The importance of cultivating the art of logical reasoning for empowerment and advancement: The successful female leader
Sluder, Jeanne Atwell
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The impetus for this study evolved out of my scholarship in the areas of rhetoric and business management. In spite of the overall good feeling that in the twenty-first century women are working and procuring jobs in management, the 2005 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners of the Fortune 500 revealed that women held only 16.5 percent of the Fortune 500 corporate officer positions. Of additional concern to me was that this gender inequity in top leadership positions was not just confined to the Fortune 500 corporate arena. In The Classic Touch: Lessons in Leadership from Homer to Hemingway, John K. Clemens and Douglas F. Mayer assert the source for "timeless and time-tested advice" on leadership is the classics. I agreed with these authors. I returned to Aristotle to uncover the real barrier as to why more women are not holding positions in top management. Aristotle valued logos as the most critical artistic appeal to effect persuasion. This study began by establishing that there is a rhetorical system of logical reasoning historically embedded with the male sphere of top management. Then, this study designed and assembled a case study on Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State and number one on Forbes 2004list of"The World's Most Powerful Women." My contention was that Condoleezza Rice had been socialized, educated, and mentored in the art of logical reasoning in high contrast to the emotional type of reasoning stereotypically associated with the female persona. I took Condoleezza Rice out of the margins and placed her front and center as a strong female leader in the predominantly male sphere of top management. I demonstrated that Condoleezza Rice has reasoning capabilities that are viewed by the polis as having the same power and authority as that found in men. The end goal of this dissertation was to remap rhetorical history by locating the cultivation of the art oflogical reasoning into the female praxis for empowerment and advancement as leaders in the workplace.