A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Accepting Roles Created for Us: The Ethics of Reciprocity   (members only)

Grounded in theories of feminist research practices and in two empirical studies we conducted separately, our argument is that seeing reciprocity as a context-based process of definition and re-definition of the relationship between participants and researcher helps us understand how research projects can benefit participants in ways that they desire.

Powell, Katrina M. and Pamela Takayoshi. CCC (2003). Articles>Workplace>Ethnographies>Gender


Accountants as Communicators

While accountants have been stereotyped as bean counters or number crunchers, good writing skills are an essential element to their success. Accountants must master the concepts and proper application of generally accepted accounting principles, but also must show they can communicate that understanding to peers, superiors, and clients.

Kim, Kenneth. Trusted Professional, The (1998). Articles>Business Communication>Financial>Workplace


Acquired Disability and Returning to Work: Towards a Stakeholder Approach   (members only)

This article examines the potential application of stakeholder theory to the case of a disabled worker returning to work. A gated notion combining both the instrumental and ethical views of stakeholder theory is explored as a way to understand how to determine who may be classified as a stakeholder. This nuanced application of stakeholding to the process of returning to work lends itself to the consideration of mediation techniques as mechanisms of conflict avoidance rather than exclusively as dispute resolution techniques. Implications in terms of the study of the return to work process, disability, and the further potential for practical application are discussed.

Yue, Anthony R. Journal of Workplace Rights (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Accessibility>Workplace


Adaptive Technologies and Techniques for People with Vision Problems   (PDF)

Talk with Gloria Reece, a senior member of STC’s AccessAbility SIG who can help you understand vision problems and the technologies that exist to make information accessible. Get practical advice for implementing new technologies in your workplace.

Reece, Gloria A. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Accessibility>Visual>Workplace


Adding an Informal Touch to Organizational Communication

Some say it's a revolution that will change radio broadcasting and people's listening habits forever. Others say it's a fad that's of limited appeal or use to anyone but geeks and enthusiasts. Whatever anyone says, something that has rocketed out of nowhere and gotten big companies and radio stations alike interested (and after only eight months) must be worth investigating. That "something" is called podcasting.

Hobson, Neville. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Business Communication>Rhetoric>Workplace


"And Then She Said": Office Stories and What They Tell Us about Gender in the Workplace   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article calls for a rhetorical perspective on the relationship of gender, communication,and power in the workplace. In doing so, the author uses narrative in two ways.First, narratives gathered in an ethnographic study of an actual workplace, a plasticsmanufacturer, are used as a primary source of data, and second, the findings of this studyare presented by telling the story of two women in this workplace. Arguing that genderin the workplace, like all social identities, is locally constructed through the micro practicesof everyday life, the author questions some of the prevailing assumptions about genderat work and cautions professional communication teachers, researchers, and practitionersagainst unintentionally perpetuating global, decontextualized assumptionsabout gender and language, and their relationship to the distribution and exercise of power at work.

Weiland Herrick, Jeanne. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (1999). Articles>Collaboration>Workplace>Gender


The Anywhere Office = Anywhere Liability   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The 20th-Century office is dead. According to Telework Trendlines 2009, WorldatWork’s new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, the number of Americans working remotely at least once a month jumped 39%, from 12.4 million in 2006 to 17.2 million in 2008. Last year Congress even introduced bills that would encourage and expand telework programs in the federal government. Although the disap- pearing office boundaries caused by technological advances have obvious benefits for employers and employees, something else is dissolving along with those cubicle walls: clear limit lines of employer liability.

Genova, Gina L. Business Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Legal>Telecommuting>Workplace


Approximately "Real World" Learning with the Hybrid Model

Most workplace professionals write documents in a fairly mature way. They typically write: Independently or with collaborators, without direct or constant supervision; With frequent interaction with team members at remote locations, and not just with those at their own division or company; With computers and other electronic equipment; and With the freedom to make important decisions about project and time management, such as determining when and how to interact with others, how to collaborate with irresponsible writing partners, how to resolve unexpected problems that arise, and how to meet deadlines despite mishaps and obstacles. How can instructors of business and professional writing prepare students for the relative freedom and independence of this kind of thinking and writing?

Spilka, Rachel. Teaching With Technology Today (2002). Articles>Education>Writing>Workplace


Are You Interruptable?

I’m permanently interruptable because that’s my job. It took me quite a while to realise this, and getting yourself into a position to be interruptable isn’t all that easy. You need a good team around you (which I have) and you need to trust them and delegate to them as much as you can (I trust them, and I’m working on that delegation thing!).

McLean, Gordon. One Man Writes (2010). Articles>Workplace>Management>Collaboration


Barriers to Holistic Design Solutions

What keeps us, as UX professionals, from really solving problems holistically and designing total-system solutions that deeply meet our target users’ needs? At least three barriers to this holy grail of UX design endeavors seem pervasive in corporate environments: 1. We are rarely asked to provide holistic solutions. 2. We don’t understand the big picture. 3. Companies just are not set up to deliver holistic solutions.

Rohrer, Christian. UXmatters (2011). Articles>User Experience>Workplace


Be Concise

When giving overview information, be concise. Save the details and flowing language for those that want them or have the time, but don't slow down the skimmer. This doesn't mean skip the details, just keep them from people who don't need them.

Bricklin, Dan. Good Documents (1998). Articles>Writing>Workplace>Technical Writing


Breaking the Chain of Command: Making Sense of Employee Circumvention   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This study explores how employees accounted for their engagement in circumvention (i.e., dissenting by going around or above one's supervisor). Employees completed a survey instrument in which they provided a dissent account detailing a time when they chose to practice circumvention. Results indicated that employees accounted for circumvention through supervisor inaction, supervisor performance, and supervisor indiscretion. In addition, findings revealed how employees framed circumvention in ways that enhanced the severity and principled nature of the issues about which they chose to dissent.

Kassing, Jeffrey W. JBC (2009). Articles>Management>Workplace>Ethnographies


Capital Equipment Workshop   (PDF)

The purpose of this workshop is to expose members to the complexities of capital equipment budgeting and purchase. Specifically, the topics include: depreciation, useful life of a product, accounting and company policy. This workshop is for you if your group is using obsolete equipment and you need the skills to sell management on an upgrade for your department.

Caernarven-Smith, Patricia. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Workplace>Technology


CEOs Are From Mars...

With a creative background and an M.B.A., I’ve been a professional half-breed over the past 20 years. What I’ve learned is that the antagonism, hostility and resentment often felt on both sides of the equation is the outgrowth of a basic failure to understand what makes the other side tick.

Derricks, Alma. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Articles>Workplace>Communication


The Challenge of Line Manager Communication

There is a great deal of research around these days that makes the connection between employee engagement and good line manager communication. After all, as the saying goes, people don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers. The reality is there are many elements that make a bad manager. As communication professionals, we are not there to solve all the problems of socially challenged managers, but we do need to help them fulfill their role in effectively communicating to their people.

Cropley, Adrian. Communication World Bulletin (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Management>Workplace


Changing the Process of Institutional Review Board Compliance   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

In the past two years I have submitted proposals for the same study to eleven IRBs at colleges and universities across the country. While I strongly support the need for obtaining IRB approval, I believe as a discipline and as individuals we need to work to revise the IRB process. As it is now practiced at many institutions, the IRB process positions composition researchers and composition research in potentially problematic ways.

McKee, Heidi. CCC (2003). Articles>Usability>Workplace


Choose Sunwest: One Airline's Organizational Communication Strategies in A Campaign Against the Teamsters Union   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article presents a qualitative text analysis of persuasive documents written by a major U.S. airline in a 2004 counter-campaign against the Teamsters union. The methodology for this study is based on Stephen Toulmin's argument model, including his "double triad" and his interpretation of artistic proofs, which parallel the three classical rhetorical appeals. Actual corporate documents are featured in this article, supported by content from management conference calls that were attended by the researchers. The article concludes with implications for teaching and research in the field of technical and professional communication.

Ortiz, Lorelei A. and Julie Dyke Ford. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Management>Workplace


Collaborating with Student Interns and Graduates in Research that Contributes to the Development of Programs in Technical Communication   (peer-reviewed)

In what significant and distinctive ways is writing enmeshed in the professional sites our students will enter after graduation (or earlier, if they work as interns in such sites prior to graduation)? How can we distinguish between general, transportable aspects of writing expertise that can be developed in school and later applied effectively in a range of different workplaces and other, local aspects of writing expertise that are specific to particular professional environments and can only be acquired through on-site experience once there?

Smart, Graham. CPTSC Proceedings (2000). Articles>Education>Workplace


Collaboration Requires a Culture of Comfort

When we determined that the open-yet-structured environment of an internal wiki could provide all the information organization and collaboration we needed, we knew we would be facing push-back from a certain segment of our user population.

Gill, Karla. IT World Canada (2010). Articles>Collaboration>Workplace>Case Studies


Collecting Information: Qualitative Research Methods for Solving Workplace Problems   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

There is evidence that technical communicators are not well prepared to collect information designed to answer workplace problems with systematic methods. Because mastering the use of qualitative collection methods such as observation, artifact searches, and interviews is often incorrectly assumed to require little expertise, my goal is to show how much thought has gone into the systematic use of such methods in the social sciences, including business. Thus, I focus on the basic considerations involved in collecting information using qualitative methods, especially (though not exclusively) targeted for technical communicators within industry. To that end, I cover two broad areas: (a) fundamental issues, such as formulating researchable questions and addressing credibility and practicality in workplace research, and (b) the details of collecting qualitative information and also determining the specifics of an information collection plan. The topic of analyzing information after it is collected is not covered

Campbell, Kim Sydow. Technical Communication Online (1999). Articles>Usability>Workplace


Communicating Internally: Achieving Your Balance

Employees are inundated with mass information and messages. It is their responsibility to digest all this information in appropriate ways so that they can be effective in their roles, partner with others and help their company be profitable and competitive. Technology—e-newsletters, web mail, instant messaging—has greatly accelerated this environment of mass-transit communications, and while this saves time, it creates a bigger challenge: connecting and managing internal information clearly to align employees and maximize productivity.

Voss, Rebecca. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Workplace


Communication and Women in Engineering

Women can be either encouraged or discouraged to take on the role of engineer through communication. Encouraging women to take on the role of engineer is imperative because of the lack of women currently in engineering.

Brown, Sarah. Orange Journal, The (2005). Articles>Workplace>Engineering>Gender


Communicative Practices in the Workplace: A Historical Examination of Genre Development   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Although studies of actual communication practices in the workplace are now commonplace, few historical studies in this area have been completed. Such historical studies are necessary to help researchers understand the often com-plicated origins of genre conventions in professional discourse. Historical research that draws on contemporary genre theory helps address this void. A genre perspective is particularly valuable for helping researchers trace a given type of document s emergence and evolution. This perspective also provides a way of accounting for the connections between communicative practices and the other activities that occupy the attention of workplace organizations. To illustrate what this perspective brings to historical research in professional communication, I examine the development of communicative practices at a national production company that relied on texts to mediate its organizational activities across geographically dispersed locations.

Zachry, Mark. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2000). Articles>Business Communication>Workplace>History


Constructing the Organization: Engaging Students in the Public Role of Contemporary Corporations   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In recent years, many professional writing teachers have turned to service learning to achieve a number of important pedagogical goals. In addition to offering practical experience outside the classroom, service learning provides students with an “understanding of the community as well as a sense of their social and civic responsibilities” (Hutchinson, 2005, p. 428). For many of its advocates, service learning is “deeply connected to social action and democratic practices” (Weisser, 2002, p. 53) and subsequently serves as a way to engage students in understanding how their roles and responsibilities as professional writers are tied to matters of ethics and the public good. In this article, I describe a pedagogical approach that allows us to achieve many of the same pedagogical objectives afforded by service learning while allowing us to avoid many of the challenges of locating viable pedagogical opportunities outside the classroom. In essence, the writing activities in the approach I describe offer students the opportunity to investigate the social and civic responsibilities of contemporary for-profit corporations and consider how such responsibilities coincide with the pursuit of profit.

Bowers, Tom. Business Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Workplace


Copyright for Corporate Information Professionals: Staying Within the Law   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Considers the role of copyright in the dissemination of information within the corporate sector. Examines the various forms of authorization available for companies using copyright-protected content to ensure compliance with copyright law. Discusses the distinction the law makes between copying for a commercial purpose as opposed to copying for a non-commercial purpose. Looks at the limited scope for businesses to rely on the copyright exceptions to justify their copying, particularly fair dealing. Considers licensing as a way of being able to do more than the copying exceptions would allow, and the interrelationship between contract law and copyright law. Outlines some copyright legal cases and the lessons we can learn from them. Sets out examples of copying activities that should be avoided if one wants to reduce the risk of being accused of copyright infringement.

Pedley, Paul. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Workplace



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