A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Communication

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Organizational communication, broadly speaking, is: people working together to achieve individual or collective goals. The field traces its lineage through business information, business communication, and early mass communication studies published in the 1930s through the 1950s.

 

1.
#35049

A Manifesto for Slow Communication  (link broken)

We need context in order to live, and if the environment of electronic communication has stopped providing it, we shouldn't search online for a solution but turn back to the real world and slow down. To do this, we need to uncouple our idea of progress from speed, separate the idea of speed from effi­ciency, pause and step back enough to realize that efficiency may be good for business and governments but does not always lead to mindfulness and sustainable, rewarding relationships.

Freeman, John. Wall Street Journal, The (2009). Articles>Communication>Technology>Rhetoric

2.
#31840

A Team Approach to Information Architecture

A case study of a team approach to information architecture at Duke University by graduates of the Duke Continuing Studies Technical Communication Certificate program.

Olson, Amy, Sangita Koli and Dino Ruggiero. Carolina Communique (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Information Design>Content Management

3.
#20904

ABC Intercultural Committee  (link broken)

The Intercultural Committee of the Association for Business Communication is a resource for the members of the organization: to promote awareness of intercultural and international differences and similarities; to foster excellence in intercultural business communication research; to honor and celebrate cultural diversity in classrooms, in businesses, and in corporations; and to allow for different culture-driven communication styles.

Association for Business Communication. Organizations>Business Communication>International

4.
#26692

The Abductive Inference: An Effective Tool for Science Communication

Suggests that the interrelated skills of understanding and representing (re-presenting) the abductive inference (often neglected in technical and professional communication pedagogy) are critical for the scientific communicator vis-a -vis kairos, and that science communication instructors ought to develop a pedagogy that includes the instruction of this skill.

Graham, S. Scott. Orange Journal, The (2005). Articles>Scientific Communication>Rhetoric

5.
#34559

“About Us” Doesn’t Have to be All “Ugh.”

No matter how beautifully designed, if a site’s voice doesn’t ring true, it’s easy to spot an “ugh.” Rather than using this section of a site like a congratulatory press release, consider approaching “About Us” like a magazine’s Editor Letter.

Vollenweider, Julie. Brain Traffic (2009). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Business Communication

6.
#28628

Absence May Make the Heart Grow Fonder, But...

The adage 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' may hold true. Many people in long-distance relationships say that the being away from their partner makes the time they are together special; every day they are together is like Valentine's Day. The absence, they say, helps them to appreciate their partner more and makes the relationship stronger. In fact, people in long-distance relationships tend to maintain their relationships longer, be less likely to break up, and be more in love and satisfied than people in geographically close relationships. Long-distance partners think fond thoughts and some even report they enjoy the anticipation of the reunion and the excitement of being together. People in long-distance relationships tend to be more idealized and romanticized.

Stafford, Laura. Communication Currents (2007). Articles>Communication

7.
#18616

Academic Writing: Scientific Reports

This handout describes an organizational structure commonly used to report experimental research in many scientific disciplines, the IMRAD format: Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion. (This format is usually not used in reports describing other kinds of research, such as field or case studies, in which headings are more likely to differ according to discipline.) Although the main headings are standard for many scientific fields, details may vary; check with your instructor, or, if submitting an article to a journal, refer to the instructions to authors.

University of Wisconsin (2003). Articles>Scientific Communication>Reports

8.
#37487

Accessibility and Order: Crossing Borders in Child Abuse Forensic Reports   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Physicians write child abuse forensic reports for nonphysicians. We examined 73 forensic reports from a Canadian children's hospital for recurrent strategies geared toward making medical information accessible to nonmedical users; we also interviewed four report writers and five readers. These reports featured unique forensic inserts in addition to headings, lists, and parentheses, which are typical of physician letters for patients. We discuss implications of these strategies that must bridge the communities of medical, social, and legal practice.

Spafford, Marlee M., Catherine F. Schryer, Lorelei Lingard and Marcellina Mian. Technical Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Scientific Communication>Reports>Biomedical

9.
#31694

Accomplishing Knowledge: A Framework for Investigating Knowing in Organizations   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article proposes a shift in how researchers study knowledge and knowing in organizations. Responding to a pronounced lack of methodological guidance from existing research, this work develops a framework for analyzing situated organizational problem solving. This framework, rooted in social practice theory, focuses on communicative knowledge-accomplishing activities, which frame and respond to various problematic situations. Vignettes drawn from a call center demonstrate the value of the framework, which can advance practice-oriented research on knowledge and knowing by helping it break with dubious assumptions about knowledge homogeneity within groups, examine knowing as instrumental action and involvement in a struggle over meaning, and display how patterns of knowledge-accomplishing activities can generate unintended organizational consequences.

Kuhn, Timothy and Michele H. Jackson. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Knowledge Management>Organizational Communication

10.
#34856

The Accomplishment of Authority Through Presentification: How Authority Is Distributed Among and Negotiated by Organizational Members   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The complex distribution and negotiation of authority in real time is a key issue for today's organizations. The authors investigate how the negotiations that sustain authority at work actually unfold by analyzing the ways of talking and acting through which organizational members establish their authority. They argue that authority is achieved through presentification—that is, by making sources of authority present in interaction. On the basis of an empirical analysis of a naturally occurring interaction between a medical coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières and technicians of a hospital supported by her organization, the authors identify key communicative practices involved in achieving authority and discuss their implications for scholars' understanding of what being in authority at work means.

Benoit-Barné, Chantal and François Cooren. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Management>Organizational Communication>Rhetoric

11.
#31559

Accountability and Return-On-Investment

Once viewed more as art than science, marketers are increasingly interested in measuring performance. Like it or not, there is a new wave of accountability in the world of marketing, and if you're not prepared, you could get swept under it. Companies are becoming increasingly concerned with ensuring that all activities are profitable. As a result, each dollar invested in marketing is being challenged to demonstrate bottom line performance. New forms of marketing, escalating ad costs and tools that purport to measure marketing effectiveness have all contributed to the pressure traditional media is facing to "prove its worth."

Watrall, Rick. Communication World Bulletin (2003). Articles>Business Communication>Marketing>Assessment

12.
#13950

Achieve It All!  (link broken)   (PowerPoint)

When the opportunity arose in 1990, I purchased a franchise from the Success Motivation Institute and presented literally hundreds of workshops on goal setting. I was overjoyed at the opportunity to finally achieve all my dreams through a business such as this. I learned about goal setting and Paul Meyer's Million Dollar Personal Success Plan. I loved the idea of teaching people how to help themselves become self-motivated and achieve their goals. But, there was a problem in my dream world. In order to run a business you must sell your products or services, and I simply hated being in sales! I just wouldn't get out and ask people to buy the goal setting plan. It wasn't that I didn't believe in it, because I do! When I finally started listening to myself as I taught others how to achieve happiness, I actually used goal setting to make the decision to give up that business and go back to technical writing.

Laurent, J. Suzanna. Prodigy (2002). Presentations>Slideshows>Technical Writing>Business Communication

13.
#22641

Achieving International Communication Success  (link broken)

The world is getting smaller in terms of how fast information gets passed around and, at the same time, larger. Larger in the sense that there are new markets, new languages, and new cultures to understand, as we market and sell around the world.

Winters, Elaine. bena.com (1999). Articles>Business Communication>International

14.
#31095

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

15.
#14542

ACT NOW: A Six-Step Crisis Communication Strategy  (link broken)   (PDF)

Because a crisis by nature catches people unprepared, every organization must have a crisis communication strategy firmly in place to guide those involved through the rough, uncharted waters. An effective strategy is a what I call A-C-T N-O-W: (1) Anticipate disaster before a crisis, using risk management techniques. (2) Care about people affected. (3) Tell what you know immediately. (4) Note your next steps. (5) Offer help to reinforcements. (5) Write press kits and other pieces of public information. Since crisis mismanagement can lead to the end of the company, effective preparation for a crisis may well save your company’s life.

Reimold, Cheryl. STC Proceedings (1995). Presentations>Management>Risk Communication>Crisis Communication

16.
#31675

Action Research and Wicked Environmental Problems: Exploring Appropriate Roles for Researchers in Professional Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The authors report on a 3-year action-research project designed to facilitate public involvement in the planned dredging of a canal and subsequent disposal of the dredged sediments. Their study reveals ways that community members struggle to define the problem and work together as they gather, share, and understand data relevant to that problem. The authors argue that the primary goal of action research related to environmental risk should be to identify and support the strategies used by community members rather than to educate the public. The authors maintain that this approach must be supported by a thorough investigation of basic rhetorical issues (audience, genre, stases, invention), and they illustrate how they used this approach in their study.

Blythe, Stuart, Jeffrey T. Grabill and Kirk Riley. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2008). Articles>Risk Communication>Community Building>Environmental

17.
#30852

Actively Learning About Readers: Audience Modelling in Business Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The advantages of peer feedback in business writing classes are clear. Students receive more appraisals of their writing than any single lecturer can ever realistically deliver. Also, the feedback comes from different perspectives and sometimes carries extra credibility coming from fellow students. Students gain from giving one another feedback as well. It is certainly learning by doing. Critiquing the work of colleagues raises awareness of the many ways to approach a given task and demands skills of analysis and attention to detail. Delivering feedback also requires tact and the ability to look for positives to commend as well as areas to improve. Reviewing written documents is a skill that students will certainly use in their future work lives. However, many of us have experienced problems with peer reviewing. Students hesitate to criticise their friends and prefer praising in a general way rather than suggesting improvements, which requires confidence.

Holst-Larkin, Jane. Business Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Audience Analysis

18.
#30840

Activists' Influence Tactics and Corporate Policies   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Corporations increasingly pay attention to issues of social responsibility, but their policies and procedures to articulate such responsibilities are not just a result of the good will of top management. Often, such policies and procedures are devised because some stakeholders raised their voice on issues relating to the interests of employees, investors, governments, and others. One category of visible though heterogeneous stakeholders is composed of 'activist groups.' In this article, we present a range of tactics that activist groups employ to influence corporate policy and conclude with some corporate policy responses to these tactics, illustrated with some examples. Different Tactics Activist groups usually start an influence campaign by collecting and organizing information about some issue about which they are concerned (e.g., sustainable development, human rights, labor conditions), disseminating this information to their audiences and formulating desired outcomes. They inform the target firm's top management of their particular concern and propose desired outcomes or alternative courses of action. If the firm's responses are considered inadequate, they will likely continue their campaign, but by starting to employ a more varied set of tactics. Below, we discuss four different types of tactics that activist groups use to leverage pressure on firms and that do not rely on the state or legal action for resolution of the issue: shareholder activism, political consumerism, social alliances, and alternative business systems (de Bakker and den Hond, 2007).

de Bakker, Frank G.A. and Frank den Hond. Business Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Policies and Procedures

19.
#29735

Adapting Technical Communication Core Skills to Navigate the Health Care System  (link broken)   (PDF)

Technical communicators gather data from subject-matter experts and then transform it into information that helps users accomplish tasks. In this workshop, we demonstrate how to adapt our expertise to effectively interact with health care professionals--to improve our understanding of the health care industry. By relying on our professional skills, we can successfully navigate the health care maze and effectively operate in the "foreign" environment of the doctor's office, hospital, and care facilities. And, in doing so, we will improve the quality of care we receive.

Isakson, Carol S. and Katherine Brennan Murphy. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

20.
#31395

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

21.
#36295

Addressing Resistance to Change in Policy and Procedure Writing

Policy writing and procedure writing is challenging because of the mechanics involved. Words must be carefully chosen; nuances must be considered. Understanding the mechanics of writing these documents is critical; however, an often overlooked aspect should be dealt with before the first word is written. How can policy and procedure writing tiptoe around the elephant in the room that everyone is trying to ignore?

Hibbard, Catherine S. Cypress Media Group (2010). Articles>Business Communication>Policies and Procedures>Technical Writing

22.
#30724

Advance Organizers in Advisory Reports: Selective Reading, Recall, and Perception   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

According to research in educational psychology, advance organizers lead to better learning and recall of information. In this research, the authors explored advance organizers from a business perspective, where larger documents are read under time pressure. Graphic and verbal advance organizers were manipulated into six versions of an advisory report, read by 159 experienced professional readers in a between-subjects design. Their reading time was limited to encourage selective reading. The results show that graphic advance organizers facilitate selective reading, but they do not enhance recall. Verbal advance organizers introducing a problem enhance recall, and graphic advance organizers moderate the effects on both selective reading and recall.

Lagerwerf, Luuk, Louise Cornelis, Johannes de Geus and Phidias Jansen. Written Communication (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Collaboration

23.
#21540

Advanced Professional Writing

This course is designed for undergraduates and graduates interested in the professional writing and publishing of both print based and electronic documents. Through a variety of projects, we will cover advanced theories of document design, web-based publishing, educational media, information delivery, and multimedia production. The course is designed so that students will have opportunities to work on both electronic and print based projects.

Bay, Jennifer. Purdue University (2003). Academic>Courses>Writing>Business Communication

24.
#22812

Advanced Professional Writing  (link broken)

English 515 is designed for undergraduates and graduates interested in professional writing for both print and electronic publication. Students learn to produce documents and coordinate writing projects, study and apply principles of document design and electronic publication using appropriate application software, and work in teams in computer-networked environments. Students will work both individually and collaboratively as they document, utilize and analyze writing practices, literacy tools, and research methodologies.

Salvo, Michael J. Purdue University (2004). Academic>Courses>Writing>Business Communication

25.
#20618

Advice for Beginning Science Writers  (link broken)

This document is the record of a discussion that took place on the nasw-talk mailing list from May 10th through May 14th, 1997. It deals with several issues at the core of the science writing profession.

NASW (2006). Careers>Scientific Communication

 
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