65.1, February 2018

Recent & Relevant

Lyn Gattis, Editor

The following articles on technical communication have appeared recently in other journals. The abstracts are prepared by volunteer journal monitors. If you would like to contribute, contact Lyn Gattis at LynGattis@MissouriState.edu.

“Recent & Relevant” does not supply copies of cited articles. However, most publishers supply reprints, tear sheets, or copies at nominal cost. Lists of publishers’ addresses, covering nearly all the articles we have cited, appear in Ulrich’s international periodicals directory.


The brand personalities of brand communities: An analysis of online communication

Paschen, J., Pitt, L., Kietzmann, J., Dabiran, A., & Farshid, M. (2017). Online Information Review, 41(7), 1064–1075. [doi: none]

“Online brand communities provide a wealth of insights about how consumers perceive and talk about a brand, rather than what the firm communicates about the brand. The purpose of this paper is to understand whether the brand personality of an online brand community, rather than of the brand itself, can be deduced from the online communication within that brand community. . . . The paper is empirical in nature. The authors use community-generated content from eight online brand communities and perform content analysis using the text analysis software Diction. The authors employ the five brand personality dictionaries (competence, excitement, ruggedness, sincerity and sophistication) from the Pitt et al. (2007) dictionary source as the basis for the authors’ analysis. . . . This is the first paper examining the nature of online brand communities by means of computerized content analysis. The authors outline a number of areas that marketing scholars could explore further based on the authors’ analysis. The paper also highlights implications for marketers when establishing, managing, monitoring and analyzing online brand communities.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Communicating organizational trust: An exploration of the link between discourse and action

Kodish, S. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(4), 347–368. doi: 10.1177/2329488414525464

“Communication has frequently received attention in studies on trust. One question that has remained unanswered is, how is organizational trust communicated? Consistent with the view of organizations as discursive entities, research presented here examines discursive qualities of trust and attempts to provide an understanding of the manner in which organizational trust is communicated. Research presented in this article includes the results of two studies conducted in two different parts of the country: a large metropolitan area in the southeastern United States and a regional center in the south. Findings reveal that against the background of a continuous discursive and interactional flow, trust is communicated as a speech act characterized by the world-to-words direction of fit. Findings have implications for both theory and practice.”

Katherine Wertz

An examination of the effects of self-regulatory focus on the perception of the media richness: The case of e-mail

Armengol, X., Fernandez, V., Simo, P., & Sallan, J. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(4), 394–407. doi: 10.1177/2329488415572780

“Communication is a key element in organizations’ business success. The media richness theory and the channel expansion theory are two of the most influential theories regarding the selection and use of communication media in organizations; however, literature has focused little on the effects of self-regulation by managers and employees in these theories. To analyze these topics, this study develops an empirical investigation by gathering data from 600 managers and employees using a questionnaire. The results suggest that the perception of media richness is positively affected when the individual shows a promotion focus or strategy.”

Katherine Wertz

Huggable communication medium maintains level of trust during conversation game

Takahashi, H., Ban, M., Osawa, H., Nakanishi, J., Sumioka, H., & Ishiguro, H. (2017). Frontiers in Psychology, 8, Article 1862. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01862

“There have been several attempts in recent years to develop a remote communication device using sensory modalities other than speech that would induce a user’s positive experience with his/her conversation partner. Specifically, Hugvie is a human-shaped pillow as well as a remote communication device enabling users to combine a hugging experience with telecommunication to improve the quality of remote communication. The present research is based on the hypothesis that using Hugvie maintains users’ level of trust toward their conversation partners in situations prone to suspicion. The level of trust felt toward other remote game players was compared between participants using Hugvie and those using a basic communication device while playing a modified version of Werewolf, a conversation-based game, designed to evaluate trust. Although there are always winners and losers in the regular version of Werewolf, the rules were modified to generate a possible scenario in which no enemy was present among the players and all players would win if they trusted each other. [The authors] examined the effect of using Hugvie while playing Werewolf on players’ level of trust toward each other and [their] results demonstrated that in those using Hugvie, the level of trust toward other players was maintained.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Nationalism versus animal rights: A semantic network analysis of value advocacy in corporate crisis

Yang, A., & Veil, S. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(4), 408–430. doi: 10.1177/2329488415572781

“This case study provides an illustrative example of how nationalism can be exploited to shift media attention in a crisis involving international organizations. Semantic network analysis is used to explore the relationships among different meanings packaged in a corporation’s value advocacy messages. The semantic network analysis shows the semantic structure of the value advocacy messages and maps the structure of media coverage before and after the advocacy messages were released. The findings indicate that the value advocacy campaign effectively diversified the focus of media coverage. Implications for business communication research and practice are provided.”

Katherine Wertz

No place for negative emotions? The effects of message valence, communication channel, and social distance on users’ willingness to respond to SNS status

Ziegele, M., & Reinecke, L. (2017). Computers in Human Behavior, 75, 704–713. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.06.016

“The present study contributes to the investigation of communicative norms and social support in Social Network Sites (SNSs). [The authors] suggest that a positivity bias restricts the availability of social support users receive from others via public responses to negative status updates. Moderated mediation analyses of the data of an online experiment (N ¼ 870, Mage ¼ 25.16 years, 64% female) show that users are less willing to comment on negative status updates than on positive ones. In contrast, users are more willing to respond to negative status updates with private messages. These effects are moderated by the strength of the relationship between sender and receiver of the status update and mediated by perceived message appropriateness and support urgency. The results suggest that SNS users canalize supportive reactions to negative experience of their close SNS friends through private modes of communication.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


Design thinking methodology: A case study of “radical collaboration” in the wearables research collaboratory

Duin, A. H., Moses, J., McGrath, M., Tham, J., & Ernst, N. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(1), 45–74. doi: 10.21310/cnx.5.1.17.duietal

“In this research article, [the authors] share a case study of the Wearables Research Collaboratory (WRC, wrcollab.umn.edu) showcasing how [they] came to apply design thinking methodology to the development and deployment of a technical and professional communication experience designed to enable cross-cultural, innovative insights and solutions. Over 12 weeks, [their] diverse team of eight applied design thinking methodology to [their] individual and collective investigations of wearable technologies, emphasizing culture and pedagogy, ability to shift perspective and better understand one’s position in the world, and the challenges and opportunities posed by these devices. [Their] discussion includes focus on the cultures of seniority and academic position as well as the importance of learning experiences that reveal the true complexity of problems and that support sustained periods of question finding, ideation, and visualization. [The authors] conclude with discussion of radical collaboration as a model for the application of design thinking.”

Lyn Gattis


Beyond flexibility and convenience: Using the community of inquiry framework to assess the value of online graduate education in technical and professional communication

Watts, J. (2017). Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 31(4), 481–519. doi: 10.1177/1050651917713251

“Online learning modes can provide convenience and flexibility to students. But communicating the value of online education in technical and professional communication should not end there. Program directors should rearticulate the narrative about the value of online graduate education beyond flexibility and convenience by reevaluating the ways that program assessment is designed and implemented. This pilot study suggests that a community of inquiry framework can help to communicate the value of the online learning environment to a variety of stakeholders, including prospective and current students, administrators, instructors, and potential employers.”

Sean C. Herring

But is that relevant here? A pedagogical model for embedding translation training within technical communication courses in the US

Gonzales, L. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(1), 75–108. doi: 10.21310/cnx.5.1.17.gon

“This article illustrates how self-identified monolingual technical communication students can prepare to work with translators in the creation and dissemination of multilingual content. Drawing on a case study that traced a collaboration between a Language Services office and a technical communication course in the US, the author suggests technical communication students can benefit from understanding the practices and activities of translation, primarily by being better prepared to design and work with multilingual audiences in cross-cultural settings. Through a discussion of this collaboration, the author argues translation is a valuable aspect of contemporary technical communication, helping students understand the challenges and affordances of designing for a wide range of users.”

Lyn Gattis

Teaching a “critical accessibility case study”: Developing disability studies curricula for the technical communication classroom

Browning, E., & Cagle, L. (2017). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 47(4), 440–463. doi: 10.1177/0047281616646750

“. . . [T]he authors offer an approach to including disability studies in TC curricula through the inclusion of a ‘critical accessibility case study’ (CACS). In explicating the theoretical and practical foundations that support teaching a CACS in TC courses, the authors provide an overview of how TC scholars have productively engaged with disability studies and case studies to question both our curricular content and classroom practices. . . . ”

Anita Ford


Role of design education in fostering values of social responsibility in designers

Bothra, S. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(1), 11–44. doi: 10.21310/cnx.5.1.17.bot

“Professional communication and industrial design have become a forceful, persuasive and omnipresent reality in shaping, serving and significantly changing the society and the environment at local as well as global levels. A professional designer is a significant contributor in creating the ‘world by design,’ and shares the social responsibility of the consequences of the acts of design, with blurring of traditional and rigid boundaries of specialization. This research article examines ‘what is’ the role of the formal design education programs in fostering values of social responsibility in their students, the future professionals. The primary field study and research for this article was undertaken in India as a part of a doctoral research. Nevertheless, it brings forth insights valuable for multiple locations and parallel contexts. The concluding part of the article takes a propositional and conceptual route to derive ‘what ought to be’—as models for future action.”

Lyn Gattis

Health communication

Beyond the consultation room: Proposals to approach health promotion in primary care according to health-care users, key community informants and primary care centre workers

Berenguera, A., Pons-Vigués, M., Moreno-Peral, P., March, S., Ripoll, J., Rubio-Valera, M., et al. (2017). Health Expectations, 20(5), 896–910. doi: 10.1111/hex.12530

“. . . Primary health care (PHC) is the ideal setting to provide integrated services centred on the person and to implement health promotion (HP) activities. [The researchers’ objective was to] identify proposals to approach HP in the context of primary care according to health-care users aged 45–75 years, key community informants and primary care centre (PCC) workers. . . . [The study involved] descriptive-interpretive qualitative research with 276 participants from 14 PCC of seven Spanish regions. A theoretical sampling was used for selection. A total of 25 discussion groups, two triangular groups and 30 semi-structured interviews were carried out. A thematic interpretive contents analysis was carried out. . . . Participants consider that HP is not solely a matter for the health sector and they emphasize intersectoral collaboration. They believe that it is important to strengthen community initiatives and to create a healthy social environment that encourages greater responsibility and participation of health-care users in decisions regarding their own health and better management of public services and resources. . . . Informants emphasize that HP should be [a] person-centred approach and empathic communication. . . .”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Toward audience involvement: Extending audiences of written physician notes in a hospital setting

Kastman Breuch, L. A., Bakke, A., Thomas-Pollei, K., Mackey, L. E., & Weinert, C. (2016). Written Communication, 33(4), 418–451. doi: 10.1177/0741088316668517

“This article explores rhetorical implications of extending the audience of written physician notes in hospital settings to include patients and/or family members (the OpenNotes program). Interviews of participating hospital patients and family members (n = 16) underscored the need for more complex understandings of audience beyond ‘universal’ and ‘particular’ explanations. Interviews were organized around the aspects of comprehension, affect/emotion, and likes/dislikes about receiving notes. Results from these interviews indicated that participants understood the notes overall but had questions about abbreviations and technical terms. Many participants felt reassured about the care they were receiving, and many liked having the notes as a reference and springboard for further discussion with health care staff. A more detailed content analysis of the interview data yielded themes of document use, readability, involvement, and physician care. Findings from this study reveal an expansion of audience in this case to include both universal and particular audiences. Also, findings point to the possibility of audience involvement among patients and family members through activities such as asking questions about the physician notes. This study has implications for other forms of written communication that may extend readership in novel ways.”

Lyn Gattis

Intercultural issues

Designing professional communication across cultures [special issue]

Zhou, Q., & Getto, G. (eds.). (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(1), 3–7. doi: 10.21310/cnx.5.1.17.zhoetal

“In the last thirty years, two trends have transformed the work of professional communicators. On the one hand, a global economy has increasingly placed professional communicators in multilingual and multicultural work environments. In such environments, cultural borders are blurred and ideas are shared across individuals and teams. On the other hand, advances in technology have revolutionized the ways communication products are produced. Design has risen to the forefront of professional communication. This special issue focuses on the intersection between designing professional communication and work within multicultural environments.”

Lyn Gattis

Mapping the cultural context of care: An approach to patient-centered design in international contexts

St.Amant, K. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(1), 109–124. doi: 10.21310/cnx.5.1.17.sta

“In today’s interconnected global society, health and medical communication must increasingly cover a growing range of international and intercultural contexts. Meeting the communication and design expectations of audiences from different cultures and in other nations, however, is a complex process. By focusing on usability, individuals can create materials that effectively meet patient expectations associated with the context(s) in which care—or processes related maintaining or improving one’s health and wellness— is administered. To facilitate this process, this entry presents international patient experience design (I-PXD) as an approach that can help individuals better understand the dynamics of usability in different contexts around the world. By using prototype theory as a foundation for mapping the contexts in which patients use materials, I-PXD allows individuals to identify the variables affecting usability in different parts of the globe and design materials to account for those factors.”

Lyn Gattis


The mediating role of charismatic leadership communication in a crisis: A Malaysian example

Jamal, J., & Bakar, H. A. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(4), 369–393. doi: 10.1177/2329488415572782

“This study develops a model to advance research on public organization reputation by integrating crisis responsibility with charismatic leadership communication. Based on situational crisis communication theory, the model was tested using structural equation modeling with data obtained from a sample of 383 employees of public organizations in Malaysia. The mediation model indicated that the dynamic mechanism of charismatic leadership communication partially mediated the relationship between crisis responsibility and perceived organizational reputation during a crisis. These findings validated the proposed model and, in particular, confirmed empirically the central role of charismatic leadership communication processes in organization. This study provides insights into the role of charismatic leadership communication in the organizational reputation processes. The model established can serve as an instructive guide for both organization and corporate leaders in managing a crisis and reputation. A practical implication of the findings is that, during a crisis, a crisis leader should engage in charismatic leadership communication effectively to mitigate the crisis impact and strengthen organizational reputation. More important, the findings indicate that charismatic leadership communication contributed to organizational reputation explicitly brought charismatic leadership communication to the forefront of organizational reputation management.”

Katherine Wertz

Professional issues

Religion and the professional ethos: The YMCA, Dale Carnegie, and the “business man”

Cummings, L. (2016). Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization, 9(1), 6–27. [doi: none]

“Many Protestant ways of thinking, derived from Judeo-Christian ideologies, are embedded in the discourses and practices of professional communication, even when religious ideologies are not overtly seen. To demonstrate this, [the author] first examine[s] the close ties between Christianity and the pre-disciplinary formations of professional communication in the Young Men’s Christian Association’s (YMCA) teaching of technical and business writing. Secondly, [the author] show[s] how the YMCA’s construction of character and business ethos is rearticulated by one of the most influential figures in business culture, Dale Carnegie. In his popular book first published in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1981), Carnegie used the ‘psychological man’ to rearticulate the religious, masculine ethos of the nineteenth century for the business world, while retaining ethical checks derived from religious discourses on cultivation, discipline, and self-control. Though professional communication classrooms and textbooks still retain many of these relational principles and the masculine persona they entail, this professional ethos is rarely balanced by the deeper ethical implications of Carnegie’s holistic vision. Re-incorporating a more holistic vision, while also reflecting on many of the masculine and individualist leanings, can help us understand how the professional ethos is influenced by other religious and ethical perspectives, perhaps deepening how we deploy the professional ethos in the United States and abroad.”

Lyn Gattis


Editorial re-considering research: Why we need to adopt a mixed-methods approach to our work

Lauer, C. (2016). Communication Design Quarterly, 4(3), 46–50. [doi: none]

“In this editorial, [the author] argues for expanding our methods of research to include a greater emphasis on quantitative and mixed-methods approaches. This expansion will complement and help frame the qualitative data collection we already prioritize in the fields of writing studies and design. [The author] discusses the benefits of a mixed-methods approach and presents ten recommendations for how scholars, especially those who may be new to quantitative methods, can learn and employ these methods. [The author] suggests that we need to value this more comprehensive approach to data collection in order to better answer the many questions that remain uninvestigated in our field.”

Lyn Gattis

The singer of technology: The oral-based origins of technical communication in the ancient world

Pochatko, A. (2017). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 47(4), 464–477. doi: 10.1177/0047281616646751

“Using frameworks from Ong, Turner, and Frohmann, the author analyzes excerpts from Hesiod’s Works and Days and from the Book of Exodus for technical features. These documents were found to contain technical information that was best used in face-to-face interaction. Further, the documents exhibit evidence of residual orality, an encroachment of oral register into written. These findings suggest that technical communication originates in the genres and oral registers of ancient cultures. Such details have been missed owing to a written bias of technical communication and of scholars who look upon such works only as literature. Presently, oral-based information is viewed as informal and less authoritative than written information. In the absence of writing, however, information can only be transmitted orally.”

Anita Ford

Studies of user-generated content: A systematic review

Naab, T. K., & Sehl, A. (2016). Journalism, 18(10), 1256–1273. doi: 10.1177/1464884916673557

“This article presents a review of communication research on user-generated content with a special focus on studies which include a content analysis. The trends of research on this comparatively new and rapidly developing subject are systematically discussed and desiderata are identified. The evaluation is based on a content analysis of pertinent approaches in nine relevant international peer-reviewed journals published from 2004 to 2012. From the results, the article concludes that user-generated content is approached by scholars from a variety of perspectives and offers scope for interdisciplinary cooperation but also notes that several of the challenges posed by the continuously changing nature of the content are not fully met.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Value arguments in science research articles: Making the case for the importance of research

Carter, M. (2016). Written Communication, 33(3), 302–327. doi: 10.1177/0741088316653394

“It is in the interest of scholarly journals to publish important research and of researchers to publish in important journals. One key to making the case for the importance of research in a scholarly article is to incorporate value arguments. Yet there has been no rhetorical analysis of value arguments in the literature. In the context of rhetorical situation, stasis theory, and Swales’s linguistic analysis of moves in introductions, this article examines value arguments in introductions of science research articles. Employing a corpus of 60 articles from three science journals, the author analyzes value arguments based on Toulmin’s definition of argument and identifies three classes of value arguments and seven functions of these arguments in introductions. This analysis illuminates the rhetorical construction of value in science articles and provides a foundation for the empirical study of value in scholarship.”

Lyn Gattis


Can I leave this one out? The effect of dropping an item for the SUS

Lewis, J. R., & Sauro, J. (2017). Journal of Usability Studies, 13(1), 38–46. [doi: none]

“There are times when user experience practitioners might consider using the System Usability Scale (SUS), but there is an item that just doesn’t work in their context of measurement. For example, the first item is ‘I think I would like to use this system frequently.’ If the system under study is one that would only be used infrequently, then there is a concern that including this item would distort the scores, or at best, distract the participant. The results of the current research show that the mean scores of all 10 possible nine-item variants of the SUS are within one point (out of a hundred) of the mean of the standard SUS. Thus, practitioners can leave out any one of the SUS items without having a practically significant effect on the resulting scores, as long as an appropriate adjustment is made to the multiplier (specifically, multiply the sum of the adjusted item scores by 100/36 instead of the standard 100/40, or 2.5, to compensate for the dropped item).”

Ginnifer Mastarone

Rethinking self-reported measure in subjective evaluation of assistive technology

Hossain, G. (2017). Human-centric Computing and Information Sciences, 7:23. doi: 10.1186/s13673-017-0104-7

“Self-reporting is used as a subjective measure of usability study of technology solutions. In assistive technology research, more than often the ‘coordinator’ directly assist[s] the ‘subject’ in the scoring process. This makes the rating process slower and also introduces bias, such as, ‘Forer effect’ and/or ‘Hawthorne’ effect. To address these issues [the author] propose[s] to use technology mediated interaction between the ‘subject’ and the ‘coordinator’ in evaluating assistive technology solutions. The goal is to combine both the qualitative and quantitative scores to create a relatively unbiased rating system. Empirical studies were performed on two different datasets in order to illustrate the utility of the proposed approach. It was observed that, the proposed hybrid rating is relatively unbiased for usability study.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

SUPR-QM: A questionnaire to measure the mobile app user experience

Sauro, J. & Zarolia, P. (2017). Journal of Usability Studies, 13(1), 17–37. [doi: none]

“In this paper, [the authors] present the SUPR-Qm, a 16-item instrument that assesses a user’s experience of a mobile application. Rasch analysis was used to assess the psychometric properties of items collected from four independent surveys (N = 1,046) with ratings on 174 unique apps. For the final instrument, estimates of internal consistency reliability were high (alpha = .94), convergent validity was also high, with significant correlations with the SUPR-Q (.71), UMUX-Lite (.74), and likelihood-to-recommend (LTR) scores (.74). Scores on the SUPR-Qm correlated with the number of app reviews in the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store (r = .38) establishing adequate predictive validity. The SUPR-Qm, along with category specific questions, can be used to benchmark the user experience of mobile applications.”

Ginnifer Mastarone

Technology acceptance and user experience: A review of the experiential component in HCI

Hornbæk, K., & Hertzum, M. (2017). ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 24(5), Article 33. doi: 10.1145/3127358

“Understanding the mechanisms that shape the adoption and use of information technology is central to human–computer interaction. Two accounts are particularly vocal about these mechanisms, namely the technology acceptance model (TAM) and work on user experience (UX) models. In this study, [the authors] review 37 papers in the overlap between TAM and UX models to explore the experiential component of human–computer interactions. The models provide rich insights about what constructs influence the experiential component of human–computer interactions and about how these constructs are related. For example, the effect of perceived enjoyment on attitude is stronger than those of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. It is less clear why the relations exist and under which conditions the models apply. [The authors] discuss four of the main theories used in reasoning about the experiential component and, for example, point to the near absence of psychological needs and negative emotions in the models. In addition, most of the reviewed studies are not tied to specific use episodes, thereby bypassing tasks as an explanatory variable and undermining the accurate measurement of experiences, which are susceptible to moment-to-moment changes. [The authors] end by summarizing the implications of [their] review for future research.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


Anticipating delivery: A case study of domestic partner benefit (DPB) advocacy

Little, M. D. (2017). Written Communication, 34(1), 75–99. doi: 10.1177/0741088316685730

“Delivery has often been treated as an afterthought of the ‘real work’ of writing. This article demonstrates how writers in some contexts must think very carefully about delivery from the very beginning of their process. Tracking collaborative writers’ talk, this article demonstrates how a group of writers works to anticipate delivery by repeatedly constructing delivery narratives—that is, stories about the future handoff of their document to audiences. In a complex case of LGBT policy advocacy, the writers weave together multiple delivery narratives in order to achieve consensus, revealing the influence of discursive voices, perspectives, personal and institutional histories, and disciplinary training on the group’s rhetorical strategies. This article also considers how an experienced administrative lawyer constructs delivery narratives, revealing an expert’s strategy to try to get a legitimate hearing for a novel legal interpretation.”

Lyn Gattis

Composing networks: Writing practices on mobile devices

Swarts, J. (2016). Written Communication, 33(4), 385–417. doi: 10.1177/0741088316666807

“This article is an investigation of composing practices through which people create networks with mobile phones. By looking through the lens of actor-network theory, the author portrays the networking activity of mobile phone users as translation, what Latour describes as an infralanguage to which different disciplinary perspectives can be appended. Given how much mobile phone use is information-based, the author describes how five people composed on mobile phones to create coordinated networks of professional and domestic activity. To arrive at this discussion, the author first considers the objectives of mobile networking, which include creating a sense of place and coordination within that space. The author then describes the findings of a case study of mobile phone users who build translational networks. The discussion focuses on the participants’ composing practices.”

Lyn Gattis

Moments and metagenres: Coordinating complex, multigenre narratives

McNely, B. (2017). Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 31(4), 443–480. doi: 10.1177/1050651917713252

“Professional and technical communication increasingly involves developing narratives that traverse multiple genres, media formats, and publishing venues. In marketing and advertising, brand stories unfold across Web sites, ad campaigns, and social media properties. A fundamental challenge in such work is multigenre coordination, leading to a key question: How do professionals manage complex ecologies of genres, media content, and interactions in ways that build and sustain narrative coherence and audience engagement? Reporting findings from a study of transmedia writers, this article argues that metageneric texts may emerge as important coordinative resources for planning, developing, and tracking uptakes within multigenre narratives. It thus contributes to professional and technical communication by describing a widening gap in scholarly approaches to metagenre; arguing for empirical examinations of metageneric constructs in tangible, flexible texts that serve situated needs in given activity systems; and demonstrating how such texts may emerge and play a formidable role in coordinating contemporary, multigenre narratives.”

Sean C. Herring

The professional work of unprofessional tweets: Microblogging career situations in African American hush harbors

Walls, D. M. (2017). Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 31(4), 391–416. doi:10.1177/1050651917713195

“This article examines the tactical online rhetorical choices of a young African American professional communicator, Gina. Drawing on situated analysis to show how Gina engaged with her African American Hush Harbor (AAHH) of young professionals online, the author argues that Gina used Twitter to maintain professional network ties in her AAHH community while resisting organizational discourses of surveillance. The author further argues that analyzing particular choices in boundaryless career situations allows us to see important nontask-based professional writing activity.”

Sean C. Herring

Writing and women’s retention in engineering

Mallette, J. C. (2017). Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 31(4), 417–442. doi: 10.1177/1050651917713253

“Engineering disciplines have focused on recruiting and retaining women, assessing factors that contribute to decisions to enter or exit the field at every level. While many studies have examined writing in engineering disciplines, few have looked at writing’s role in women’s decisions to remain in or leave engineering. Using a case study of a professional civil engineer, Katy, this study examines the role that writing played in her dissatisfaction with engineering and her ultimate decision to leave the field. The author analyzes two genres of writing, meeting minutes and a preliminary engineering report, to explore how Katy’s writing practices often ran counter to her coworkers’ or supervisors’ approaches. While a single case study makes generalization impossible, this work opens the door to future research that accounts for writing in recruiting and retaining women.”

Sean C. Herring