at this type of company. They must be more demanding of their employees, since the end result is more valuable than the process itself. The entire organization shares a cultural attitude that winning is best and losing is worst. This type of work culture has long-term aspirations of success, but it can be dominated by competitive employees looking to get ahead.
Third, there is the “hierarchy culture. This type of work culture is formal and structured. Employees and managers are both ruled by procedure and its importance. Managers in these environments must be effective and efficient, while achieving their goal. If an employee strays from the policies, it detracts from the efficiency of the organization as a whole. These companies have long term goals also, but they are defined by smooth operations, low costs and dependability on business practices. Lastly, there are “adhocracy culures”- those work cultures which are dynamic and creative places to work. Employees are more encouraged here to take risks and not worry about looking bad. Management promotes “experimentation and innovation” (Croomer, 2007). This is the most employee friendly type of environment, where individuality reigns supreme and management values employees’ visions.External Cultural Influences External cultural influences are those that are given to a work culture by its own ethnic and regional cultural norms. A company will function best adapting to the culture around it. This is why a country may not be accepting of a company branch whose headquarters is in another country. Standardization to one type of email, one type of phone system, one type of departmental structure- all of these basic problems are magnified when they cross cultural boundaries. Some cultures are much more specialized than others. They believe that training employees on one or few skills enables the company to capitalize on the strengths of those employees. However, this view does not take into consideration the future of the company or the employees. This is a good example of a culture which is based on a short term time orientation. It would be more difficult for the employee to advance in a company if they only ever held one expertise. Other work cultures believe more in the value of a team working together to achieve unity, even if it means all members of a team share duties and responsibilities.
Across countries and cultures, many characteristics of leadership do emerge. Most cultures prefer a democratic style of leadership where the manager leads the team with their knowledge and ability, and is less directly influenced by external cultural factors. For example, a manager in America who pushes his employees to succeed because he believes in them will be more favorably tolerated than a manager who pushes his employees because the culture says management should be authoritative. Employees of any company who follow a leader (manager) may influence their leader based on their own response styles and acceptance for leadership.
Dependent Vs. Independent Culture in Leadership Management styles differ greatly regardless of the person’s culture. However, their culture has the most influence on the way they manage, over any other influence. We know that there are two types of cultures, collectivist and individual. Many researchers also refer to collectivist cultures as “dependent”, because they work dependent on the team dynamic, and individual cultures as “independent” as they work separately from the team dynamic. The independent culture manager is concerned mostly with the needs of him or herself over their team of employees. This is not to suggest they are selfish, only that they view their own growth in the company as the foremost goal. In fact, being self-sufficient is considered a healthy trait for many U.S. managers. Because of this importance placed on self-sufficiency, though, the group dynamic is not valued as highly and the manager distances themselves from the group he or she manages. The group of employees who report to them, in turn, feel slighted. After all, if the goal is to better oneself within the company, they must present well to their managers. With a physically and emotionally distant manager, this becomes frustrating for the employees and harder to accomplish.
The dependent culture manager is concerned with his or her identity as part of a group (i.e., the work team). The team might be the manager and his or her employees, a project management team, or a team of managers. The success of the group ensures the well-being of the individual in this case. By considering the needs and feelings of people in the group, the individual manager’s confidence is strengthened and their role is protected. Since harmony of the group is of utmost importance, a manager must make a good addition to the team, and be willing to commit oneself to the team for their greater good instead of their own. It should also be noted that members of the team are usually very close in this type of culture, but that they do not view non-members as closely. Therefore, being part of a team- any team- is importance to the survival of the manager in this type of culture.
ReferencesAditya, R.; House, R.; & Wright, N. (1996). Cross Cultural Research on Organizational Leadership: A Critical Analysis and a Proposed Theory. Wharton College Center for Leadership and Change Management, 5, 1, 49-66.
Chen, D.; Fang, S.S.; Tjosvold, Y. (2005). Working with Foreign Managers: Conflict Management for Effective Leader Relationships in China. International Journal of Conflict Management, 16,3, n.p.
Croomer, K.(2007). Corporate Cultures. Occupational Health, 59,4, n.p.
Dahlgaard, J.J. & Dahlgaard, S.P. (1999). Integrating Business Excellence and Innovation Management: Developing a Culture for Innovation, Creativity, and Learning. Total Quality Management, 10, 4/5, n.p.
Davies, L. (2006). Global Citizenship: Abstraction or Framework for Action? Educational Review, 58, 1, 5-25.
Gates, B. (1997). What Makes a Good Manager? New York Times Special Feature on June 30.
Glen, P. (2007).Why Managers Fail. Computerworld. Retrieved February 19, 2007 from http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=279478
Gould, K.L. (2000). Multiple Personalities: How Firms with Multiple Offices Handle Identity, Culture and Ownership. Architectural Record: Practice Matters, 188, 6, 63.
Handlos, D. (2002). Surviving Multiple Managers. Tech Republic. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from http://builder.com.com/5100-6375_14-1045709.html.
Hildebrandt, H. (1987). International/ Intercultural Business Communications: A Comparative Study of Asian and U.S. Managers. University of Michigan School of Business Administration, Ann Arbor.
Hoffman, T. (2006). When HQ is Over There. Computerworld. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyId=10&articleId=112310.
Penner, L.A. (2000). Promoting Prosocial Actions: The Importance of Culture and Values. Journal of Social Philosophy, 31, 4 , 477-487.
Slater, C.L; Boone, M.; Price, L.; Martinez, D.; Alvarez, I.; Topete, C.; & Olea, E. (2002). A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Leadership in the United States and Mexico. School Leadership and Management, 22, 2, 197-199.
Wood, J.W. (2006). Transforming Good Managers into Outstanding Leaders. Corrections Today, 68, 1, 53.
Managers in today’s business world face a daunting challenge with regard to workplace diversity. They need to know how to manage an intercultural workforce, encouraging change, communication and acceptance, while making sure the organization does not lose sight of its own business goals and its own customers. Large corporations need to balance internal diversity while making its public consumers aware of their ability to reach a diverse audience. Managers today also face the fact that they may identify with minority group in one way or another themselves, whereas twenty years ago their identity with said group would not have been as prevalent. Women managers find themselves in roles that were traditionally male, for example, and so they are forced to identify first as a woman, secondly as a manager. The same might hold true for a manager who was homosexual, disabled, of Asian descent, etc.
After reading the class materials and taking into account my own experiences in “Corporate America,” I believe the most important skill future leaders should master is to bring out the best in people. At first glance, this skill seems rather trite and lacking the global vision the other possess. I argue this is the only skill that would matter in any organization, in any culture, or in any country. As the Global Paradox article discusses, we are in the midst of identity crises all the time, and leaders today who use the old bureaucratic hierarchy to manage people lose credibility with today’s workers. An identity crisis means “this is the opportunity for new ideas and new leadership.” The article also mentions that cultural affiliations are becoming more important than professional associations. An organization limited to beliefs based on company-centric thinking sees only what was possible based on the company itself, whereas an individual-centric organization focuses on the potential of the individual employees and celebrates their diversity in all it forms. Learning what makes workers tick and what is important to them is based on many factors, including their company commitment but most importantly their cultural background.
A snapshot of a work team might reveal a worker who believes hard work leads to financial rewards; worker who values internal communication over material benefits; a worker who is personal time sensitive and who leaves work on time, and another who thinks that worker is not committed to their work because they don’t put in 80 hours a week. A good leader would recognize and encourage diverse but fair styles of work, and appeal to each of these workers’ sense of what is important. It is important to note that if workers need a sense of hierarchy and direct leadership, then that should be addressed as well. Not every worker believes in flex time, sensitivity and communication. One example would be the situation described in the “Power Distance-London” example of how an executive tried to intervene in the British standard office channels. It is also important to remember that employees themselves have to learn to relate to one another under a successful leadership. A manager can encourage employees to relate based on similarities as well as differences, whether in culture, ethnicity, gender, etc. Without this element a leader cannot be successful, but he or she must still keep in mind the company goals and views while allowing employees to interact on a more personal level. A successful leader reveals to their employees what is important to one another on a group level, and teaches them how to make their individual beliefs into workplace strengths on the individual level. A leader, lastly, must be aware of his or her own value orientations and how they can strengthen not only their team but their company. A VP of Operations who shares the American-type “doing” orientation (Adler, 2002) will succeed with workers who want the job done on time, need someone to take ownership of projects, and who work best by being controlled and followed through the various project steps. An Operations Manager who follows a “being” oriented way of work lets their employees figure issues out on their own terms, allows projects to mature at their own pace and accepts their natural conclusion. Either method can be argued as the best, depending on the reaction of the employees to their manager’s style and their willingness to either accept the way things are or to take ownership more aggressively. A successful leader will also make their work style known, but also should know and mirror the style of work their job position, or company, dictates.
Adams, Bob (1996) Small Business Start-Up: Your comprehensive guide to starting and managing a business. Cincinnati, OH: Adams Media.
Adler, N. J. (2002). International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western. Class Material highlights: How to think like a CEO for the 90′s; Global Paradox; Perception of the world case studies.
The five canons of classical rhetoric, first introduced to the world in Cicero’s De Inventione, are important in the organization and mastery of oral or written rhetoric, and critical to the success of modern day speeches, presentations or reports, particularly in the corporate workplace. Although Roman statesman Marcus Cicero was only nineteen when he wrote his original work on the subject, he spent his remaining life re-inventing the ideas about how to master rhetoric through the five canons he identified in this first work. The five canons discussed in this paper are Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory and Delivery. In today’s work environment, many manifestations of the original classical canons can be clearly seen. Some examples of the work that would be subject to the utilization of the canons would be speeches, presentations, company memos, meeting outlines, mission statements, and sales or marketing reports.
In the history of rhetoric, Marcus Cicero’s introduction to the idea of organizing ideas to form a better structure and more common outline to a speech was a foreign idea. That is because writers during Cicero’s lifetime had so far used rhetoric for persuasion, and most rhetors worked without planning for the purpose of tailoring speeches to their audience (Griffin, 2006.) In addition, the classical canons are not always considered vital among rhetorical theorists; in fact, they are sometimes suspected of stifling creativity in writing and taking personalization out of a speech. Style, one of the five canons, determines the writing’s overall feeling and can be changed according to who the audience is or what the intent of the speaker is. Another example would be the canon of memorization, which could cause a rhetor’s own writing come across as robotic or even uninspired.
Cicero’s intention in developing the canons as they are known today was to make discourse easier, not harder. Prior to the idea of organizing speeches, writers and rhetors in Roman society had no common method by which to create their work. A poet had no structure; a speech had no introduction or conclusion; the idea of a speaker knowing his work enough to recite it was most well known through the idea of preaching, an art whose reach did not extend beyond the church it served. Cicero’s canons provided a clear pattern that was both easily followed and recognizable across many different forms of rhetoric.
Cicero had many strong opinions about the use of rhetoric. One of his most famous ideas about rhetoric was that the tongue (which represents speech) and the brain (which represents analyzation and planning) should come together and act as one force, and not be separated into different methods of teaching based on either who could present better or who could acquire more knowledge (Mendelson, 1997.) As a writer, Cicero never intended the canons to result in a stilted delivery; instead, he showed through his work that efforts to arrange, set style and practice delivery actually resulted in rhetorical discourse which was more fluid and spontaneous than it would have been without the careful use and study of each canon. In addition, the canons provided a definition to a genre of rhetoric which before had been lacking a distinct organization or method.
Cicero’s work was published during the golden days of the Roman Empire and prior to its fall and decline into the Middle Ages. Roman scholars were more numerous than Greek scholars because more of their society was able to participate in the education which introduced them to the art of rhetoric (Griffin, 2006.) During this time, Roman scholars sought to bring more weight to the style and arrangement of their work in order to fully engage the audience and control the speeches they were giving. By dividing oral rhetoric into easily manageable sections, rhetors could now view each canon individually and therefore realize its importance on its own and as part of the art of rhetoric as a whole.
The Real World
Today’s corporate workplace is often the first environment in which we are able to put to use our knowledge of rhetoric. Though college students are introduced to the elements such as memory and style when studying topics such as public speaking, it is not easy for professors to judge the learning of such concepts. It is only in the corporate environment or “real world” where students can fully use and understand all five classical canons. The corporate or office workplace is also an easily illustratable setting to show how the canons of rhetoric can be used to enhance our communication efforts at work. One strength of Cicero’s canons is that they transcend time in their importance- we see them at work throughout history in many different types of rhetoric, and we consistently refer to them when heading meetings, devising company memos, conducting interviews, engaging in team brainstorming sessions, and presenting our work to management. We seek methods to make our communication with others easier in the workplace, and the rhetorical canons of rhetoric accomplish that.
The Five Canons of Rhetoric
Cicero’s idea of invention, or arguments for either side of an idea (such as benefits and disadvantages), was divided into either topics or stopping points. The most used method in the corporate workplace is topics, which is most often used to brainstorm or generate multiple ideas on a subject. For example, if asked to present a report on the current status of your sales team, a topical system of invention would allow for multiple contributions about the sales numbers, highest volume clients, number of people on the team, and so on. A stopping point approach, which Cicero describes in his De Inventione, would identify the topic which lies in the middle between two opposing ideas. Using the same idea, sales numbers, a stopping point or stasis would present both negative and positive reasons for the current sales situation. If sales are down, we would seek to describe which accounts have failed to be successful and why. If sales are up, we would want to share the success and contracts won with these accounts. Thomas Sloane (1989) believes that the process of invention is most crucial during the process of coming to agreement at this stopping point- the point at which the pros and cons of the subject must meet in the middle at an agreed-upon basis for argument- before the speech or memo can continue successfully. Without a stasis, there can be no real argument or “sides”, which render the rhetoric almost invalid (or at the very least, uninteresting.)
Invention can be thought of most easily as brainstorming or “playing devil’s advocate” and seeing the negative aspects of a subject, but without invention, a subject is not worth further effort. If the sales reports show upward sales and there is no reason for discussion about issues or customer complaints, the process of invention or the discovery of valid arguments cannot continue. Furthermore, a rhetor during this stage of the five canons can use the idea of the stopping point to determine what ideas may cause disagreement and avoid them- or they may use the impending disagreement to their advantage, to show alternative options (such as additional sales efforts) or to gain audience interest in their speech (such as discussing slow sales to prepare their audience for the delivery of more positive ideas later in the presentation.) Although discovery of possible points of disagreement or contention was first used in the Roman courtroom to argue for or against a crime, its use is equally important in determining major topics of concern at work, and major topics usually evoke major emotions or opinions- something one may want to avoid in a corporate work setting.
The second of Cicero’s canons, arrangement, is a six-part method of putting together compositions (either oral or written.) When discussing invention, I used an example of a sales report. For the canon of arrangement, we can use another corporate workplace staple, the company memo. At its most basic, the canon of arrangement is the structure by which its previous step, the invention of topic or stopping point, is arranged. Without structure, ideas can take any number of routes beyond the immediate discourse. With arrangement of ideas, they can be neatly divided into ways that best fit the rhetor’s audience and situation. A company memo that details the sale of the company might be differently arranged than one about the company picnic. Materials should be composed effectively so as to clarify the rhetor’s ideas, organize them into digestible sections, group them according to topic and constrain the speech to stay on target with the original idea. When a sales report, as one example, is arranged, it may be divided by sales region or by customer, but it should be done in a way that the audience can mentally file the information. Arrangement was the central idea to Cicero’s composition of any speech (Enos, 1985) and was key to begin the processing of ideas from simple realization and creation to concrete actions and thoughts for future research. If the end result of speech is for the audience is to be persuaded to one side or another, arrangement of the composition should be organized to ensure maximum results.
Arrangement must include the following: an introduction, a statement of facts, a division between ideas (if there is one), proof or evidence supporting all ideas, refutation of ideas, an optional digression, and conclusion. During the process of arrangement, a rhetor mostly uses logical arguments to support their information, but can digress into appeals by emotion or authority if necessary. Let us use the example of a presenting an annual sales report to upper management. The topics have been introduced, and the possible negative implications of sharing sales information have been addressed. Workers who are not familiar with the sales department must be introduced to its unique characteristics (for example, goals for the year, relation to the rest of the company, and so forth.) The sales numbers are shared with the group. If there is any difference between sales regions, they should be addressed. For example- does one sales region show higher numbers due to a new client in their geographical region? Does one region have lower numbers because a star salesperson retired recently? All sales regions and their numbers should be given the same importance throughout the presentation. If there is an opportunity for question and answering, perhaps the group should interact at this point. Sharing ideas must not always end with the invention of arguments.
The third canon is known as style or sometimes, expression. This is an extremely influential canon which employs the rhetor’s personal style and allows them to adapt it to their topic or their audience for the most optimal result. Invention and arrangement are concerned more with what is being said, style is concerned with how it is being said. In modern literature, rhetoric is often used to convey frilly or wordy passages, as in “that’s just mere rhetoric.” The reason is that Ciceronian rhetoric is actually very concerned with the style of the ideas that one has generated, though Cicero most likely never meant for the idea of “style” to be confused with overly flowery writing. Overly elaborate or ornamental writing is not always meant to disguise rhetoric, but rather to enhance it. . (Mendelson, 2001).
Style is something that is sometimes encouraged in the workplace. A speaker cannot recite ideas and expect people to listen. Instead, they must accompany their ideas with the proper expression to help convey them. Let us imagine we are in attendance at a very crucial job interview. The interviewer has presented the job outline, shared information on what a “day in the life” of the new job will entail, and you are trying to figure out if this is indeed the job for you. The interviewer can do many things to help gain your interest at this point. She may describe the job using metaphors- “Making a sale of medical equipment is like being a patient in the hospital. We have to learn everything that a patient would go through when seeking treatment.” She may appeal to your sense of professionalism by saying “This job is not for the faint of heart- I can tell you would fit right in.” Both of these are examples of style- metaphor and pathos, respectively- which could sway your decision one way or another, depending on your own style and how they mesh with your interviewer’s. When presenting a sales report, style is just as important as the numbers being presented. With or without style, the sales report will still be communicated, but not as effectively, persuasively, or emotionally as if you employed the use of style to your benefit when presenting.
The fourth canon, memory, has less to do with what we consider memorization (of a speech) and more of innate knowledge of one’s topic. (McKeon, 1975.) A rhetor’s leadership and educational abilities were believed to be part of the training of memorization. In Cicero’s time, also, there was no electronic amplification, and a speaker’s voice had to carry to the end of the room to reach the entire audience. (Griffin, 2006.) This self-amplification was considered an important method of persuasion and excitement during a speech, and was thought to be more effective when a speaker had an inherent knowledge of their material and a keen rhetorical mind to emphasize certain parts of the speech. All of these talents were part of the canon of memorization. Cicero believed that memory was one of the abilities which separated humans from animals (McKeon, 1975.) Memory could be a natural part of learning material on which to present, or it could be the more technical exact memorization of specific portions of speech.
Memory can be utilized in a modern workplace for many outcomes, but it is particularly useful when communicating knowledge of a topic. Many times we are given a project to run, and left with only our existing knowledge and our potential to acquire new knowledge to attain the project goal. We can draw upon our memory to guide us through the project steps. Memory is as much actual recall as it is of-the-moment improvisation. Presenting first quarter sales results to a group of sales, marketing or operations teams can be daunting. Sales wants number results, marketing wants to know their promotions and advertising are working, and operations wants to make sure their inventory is low and everything ships accurately. The canon of memory allows the presenter to react to various types of feedback from their audience, because they are already aware of what the audience groups might ask. At work, especially in project management, questions are encouraged, and a presenter should know how to conduct a speech in an interactive environment such as a conference or focus group meeting. Pure memorization will not always be apropos or comfortable in this type of setting. It is crucial for a speaker to be able to respond to “left-field” questions and continue with a presentation. This is also true in other informal work environments, such as relaxed interviews, sales lunches, small group meetings, and focus groups. In these group settings, a speaker may be interrupted, and must be skilled enough draw the audience back to their main points without losing their interest, while at the same time being able to extemporize their speech and deliver an answer.
The fifth of Cicero’s five canons of rhetoric is that of delivery. Delivery is somewhat similar to the canon of style in that it concerns how something is spoken, but it is different because its focus is more on nonverbal behaviors which accompany speaking such as gesturing, vocal training, and emphasis. This canon is sometimes referred to as “elocution” because that word is derived from the Latin word “elocutio” (Agnew et al, 1997) but elocution is more currently associated with style, and that is not its original function. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered powerfully, emotionally and sincerely. In comparison, many US Presidents speak dryly, unemotionally, and methodically. Each rhetor has their own reasons to using various delivery methods, and each can be effective in affecting change or arousal in their particular audience.
Delivery, unlike arrangement, cannot be specifically taught or learned (Griffin, 2006.) It should also be tailored to fit the audience of the speech. Delivery can be incredibly subjective to an audience- people react differently depending on how much authority the speaker appears to have (this speaks to credibility) and how confidence they seem. Delivery can also be used to draw meetings to a natural close, such as the speaker intoning the voice downward. Many times a persuasive speaker will pause for emphasis between ideas, using silence to intentionally stir discomfort or to generate thoughts within their audience. Delivery can be found in written rhetoric as well as spoken. As Nancy Wood describes, delivery in an oral format should be natural and “fluid”, similar to a rough draft of a written format, and both types of delivery should be careful to “capture the logic of the original outline” or arrangement (Wood, 1979.) A company memo delivered in a non-authoritative tone may be useful in reaching out to employees for a human resources event. In ancient Rome, as discussed earlier in the canon of style, delivery was affected by lack of things such as microphones or monitors. In future research, it will be interesting to note how mass media elements such as radio, television and internet affect the various types of oral delivery (Agnew et al, 1997.)
Because Cicero and the Roman rhetors were most concerned with oral rhetoric, his original idea of delivery did not extend to written delivery, as Mendelson points out (2001) – but it is an important factor in both formats today. Delivery is so reliant on the rhetor’s use of ethos (appeal by using ethical arguments) or pathos (appeal using emotion), which often occur in the invention stage, that a rhetor could review his or her rough drafts for a guideline of how to deliver their work. For example, what is the desired end result of the speech? If the result is to shed a positive light on sales numbers which appear dismal, the speaker may opt to appeal to emotion in both their argument and their delivery. They may add that being in a recession is a difficult time to get distributors to purchase widgets, and their tone might be sympathetic, even and informal. If the end result is that the speaker needs volunteers for a long-term project, they may opt for a delivery which is straightforward, more formal, and appeals to the audience members’ sense of responsibility and authority to take charge of an important assignment which could be vital to their individual success in the company. In either example, the delivery of the speech can be crucial in attaining the end goal, if there is one. It is also the most lasting impression left with the audience.
Cicero wrote his canons of rhetoric based on the idea that a rhetor should seek to be eloquent and wise above all else. Eloquence consisted of delivering powerful and effective language to persuade people or to express oneself. Classical rhetoric has been and will continue to be, a “dominant theory for writing instruction” both in the workplace and beyond (Sloane, 1989.) A writer or rhetor must constantly review his or her work to align the purpose of the work with its original intention. Thus, the style and delivery should somewhat match the original ideas gathered in invention and arrangement. Any successful speech or memo should possess all of the classical rhetorical canons to fully organize and develop each section equally. When using examples in the corporate workplace, it is easy to see how each canon relies on the one before it, and how they can ideally form a united argument and outcome which is effective and makes efficient use of the speaker’s rhetorical proficiency. By using the classical rhetorical canons in the aspects of preparing and planning speeches and written communication in our careers, and by carefully tailoring them to our audiences, we can effectively persuade, influence, and express opinions in a manner that is well-organized and defined. Therefore, learning the major goals of the canons will allow us to represent our ideas confidently at work, and allow our workplace audiences to appreciate and value the efforts we make to do so.
Agnew, L., Barrett, H., Caplan, Corbett, E.J., H., Enos, R., & James, M. (1997.) The Classical Tradition: Rhetoric and Oratory. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Vol 27, No 2, pp 7-38.
Enos, R.L. (1985.) Ciceronian Disposito as an Architecture for Creativity in Composition: A Note for the Affirmative. Rhetoric Review, Vol 4, No 1, pp 108-110. Griffin, E. (2006.) A First Look at Communication Theory. McGraw Hill, New York. Mendelson, M. (1997.) Everything Must be Argued: Rhetorical Theory and Pedagogical Practice in Cicero’s De Oratore. Journal of Education, Vol. 179, Iss 10, pp 15-48. McKeon, R. (1975.) Arts of Invention and Arts of Memory: Creation and Criticism. Critical Inquiry, Vol 1, No 4, pp 723-739.Sloane, T.O. (1989.) Reinventing ‘Inventio’. College English, Vol 51, No 5, pp 461-473. Wood, N. (1979.) The Classical Canons in Basic Speech and English Classes. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Vol 9, No 4, pp 188-193.
Kenneth Burke’s work is important because as a theorist, Burke recognized that the art of rhetoric was a necessity to achieving wholeness in several aspects of our lives. In addition he believed we shared the ability and potential to achieve this wholeness through rhetoric and that this similarity which people share can bring them closer to themselves and to each other. Burke believed that people are inherently separated by their differences in a symbolic world, but that rhetoric can break through barriers and bring people together in their similarities through identification – a by-product of rhetoric that he wrote was “a necessary remedy for our alienation from one another.” (Herrick, p223.) Burke believed that people could use rhetoric and language to their benefit, continually explaining, symbolizing and interpreting the world around them in order to find common ground with others. Instead of language being arbitrary, Burke suggests that we choose our words and symbols, to effect change, choose social circles, and basically communicate ourselves to the highest level. In addition, people can suss out emotions, intentions and identities by the words we choose. Burke’s work holds the view that rhetoric is used to persuade both intentionally and unintentionally based on word choices and how one sets the stage for their presentation to others- concepts he discussed in his work , A Grammar of Motives, written in 1945. (Herrick, p228). Burke questions whether a person’s use of rhetorical symbols is deliberate or not- do we use rhetoric as a tool or as a way to identify with one another? Or is it something more? If symbols are the way we organize data and ideas, they can be unorganized too. Symbols and language unify people with our world and with one another, and the rules of rhetoric which we have created organize the system of symbols and language for whatever situation we deem appropriate.
I do agree with Burke’s main ideas that man (and woman) are symbol using, making and misusing animal. Taking an online class employs every use of rhetoric he describes in this piece. Also, for example, we are born with no idea what language is or its power, but we learn very quickly what to say and how to say it. Also we learn what gestures and actions to make with our words to create persuasion, evoke emotion and so forth. We are born without it, but we trust others to tell us about it. And when they do we simply act on it and become part of the system of rhetoric which has been growing and updating itself, through our own doing, for thousands of years. We use symbols and language to form hierarchies and we inadvertently place ourselves in that hierarchy by the words, language and symbols we choose. I agree with his theory that we create negative by making words for things immoral, with a negative bias toward others, or against ourselves. Perhaps in his time people were “rotten with perfection” when it came to rhetoric but I believe as we become more politically corrected and less inclined to be elite people will move away from this perfectionist tendency and more toward mediocrity. Although the potential for creation of new words or symbols is technically, infinite, I do not believe it will happen very fast, just little by little.
Burke believed the idea of identification- the antithesis to division amongst humans- was a vital reason for the use of rhetoric and particularly, symbols. He believed that separation or isolation from others was something we automatically felt hurt by and that we yearned to identify with others through our use of symbols and not be apart from them. In fact people are usually drawn to similarities in one another at least at first. I am not sure that it replaces persuasion, however, as the major theme of rhetoric. Rhetoric was born out of the need for ideas to spread quickly and to invoke thought and commonality. People believed those who spoke because they used rhetoric to gain support for themselves, not always with the noblest of intentions. Persuasion continues as a very strong use of rhetoric even past Burke’s meaty writing during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and probably became even stronger as time went by. This I believe is mostly due to the mass media taking shape and specifically, television. Most recently, the internet has spread persuasive ideas, articles, points of views and blogs to anyone willing to read them. People may seek identification first and foremost, but we end up being swayed into some idea or another as we seek it. It’s possible the two ideas are so intertwined they really cannot be separated. The need for identification makes us vulnerable to the threat of negative persuasion. In turn, positive persuasion may give us the identity with each other we seek.
Burke, K. (1966). Language as Symbolic Action. University of CA Press: Berkeley.
Herrick, J.A. (2005). The History and Theory of Rhetoric. Allyn & Bacon: New York.
Rhetoric during the Enlightenment Era
During the Enlightenment history shows many parallels to the classical rhetoric defined by Aristotle, Plato, Cicero et al. Like the classical theorists, Giambattista Vico wanted to harken back to the times when rhetoric was considered part of the foundation for society- not just an art for aimless dreamers. He believed in the creation of a perfect orator, like Cicero had believed- someone who could be skilled in the “command of the whole cycle of learning” that came along with studying the language arts. (Herrick, p177). Unlike Cicero though, Vico believed that rhetoric could also be used as a tool to help people make connections between things in the world they could describe and things that surpassed their “sensory awareness” (Herrick, p177.) Vico used metaphor to explain the use of rhetoric as wit to make unusual distinctions between words and objects, just like Aristotle had done. He also wanted to reinvent the system of topical systems that had been present in classical rhetorical studies of Cicero. George Campbell wrote that theology and ethics were the “most sublime of all sciences” (Herrick, p187.) This made me think back to Aristotle’s use of the ethical argument for persuasion as a strong method for the use of rhetoric. Finally, Campbell’s connection between rhetoric and eloquence- using words that one believes only to be truthful and good to make their points- is reminiscent to Quintilian’s idea of the eloquent orator. Quintilian wrote that “Eloquent speeches….are the products of research, analysis, practice and application.” (Herrick, p108). Compare this to Campbell’s eloquence theory about rhetoric being divided into effective psychological groupings to enhance rhetoric’s appeal. Also compare this to Aristotle’s idea of appeal via emotion (Pathos) and one can see a direct connection from Campbell’s psychologically based theory to Aristotle’s.
Campbell’s theory of eloquence was less about style and more about connecting with one’s audience. He simply researched the patterns of the human mind and was able to apply psychological information (science) to the art of rhetoric and successful speechmaking or argumentation. He realized most of what the scientific world offered could not apply to rhetoric exactly, but that people listening to someone’s speech, or people discussing something, would be able to use language to the best of their ability to describe something to the highest level of knowledge possible, using mostly “the best conclusions possible.” Campbell knew that to persuade, emotion needs to be used effectively. We see both the eloquence and persuasion theories at work today in political campaigning- a candidate stirs a feeling that we must act on something because we believe it to be true and right. A candidate does not necessarily have to prove something for people to vote for them. All they must do is judge the situation based on their audience and know the level of knowledge and emotion needed to persuade voters to their side.
The elocutionary movement’s social advancements allowed men and women to refine their use of language. As it does even today, a certain way of using language- for example, polite, wise, and eloquent- may signify a higher level of education or a certain higher class of society. Without proper training and delivery, someone could lower themselves to appearing poorly schooled and people would be drawn away from what they had to say, no matter how important or intelligent. This movement showed rhetoric’s use of the distribution of power from those who were not willing to learn rhetoric or could not afford to be educated on it, to those who were. The belles lettres movement opened the rhetorical speaking arena to others’ perceptions and criticisms. Rhetoric had an effect on people depending on how it was used- this movement describes the new idea society had about style and emphasis of speeches or writings and less about how well they stuck to the book in their making. It was a slightly elitist and artistic movement in which the idea of tasteful writing was made popular, and in which theorists began to separate the styles and tastes they judged written and spoken rhetoric with. Belles lettres showed rhetoric’s ability to separate power, again, but it also shaped knowledge in the community. For example, people recognized whether or not someone’s writing was to their liking based on factors that others had described before them. Theorists wrote books together discussing particular writers’ styles and began to agree on what they considered good or bad. Finally, the psychological movement (noted above as being developed by George Campbell) showed an interest in the working of the human mind. This was a take on the Humanist theory we know existed during the Renaissance a hundred years previous. At last, people were concerned with how what they said or wrote connected with people on a personal level. Finally, rhetoric could be used to help build community and bring people together who shared similar ideas or emotions with regard to writing and speeches. This is not unlike a current example of a book club, where people who share similar ideas about a book present their thoughts based on emotion and experience, or go on to write book reviews that millions of people agree with. The fact is, the human emotion scale is only so long- somewhere, someone agrees with the piece, and sharing this information is key to building community and understanding one another.
Reference: Herrick, J.A. (2005). The History and Theory of Rhetoric.
Da Vinci: How does he represent the Renaissance?
Leonardo da Vinci’s life and his works represent classic Renaissance traits of thinking that characterized this era. Da Vinci’s paintings, such as the famous Mona Lisa, depicted a woman with a mysterious nature, a human component, and attractiveness that was not evident in Middle Age artwork. Da Vinci was considered a thinker and artist who brought about the beginning of as well as illustrated the Humanist way of thinking. In other words, he believed strongly in people’s ability to learn and capacity to learn; specifically, through scientific means, research, testing and logic. He believed the human mind was limitless with regard to the amount of knowledge it could learn and hold. Da Vinci’s artwork portrayed people in harmony with nature and the environment (using the example of the Mona Lisa)- this painting shows natural landscapes and backgrounds that flow with the curvature of the human outline of the woman in the portrait. The Renaissance also spurred a deepening interest in the intricacies of the human body. Da Vinci brought anatomy into his research and developed theories about how the human body’s proportions should be linear, or tied to actual human bodies and not divine bodies as they had been portrayed or painted for centuries. He drew sketches of the human anatomy and its relative dimensions in his notebooks and challenged previous scientific information discounted. His affinity to the human body, human beings and the importance of science and truth, as well as the challenging of old information and zest for new discoveries and prolific art, makes Leonardo da Vinci an excellent representation of all that the Renaissance entailed.
Aspects of Humanism Da Vinci’s work illustrates
2. I touch upon the Humanistic approach which Da Vinci had (above) towards science and art. The basic tenets of the movement included a leaning toward teaching people so as to provide them with “free and active minds” (Herrick, p156.) Humanists were a new breed of scholars who drew upon older Roman works by Cicero and Quintilian to assist them in their learning ventures. Now that Italian society was less structured by class and open to learning about the rich history of their state, it was believed by Humanists that people of all class levels should be able to study topics such as poetry, art, history, music and rhetoric, and gain understanding on deeper meanings of each. Da Vinci, as other Humanists, believed in the potential of human understanding and intellect, and he believed everyone possessed this potential regardless of class standing or lot in life. Da Vinci also showed an interest in having his art display the human body as it is normally seen, instead of in a divine or fantastical way. This was a step toward defining Humanism as something separate than the Church and godlike artwork. It also showed that Da Vinci and his colleagues in the movement were moving more towards studying the anatomy and physical attributes of the human body- considered close to basic Humanist principles of human-centered studies.
Connections between Humanist aspects and the Renaissance movement
Connections between the aspects of Humanism as described above and rhetoric can be drawn. Discoveries of works by earlier rhetors such as Quintilian were key to uncovering rhetoric works of Rome in earlier times. During the Middle Ages, such intense analyzation on rhetoric as art was somewhat stifled, so the recovery of some of these great works brought about interest and depth to the Humanist movement, and gave it reason to grow. The reason was to create a perfect intellectual “Renaissance Man”- well rounded, educated and spoken- based upon the word around him, inside him, and that came before him. Human will and motivation was studied from earlier works by Aristotle and Cicero. Humanist scholars added another level of rhetoric study known as Pathologia, or the study of human passions and emotions which comes from the emotional power of language and writing. Humanists also yearned to study rhetorical works for what they considered to be their “true meaning” and not their meaning as religion would dictate it (Herrick, p158.) They referred to rhetoric in full context, concerned that to not do so would compromise its meaning or intent. They studied it in its purest form as it was meant to be written and copied without intervention from the sometimes inauthentic musings of clergy.
Human Relationship with the Divine during the Renaissance
During the Italian Renaissance, based on my readings, I feel that society began to emerge from believing everything they read to questioning and wanting truth. Science became more intertwined with education and rhetoric and people wanted to know the facts on the world around them, both immediate world (society, anatomy,) to the far-off world (the earth itself, continents, topology and maps- and later, space.) Instead of relying on divine beings and church readings to answer the big questions in life, people relied on scientists, the human mind and their understanding and unraveling of facts to do so. Perhaps religion also took a more naturalistic turn during this time. People saw beauty in nature, sky, plants, landscapes, mountains, and rivers, and in their own bodily makeup, which amazed them and gave them feeling of higher power existing beyond their lifetimes. Fine art and more creative writing may have led people to develop their own beliefs about life instead of having a blind faith and loyalty toward the Church alone. People themselves could accomplish wonderful things like poetry, painting, rhetorical mastery, and scientific discoveries, and this was a newfound power and direction toward both the inner self and the awe-inspiring things a human being could create, with or without the help of a God.