A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Policies and Procedures

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Policies should describe an organization's standards to govern decision-making within the organization. Procedures should be action oriented, grammatically correct, and written in a consistent style and format to encourage maximum usability.



Federal Scientific and Technical Information and the U.S. Competitive Edge   (PDF)

The importance of scientific and technical information stems from its critical role in all phases of the innovation process. These include education, basic research, applied research and development, product development and manufacturing, and the application of science and technology to meet the needs in the commercial, not-forprofit, and governmental markets.

U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment (1990). Articles>Technology>Policies and Procedures>Government


Five Books to Add to Your Technical Communication Library

Heidi Hansen takes 15 minutes to discuss five books that she read over the past year and published book reviews for.

Hansen, Heidi. Tech Writer Voices (2008). Articles>TC>Policies and Procedures>Podcasts


Five Key Intranet Policies

Most intranets have some form of policies and procedures, typically focusing on authoring guidelines and standards. The question is: are these the right policies to have? In many cases, intranet teams have established policies that they find difficult to enforce, while missing the opportunity to develop policies that will be much more beneficial for both the intranet team and the site itself. This briefing takes a different look at the role of intranet policies, and outlines five policies that all intranet teams should develop.

Robertson, James. Step Two (2006). Articles>Web Design>Intranets>Policies and Procedures


Forgotten Media for Communicating Policies and Procedures

Mention the words, “media for communicating policies and procedures (P&P),” and most people automatically think of printed bound manuals or binders, electronic document files on a server or intranet, or content on a Web site. Although these media are popular and often formal in nature, let’s not forget that there are other types of media that organizations may use to communicate their P&P.

Urgo, Raymond E. Policies and Procedures Authority, The (2008). Articles>Communication>Policies and Procedures


The Guilty Pleasure of Writing Policy and Procedure Documents

We have a number of projects running at the moment that involve us improving organisations’ policy and procedures documents. It may not seem likely, but these projects are enormous fun.

Pratt, Ellis. Cherryleaf (2012). Articles>Documentation>Policies and Procedures>Business Communication


HBS Cases: How Wikipedia Works (or Doesn't)

An ongoing tension within Wikipedia is characterized as the inclusionists versus the exclusionists. The inclusionists argue that one of Wikipedia's core values is that it should be open to all ideas, that truth emerges from a variety of directions. Better to include than exclude. The exclusionists see Wikipedia's utilitarianism diminished if too much froth clouds the valuable information inside. These people delete material they consider inappropriate. The case offers students a chance to understand issues such as how online cultures are made and maintained, the power of self-policing organizations, the question of whether the service is drifting from its core principles, and whether a Wikipedia-like concept can work in a business setting.

Silverthorne, Sean. Harvard University (2007). Articles>Knowledge Management>Policies and Procedures>Wikis


How Reading Levels Impact Writing Policies and Procedures

When you are writing policies and procedures, probably the last thing you have on your mind is the reading level of the document. Would it surprise you to learn that the reading level impacts the document's effectiveness in a very specific way? How can your readers understand, follow, or implement a policy or a procedure if they do not understand it?

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


How to Write a Disaster Recovery Plan

Tragic events are a part of life. While we can't predict them, we can prepare for them. Here are some tips on how to write a disaster recovery plan that will keep your organization operating during and after such events.

HelpScribe (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication>Policies and Procedures


Importance of "Nimbleness" in Managing Policies & Procedures

The ability of an organization to be nimble in its policy and procedures development, maintenance, communication, and implementation is necessary to adequately manage critical policy and procedures changes.

Urgo, Raymond E. Urgo and Associates (2010). Articles>Documentation>Policies and Procedures


Importance of Work Samples for Developing and Communicating Policies & Procedures

Work samples are an often forgotten data collection technique for quickly and effectively analyzing, developing, and communicating policies and procedures.

Urgo, Raymond E. Urgo and Associates (2010). Articles>Documentation>Policies and Procedures>Policies and Procedures


Improving Medical Treatment Procedures   (PDF)

Technical writers should be alert for opportunities to improve documentation in one technical field by using appropriate techniques from other fields. In this paper, the author presents ways of improving medical treatment procedures by using elements from engineering procedures, including introductions, safety sections, warnings, conditional (branching) statements, and notes.

Gibbs, Judith M. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Documentation>Biomedical>Policies and Procedures


Information Gathering for Policies and Procedures   (PDF)

Information gathering can be one of the most timeconsuming and potentially frustrating experiences when writing policies and procedures. Policy and procedure writers sometimes start from scratch and must investigate and research policies and procedures before the first word is ever written. Although there are many obstacles to obtaining accurate and timely information, there are also many avenues the policy and procedure writer can take to gather, utilize, and maintain information.

Dodwell, Christine. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Interviewing>Documentation>Policies and Procedures


Information Policies: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article presents a brief history of the development of ideas about national and organizational information policies, from the first establishment of a UK Ministry of Information in the First World War to the present day. The issues and tensions that have characterized attempts to develop and implement policies on the national and organizational scale are discussed, with particular reference to: the power relations between the parties to them; the relative significance accorded to information technology and information content; the transition from formulating policy to acting on it; and the threats to the survival of those policies that get as far as implementation. In conclusion, the contribution to date of information science to the theory and practice of information policies is assessed, and suggestions are offered on directions for future efforts, in the light of the past of this interesting field.

Orna, Elizabeth. Journal of Information Science (2008). Articles>Information Design>Policies and Procedures>History


Is It Time to Purge Segments of Your Policies & Procedures Content?

To avoid serious consequences to your organization and barriers to your users’ performance, it may be time to purge segments of your policies and procedures content.

Urgo, Raymond E. Urgo and Associates (2010). Articles>Documentation>Policies and Procedures>Content Management


Is Your Organization's Policies & Procedures Investment Ready for an Assessment?

What should organizations do about their policies and procedures that home owners, car owners, and others do to manage their investments and other assets?

Urgo, Raymond E. Urgo and Associates (2010). Articles>Documentation>Assessment>Policies and Procedures


ISO 9000 And Documentation   (PDF)

The ISO 9000 series of standards require that organizations have documented and followed quality systems and processes. Organizations get certified to an ISO 9000 standard by a registrar. Organizations follow the standards in order to meet customer demand and to improve their own quality performance. The ISO 9001 standard for organizations that design, produce, and service products contains twenty sections pertaining to all aspects of a quality system. Documentation organizations can pursue certification as an organization and they can help write process documentation for their entire company.

Shnay, Mara. STC Proceedings (1994). Presentations>Management>Policies and Procedures>ISO 9001


It's a Matter of Policy

Policies set boundaries for what is acceptable and unacceptable. But what makes a policy effective? Discover the basic components of a good corporate policy.

Zvalo, Peter. Writer's Block (1999). Articles>Business Communication>Policies and Procedures


Language Policies and Communication in Multinational Companies: Alignment With Strategic Orientation and Human Resource Management Practices   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article focuses on the degree of alignment among multinational company (MNC) strategic orientation, human resource management (HRM) practices, and language policies. On the one hand, the authors propose that the coherent, tight alignment among the HRM practices, language policies, and MNC strategic orientation, in terms of ethnocentricity, polycentricity, or geocentricity, is beneficial. On the other hand, they use international business research on language in MNCs to illustrate that what is good in theory is often more difficult in practice. For example, HRM practices and language policies in foreign subsidiaries may not be tightly aligned with the corporate-level activities, and some hybridization tends to occur, for example, because of contextual reasons in host countries.

van den Born, Floor and Vesa Peltokorpi. JBC (2010). Articles>Business Communication>International>Policies and Procedures


Legal Consequences of Employer Discharge Procedures   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The employment contract is sometimes misunderstood by both employees and employers. Drafters of employee manuals, policies, and procedures should be aware that the nature of the at-will employment relationship can be transformed into a binding employment contract by the words and phrases chosen. Just imagine the following scenario: On his first day as an Otis Accounting firm employee, Eric was provided an employee manual outlining all firm policies and procedures. Eric was not provided a written employment contract. Despite exemplary work performance at Otis Accounting for more than 2 years, Eric was fired because his supervisor, who belonged to one political party, discovered a bumper sticker for a candidate from the opposing party on Eric's car. Devastated by the unexpected dismissal, Eric sued for wrongful termination. To determine its potential liability, Otis Accounting must first ascertain the nature of its employment relationship with Eric.

Joseph, Stephanie. Business Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Policies and Procedures>Contracts


Managing Culture Change Within the Context of Mergers and Acquisitions

The generic term “mergers & acquisitions (M&A)” appeared for the first time at the end of the 19th century in the United States. In times of increased global competition, M&A activities have reached all regions of the world and are not solely concerning large enterprises. However, with many M&A projects never reaching the synergy effects that were expected of them, the successful integration of one company into another remains a challenge.

Bialek, Chantal. TC World (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Workplace>Policies and Procedures


Marketable Skills for the Policies and Procedures Professional   (PDF)

Changes in the economy and within organizations continue to require that demonstrated value be produced from the labor force. In order for policies and procedures (P&P) professionals to demonstrate how their work adds value to an organization, they need to develop and diversify their skill set to be more accessible and valuable in the services they provide.

Urgo, Raymond E. STC Proceedings (1995). Careers>Documentation>Policies and Procedures


The Mediation of Policy Knowledge: An Interpretive Analysis of Intersecting Activity Systems   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

We use structurating activity theory,an integration of structuration and cultural-historical activity theories, to examine how individuals construct policy knowledge. The study was conducted over 5 months with participants from related activity systems who interacted regarding special education policy. Qualitative analysis focused on how participants drew on system-specific and structural rules and resources to construct policy knowledge within and between activity systems. Results reveal how participants developed policy knowledge that was mediated by system elements of divisions of labor, communities, rules, subjects, and both material and symbolic mediating resources.The mediated knowledge construction process also reproduced broad structural features. Results interpreted through structurating activity theory extend current understandings of policy and knowledge processes and offer directions for future research.

Canary, Heather E. and Robert D. McPhee. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Management>Policies and Procedures>Activity Theory


More Than Just Finding Policy Documents

Corporate policy documents have had a long and difficult history within many organisations. While much effort has been put into creating and maintaining them, they are often more ignored than followed. This briefing looks at the role of corporate policies within an organisation, and the need to better communicate their message to staff.

Robertson, James. Step Two (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Policies and Procedures


New Guidelines for Documentation of Plants   (members only)

The DIN committee NA 152-06-01-05 UA, formerly called the NATG-F 1.5, has published a guideline for compiling information from component manuals, in its technical report 146. This report is a supplement to DIN EN 62079 and is meant to ensure that the requirements from the Machine Guidelines 98/37/EG Appendix I Ch. 1.7.4 are practically feasible. Plans are afoot to introduce the technical report at the international level (CEN).

Galbierz, Martin. tekom (2006). Articles>Documentation>Policies and Procedures


New Opportunities for Policies and Procedures Writers   (PDF)

International standards are becoming more and more prevalent in the business world, and their development and implementation offer new opportunities for technical communicators working in policies and procedures (P&P). Depending on the industry in which it operates, a company could find itself required to meet the dictates of international standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management systems and ISO 14001 for environmental management systems; regulatory standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley and 21 CFR Part 11; and industry-specific standards from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), or the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Robinson, Ralph E. Intercom (2005). Articles>Business Communication>Policies and Procedures



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