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


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


Age Discrimination in Technical Communication   (PDF)

Age discrimination in the workplace occurs any time one worker is treated differently from another due to age, or another worker's beliefs about age-related inabilities. Solving the problem of age discrimination in the workplace involves three things: understanding the problem and how it affects the way we work, educating ourselves and the rest of the general working public about age discrimination, and finding specific ways to address and overcome the issue.

Steele, Karen A. and Linda I. Bell. STC Proceedings (1993). Careers>Advice>Discrimination>Workplace


Alienation  (link broken)   (PDF)

A hypothetical example to help technical communicators think through ethical issues in the workplace (before they occur in real life).

Bryan, John G. Intercom (2003). Articles>Workplace>Ethics>Security


American Society for Training and Development

Founded in 1944, ASTD is the world's premier professional association and leading resource on workplace learning and performance issues. ASTD provides information, research, analysis and practical information derived from its own research, the knowledge and experience of its members, its conferences, expositions, seminars, publications and the coalitions and partnerships it has built through research and policy work.ASTD's membership includes more than 70,000 people, working in the field of workplace performance in 100 countries worldwide. Its leadership (see ASTD's Board of Directors) and members work in more than 15,000 multinational corporations, small and medium sized businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities.

ASTD. Organizations>Education>Workplace


Analyzing Computer-Mediated Communication in Professional Environments: An Activity Theory Approach

CMC is not an end in itself, but a way to accomplish cyclical work objectives. CMC genres are part of an ecology of genres, providing additional ways to communicate, ways that interact with other genres. To understand how these ecologies of genres work in professional environments, we must understand the activities they mediate. To investigate, I (and many others in professional communication) have turned to field studies.

Spinuzzi, Clay. SlideShare (2012). Presentations>Research>Workplace>Activity Theory


"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


Applying Technical Communication Theory in the Workplace: Can Theoretical Frameworks Survive in the World of e-Business?   (PDF)

Technical communication is usually seen as a practical profession -- one that emphasizes products, process and results -- rather than one that emphasizes theory and broad, generalized application of research results.

Grice, Roger A. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>TC>Workplace>Theory


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


Big Brother in the Boardroom  (link broken)   (PDF)

The lives and antics of the housemates of the reality TV show Big Brother may have drawn our attention, but do we need to concern ourselves with the activities of a real Big Brother? Has George Orwell’s vision of electronic surveillance and mind control come true in the new millennium? Many people believe that Big Brother is alive and well and coming to a computer network near you. In fact, he could already be living with you in your office, watching your every move on the Internet. their rights by monitoring their employees: They need to ensure that their employees are not wasting time browsing adult Web sites, or sending and receiving personal e-mail. Hence the proliferation of sophisticated server software, which can perform all manner of filtering tasks automatically.

Archee, Raymond K. Intercom (2002). Careers>Workplace>Privacy


The Big Huff  (link broken)

An hypothetical example of interpersonal communication issues which may arise in the workplace. Tad had sketched a layout to the wrong scale, so you called him in for what you thought would be a straightforward conversation. But instead of agreeing to make the changes, he stiffened a bit, then said, 'I've been working on this account for three years, and I know how these people work. They're going to futz around with this for a few days, and then tell you they want it the way I've done it. Believe me, it'll save a lot of time and money if we just go with it as is.' What can you do to get Tad's co-operation now, and to keep it in the future? And what might you have done differently to prevent this conflict?

Hard at Work. Careers>Workplace>Collaboration


Bill Gates' Last Day At Microsoft

Bill Gates gave his last keynote at the 2008 CES show in Las Vegas and he started it out with a spoof of what his last day might be like and includes cameos from a number of Microsoft executives and some Hollywood stars, celebrities and politicians. This video is just an excerpt of the longer keynote.

Catalyze (2007). Careers>Workplace>Multimedia


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


Breaking the Sound Barrier   (PDF)

I love my job but don’t feel the managers think it’s important, partly because of the noise. I also sometimes feel that I’m just an ISO requirement. I’ve also heard from techs that customers don’t look at the manuals; they just put them on a shelf. Any thoughts?

Alroy, Faye. Intercom (2003). Careers>Workplace>Writing>Technical Writing


Bridges To Trust: Achieving Corporate Expectations within a Skeptical Environment  (link broken)   (PDF)

Explains some of the tough challenges, novel approaches and successful procedures implemented at Leybold Inficon--actions that worked there, and may also be helpful to you in building a more tightly-coordinated technical communication function within your company.

Inch, Richard. STC Central New York (1999). Presentations>Workplace>Assessment


Bringing Practitioners into Programs

Four presentations about how to connect academic programs with workplace practitioners in technical communication.

Barker, Thomas, David Dayton, Elizabeth O. (Betsy) Smith and Tracy Bridgeford. CPTSC (2005). Presentations>Education>Collaboration>Workplace


Business Communication Quarterly   (peer-reviewed)

Business Communication Quarterly is a refereed journal devoted to the teaching of business communication, which is a broad, interdisciplinary field. It is also international, and thus the journal aims to present the field from that international perspective.

Association for Business Communication. Journals>Writing>Workplace


By the Water Cooler in Cyberspace, the Talk Turns Ugly

Thousands of message boards for individual companies have emerged over the last few years, creating a window on what some employees feel but never say publicly. Often the view through this window is rather ugly.

Abelson, Reed. New York Times, The (2001). Careers>Workplace>Collaboration>Online


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



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