71.1 February 2024

Recent & Relevant

Sean C. Herring, 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 Sean Herring at SeanHerring@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.

Audience analysis

We do everything: The broad, evolving, varied, and tentative corporate communication field

Fyke, J.P., Schmisseur, A., Webb, N.G., Vaughn, M., & Davis, J. (September 2022). Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 85 (3), 279-297. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294906221109192

“Through the reflections of professionals occupying a variety of corporate communication roles, our aim was to understand what the corporate communication profession looks like in the current marketplace and the career pathways professionals take. We find that roles and functions are “broad and blurred” and “evolving and escalating,” while pathways and job titles are “varied and vacillating” and “tentative and time bound.” Our article offers theoretical and practical implications for industry and academic professionals looking to bridge the gap between the classroom and the marketplace. We end with pedagogical and curricular implications for corporate communication educators.”

Diana Fox Bentele


Digital documenting practices: Collaborative writing in workplace training

Nissi, R. & Lehtinen, E. (October 2022).Written Communication, 39 (4), 564-599 https://doi.org/10.1177/07410883221108162

Many of us are more and more dependent on others within our work-sphere and utterly dependent on devices for our writing. This article addresses both. “The present article examines collaborative writing in organizational consulting and training, where writing takes place as part of a group discussion assignment and is carried out by using digital writing technologies. In the training, the groups use digital tablets as their writing device in order to document their answers in the shared digital platform. Using multimodal conversation analysis as a method, the article illustrates the way writing is interactionally accomplished in this setting… The results show how writing is managed in situated ways and organized by three specific aspects: Access, publicity, and broader organizational practice. The article advances prior understanding of the embodied nature of writing and writing with technologies by demonstrating how the body and the material and social nature of writing technologies intertwine within situated social interaction.”

Diana Fox Bentele


Hierarchical and role-based differences in the perception of organizational listening effectiveness

Brandt, D. R. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1341-1367. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211055839

“A growing body of research underscores the importance of how effectively (or poorly) organizations listen and respond to key external publics and stakeholders. This paper describes research focusing on how organizational hierarchy and member roles impact perceptions of organizational listening effectiveness, specifically the process of capturing, analyzing, disseminating, and utilizing the ‘Voice of the Consumer’ (VoC). After reviewing literature in three relevant areas of research, the paper describes a study in which senior executives’ perceptions of the effectiveness of consumer listening efforts in their respective organizations are compared with those of lower-level consumer intelligence providers and users. Results indicate that senior executives assess VoC program effectiveness in their organizations more favorably than consumer intelligence providers/users with respect to 10 key aspects of organizational listening. Implications for theory-building and knowledge development, along with implications for practitioners and directions for future research, are discussed.”

Katherine Wertz

The effect of message repetition on information diffusion on Twitter: An agent-based approach

López, M., Hidalgo-Alcázar, C., & Leger, P . (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(2), 150–169. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2023.3260449

“Communication professionals are using platforms such as Twitter to disseminate information; however, the strategies that they should use to achieve high information diffusion are not clear. This article proposes message repetition as a strategy” and explores levels of repetition within Twitter that would maximize information diffusion while minimizing the wear-out effect on consumers. The authors propose an “agent-based simulation model for information diffusion” that “considers that consumers can reach their wear-out point when they read a tweet several times…. Brand followers are key to achieving high information diffusion; however, consumers begin to feel bothered by the tweet by the sixth repetition.” The authors suggest an agent-based approach may be a tool that any company can use to anticipate the results of a communication campaign created in Twitter before launching it.”

Lyn Gattis

To interact and to narrate: A categorical multidimensional analysis of Twitter use by U.S. banks and energy corporations

Sun, Y., Kong, D., & Zhai, L. (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(2), 117–130. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2023.3260465

“As a recently developed register, Twitter has been researched as a personal-oriented communication method, but little research has been conducted on the register of corporate Twitter use…. This study used summary language variables of Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) as dimensions of register variation, and also conducted categorical multidimensional analysis (CMDA) of linguistic features and features specific to Twitter.” The researchers examined patterns of register variation in the tweets of U.S. banks and energy corporations” and explored possible “differences between tweets of the two industries within each pattern of register variation…. Results showed that tweets of both industries tend to display a categorical, confident self-regulating style, and a mixed tone. Tweets of banks are more formal, self-regulating, and oriented toward narrative (congratulatory, positive informational, and effortful), while tweets of energy corporations are more authentic and oriented toward interaction (advisory, routine, and affiliative)…. Overall, this study strengthens the idea that corporations use Twitter to facilitate corporate communication with a broadcasting strategy and narrative perspective, and to improve digital communication with an engaging strategy. Findings may shed light on promoting products and corporate impression management on social media.”

Lyn Gattis


Graphic design in public health research

Schmidt, M., Asfar, T., & Maziak, W. (August 2022).Visible Language, 56 (2), 54-83. https://doi.org/10.34314/vl.v56i2

Most of us know the large impact of graphic design in public health information campaigns that follow research, but these authors studied involving the designers in the research process itself. “Graphic design is often deployed in public health research, intervention, and dissemination of information. In some cases, such as the studies shared in this article, graphic design artifacts are the public health intervention, developed and tested within a series of scientific study designs involving research teams with wide-ranging expertise. Relatively little attention has been paid, however, to the role graphic design plays in public health re-search or how graphic designers may contribute to the conduct of research beyond a production services role…. Therefore, the goals of this paper are to 1) provide an overview of methods employed to integrate graphic design into a multiyear series of public health research studies, 2) share key results from these studies relevant to graphic design, and 3) discuss the requirements for sustaining research collaborations between graphic designers and public health researchers in ways that effectively combine their fields of expertise and produce more genuine collaboration for the greater benefit of public health.”

Diana Fox Bentele


Participation styles, turn-taking strategies, and marginalization in intercultural decision-making discourse

Williamson, J. (December 2022). Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 85 (4), 445-467. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294906221114830

This international instructor included how people share ideas to make decisions beyond culture. “Marginalization in decision-making discourse results in disempowerment of the marginalized and detracts from the efficacy of participatory decision making. In ESL contexts, it is usually associated with English proficiency. But this view ignores the influence of preferences for different participation styles, an understanding of which is essential for the development of effective pedagogical remedies to the problem of marginalization. The present study addresses this gap by investigating discourse participation and marginalization from a participation styles perspective. Findings reveal that marginalization resulted from a failure to adopt turn-taking strategies associated with dominant participation styles. Implications for pedagogy are discussed.”

Diana Fox Bentele


Toward a greater understanding of the use of nonverbal cues to deception in computer-mediated communication

George, J. F., Mills, A. M., Giordano, G., Gupta, M., Tennant, V. M., & Lewis, C. C. (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(2), 131–149. https://doi.org/10.1109/ TPC.2023.3263378

“Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is an important part of work life. However, this communication can be dishonest, and when people attempt to judge dishonesty, irrespective of the cues available, they tend to rely on a few nonverbal cues that are not the most reliable….” To explore “the extent to which [people’s] deception judgments are impaired or helped by cues they have access to for different CMC modes… [the authors] conducted an experiment with 132 veracity judges from New Zealand and Jamaica, who observed interview segments in Spanish and Hindi (languages that they did not understand) to isolate the effects of nonverbal cues. They determined the veracity of each segment and listed the things that guided their judgment…. The results suggest that when certain nonverbal cues are available, such as gaze aversion, these suppress attention to more reliable cues (e.g., voice pitch) when judging deception. Redirecting attention to more reliable cues is therefore important. Unexpectedly, cue choice also varied across language by medium…. [The authors conclude that] [a]lthough people rely on vocalic cues in audio-only media and kinesic cues in video-only media, they tend to rely mostly on, and are distracted by, a few kinesic cues for full audiovisual media, even though vocalic cues are available…. To improve detection, deception training that targets reliable cues for different media is needed.”

Lyn Gattis

Ethical issues

Confronting idea stealers in the workplace: The unfortunate moral credentialing granted to power-holders

Ploeger-Lyons, N. A., & Bisel, R. S. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1123-1147. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211047994

“How and when do employees confront one another for stealing their ideas? Business communication literature on confronting unethical behavior is synthesized with moral licensing theory to better understand responses to unethical actors about unjustified credit taking in the workplace. In this message production experiment, working adults (N = 344) were randomly assigned to respond to a supervisor, peer coworker, or subordinate who stole or ignored the participant’s intellectual contributions. Content and statistical analyses revealed subordinates were comparatively less direct when confronting bosses, suggesting third-party moral licensing and moral credentialing were measurable in communication patterns. Importantly, this dynamic was not attributable to perceptions of task interdependence. Instead, subordinates perceived the stealing or ignoring of their ideas to be less unethical than did bosses. Additionally, individuals whose ideas have been stolen in the workplace were less confrontational compared to those who have not. Thus, data suggest incremental acquiescence to this form of workplace wrongdoing, particularly when the transgressor holds high hierarchical status. Taken together, these data may explain how recognition for ideas tends to spread vertically to bosses (labeled here, vertical credit creep), which may function to reinforce established power arrangements and to perpetuate unjustified credit taking in the workplace.”

Katherine Wertz

Recorded business meetings and AI algorithmic tools: Negotiating privacy concerns, psychological safety, and control

Cardon, P. W., Ma, H., & Fleischmann, C. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1095-1122. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211037009

“Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithmic tools that analyze and evaluate recorded meeting data may provide many new opportunities for employees, teams, and organizations. Yet, these new and emerging AI tools raise a variety of issues related to privacy, psychological safety, and control. Based on in-depth interviews with 50 American, Chinese, and German employees, this research identified five key tensions related to algorithmic analysis of recorded meetings: employee control of data versus management control of data, privacy versus transparency, reduced psychological safety versus enhanced psychological safety, learning versus evaluation, and trust in AI versus trust in people. More broadly, these tensions reflect two dimensions to inform organizational policymaking and guidelines: safety versus risk and employee control versus management control. Based on a quadrant configuration of these dimensions, [the authors] propose the following approaches to managing algorithmic applications to recording meeting data: the surveillance, benevolent control, meritocratic, and social contract approaches. [The authors] suggest the social contract approach facilitates the most robust dialog about the application of algorithmic tools to recorded meeting data, potentially leading to higher employee control and sense of safety.”

Katherine Wertz


Framing sustainable finance: A critical analysis of op-eds in the Financial Times

Strauß, N. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1427-1440. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211025982

“Being at the forefront in the public discussion about sustainable finance (SF) has become a competitive advantage for financial corporations. This study investigates op-eds by representatives of major global investment banks and asset managers (Black Rock, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, UBS) published between 2018 and 2019 in the Financial Times regarding SF. Using an in-depth textual analysis approach, five overarching frames emerged: (1) climate crisis consensus and the urgency to act, (2) sustainable finance as powerful leverage, (3) sustainability in the name of profit and capital growth, (4) need for transparency, quantification, and datafication, and (5) shifting responsibilities. The results imply that SF is used as a public relations tool to promote new, lucrative financial activities that fit within the prevailing neoliberal market model. Rather than providing alternatives to the prevailing financial markets, the investment industry shifts responsibilities to the government, businesses and individuals to fight climate change.”

Katherine Wertz

Health communication

Exploring the impact of internal communication on employee psychological well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating role of employee organizational trust

Qin, Y. S., & Men, L. R. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1197-1219. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884221081838

“This study examines whether and how internal communication at different levels (i.e., corporate symmetrical communication and supportive peer communication) interact to influence employee psychological well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also reveals the mediating effects of employee organizational trust in this process, which helps explain how internal communication influences employee psychological well-being. An online survey was conducted with 393 employees across various industries in the United States. The key findings showed that supportive peer communication was positively associated with employee mental wellness. In addition, increased organizational trust positively mediated the effects of both corporate symmetrical communication and supportive peer communication on employee psychological well-being. This study advances understanding of employee psychological well-being by examining the impact of internal communication. The results of this study also provide practical implications regarding how to promote employee psychological wellness by creating an effective internal communication environment at both corporate and peer levels to cultivate employee organizational trust.”

Katherine Wertz

Using TikTok for public and youth mental health–A systematic review and content analysis.

Citation: McCashin, D., & Murphy, C. M. (2023). Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 28(1), 279-306. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/13591045221106608

“Globally, TikTok is now the fastest growing social media platform among children and young people; but it remains surprisingly under-researched in psychology and psychiatry. This is despite the fact that social media platforms have been subject to intense academic and societal scrutiny regarding their potentially adverse effects on youth mental health and wellbeing, notwithstanding the inconsistent findings across the literature. In this two part study, we conducted a systematic review concerning studies that have examined TikTok for any public health or mental health purpose; and a follow-up content analysis of TikTok within an Irish context. For study 1, a predetermined search strategy covering representative public and mental health terminology was applied to six databases – PSYCINFO, Google Scholar, PUBMED, Wiley, Journal of Medical Internet Research, ACM – within the period 2016 to 2021. Included studies were limited to English-speaking publications of any design where TikTok was the primary focus of the study. The quality appraisal tool by Dunne et al., (2018) was applied to all included studies. For study 2, we replicated our search strategy from study 1, and converted this terminology to TikTok hashtags to search within TikTok in combination with Irish-specific hashtags. As quantified by the app, the top two “most liked” videos were selected for inclusion across the following three targeted groups: official public health accounts; registered Irish charities; and personal TikTok creators. A full descriptive analysis was applied in both studies. Study 1 found 24 studies that covered a range of public and mental health issues: COVID-19 (n = 10), dermatology (n = 7), eating disorders (n = 1), cancer (n = 1), tics (n = 1), radiology (n = 1), sexual health (n = 1), DNA (n = 1), and public health promotion (n = 1). Studies were predominately from the USA, applied a content analysis design, and were of acceptable quality overall. In study 2, 29 Irish TikTok accounts were analysed, including the accounts of public health authorities (n = 2), charity or non-profit (n = 5), and personal TikTok creators (n = 22). The overall engagement data from these accounts represented a significant outreach to younger populations: total likes n = 2,588,181; total comments n = 13,775; and total shares n = 21,254. TikTok has been utilised for a range of public health purposes, but remains poorly engaged by institutional accounts. The various mechanisms for connecting with younger audiences presents a unique opportunity for youth mental health practitioners to consider, yet there were distinct differences in how TikTok accounts used platform features to interact. Overall, there is an absence of high quality mixed methodological evaluations of TikTok content for public and mental health, despite it being the most used platform for children and young people.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Information management

Narratives, information and manifestations of resistance to persuasion in online discussions of HPV vaccination

Semino, E., Coltman-Patel, T., Dance, W., Deignan, A., Demjén, Z, Hardaker C, Mackey, A. (2023). Health Communication. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2023.2257428

“There are both theoretical accounts and empirical evidence for the fact that, in health communication, narratives (storytelling) may have a persuasive advantage when compared with information (the provision of facts). The dominant explanation for this potential advantage is that narratives inhibit people’s resistance to persuasion, particularly in the form of counterarguing. Evidence in this area to date has most often been gathered through lab or field experiments. In the current study [the authors] took a novel approach, gathering data from naturally-occurring, non-experimental and organically evolving online interactions about vaccinations. [Authors] focus on five threads from the parenting forum Mumsnet Talk that centered on indecision about the HPV vaccination. Analysis revealed that narratives and information were used by posters in similar quantities as a means of providing vaccination-related advice. [Authors] also found similar frequencies of direct engagement with both narratives and information. However, findings showed that narratives resulted in a significantly higher proportion of posts exhibiting supportive engagement, whereas information resulted in posts exhibiting a significantly higher proportion of challenges, including counterarguing and other manifestations of posters’ resistance to persuasion. The proportions of supportive versus challenging engagement also varied depending on the topic and vaccine stance of narratives. Notwithstanding contextual explanations for these patterns, [authors’] findings, based on this original approach of using naturalistic data, provide a novel kind of evidence for the potential of narratives to inhibit counterarguing in authentic health-related discourse.”

Walter Orr

The role of symmetrical internal communication in improving employee experiences and organizational identification during COVID-19 pandemic-induced organizational change

Sun, R., Li, J.-Y. Q., Lee, Y., & Tao, W. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1398-1426. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211050628

“Integrating strategic internal communication research with organizational change literature and organizational support theory, this study proposes a theoretical model to understand the influence of symmetrical internal communication on employees’ cognitive and affective experiences and organizational identification in a COVID-19 pandemic-induced change situation. A quantitative online survey was conducted with 490 full-time employees in the United States in mid-April 2020. Results indicate that symmetrical internal communication during organizational change contributes to employees’ perceptions of change communication quality. In addition, symmetrical internal communication, along with perceived quality of change communication, enhances employees’ perceptions of organizational support and positive emotions during organizational change, which in turn leads to stronger organizational identification. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.”

Katherine Wertz


Content strategy or strategic content? Suggestions for developing sustainable content strategy in advocacy organizations

Stone, E.M. (2023). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 53(4), 382–397. https://doi.org/10.1177/00472816231172137

“Using first-hand experience supplemented by an open-access archive, this article examines case examples of civically engaged, public-facing technical communication (e.g., training for community organizers) as well as the value of stories and storytelling for content strategy. By developing 10 best practices for content strategy in advocacy organizations, this article offers suggestions for how to design and sustain content strategy for community organizers and contributes to the field’s knowledge of the content strategy of politically engaged nonprofits, particularly those with a strong digital presence.”

Anita Ford

Intercultural communication

Lost in translation: The vital role of medical translation in global medical communication

Mao, A.X. (2023). American Medical Writers Association Journal, 38(3), 4-6. [doi: none]

“In today’s globalized world, translating scientific and medical content is vital to bridging language barriers and facilitating communication among diverse audiences. This article dives deep into the importance of medical translation and provides key best practices to ensure accurate and high-quality translations. Effective medical translators must possess strong writing skills in both the source and target languages to accurately convey the intended message while maintaining the tone and style of the original document. Developing and finalizing content in one language before translation streamlines the process and enhances the quality of the translation. Translators should seek clarification and ask questions during the translation process to deliver an error-free final version. Understanding medical terminology in both source and target languages is crucial, and staying updated with the latest terminology is essential for accurate translations. Utilizing a bilingual glossary or creating one in collaboration with the client helps ensure translation accuracy. Although machine translations have limitations, computer-assisted translation tools like Trados, memoQ, Wordfast, and OmegaT improve efficiency and consistency. These tools, equipped with translation memory and terminology management features, support human translators in their work. Medical translation plays a significant role in global medical communication, alongside regulatory writing, scientific publications, health communication, professional education, promotional writing, and grant writing. It is essential for effective communication and accurate information exchange in the scientific community. In conclusion, accurate medical translation is crucial for effective communication and collaboration in the global scientific community. Adhering to best practices ensures precise and high-quality translations, facilitating the sharing of scientific knowledge across languages.”

Walter Orr

Organizational information and communication technologies and their influence on communication visibility and perceived proximity

van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., Rice, R. E., & Treem, J. W. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1267-1289. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211050068

“This study investigates the relationships between the use of various organizational ICTs, communication visibility, and perceived proximity to distant colleagues. In addition, this study examines the interplay between visibility and proximity, to determine whether visibility improves proximity, or vice versa. These relationships are tested in a global company using two waves of panel survey data. ESM use increases communication visibility and perceived proximity, while controlling for prior levels of visibility, proximity, and the use of other organizational ICTs. The influence of ESM on network translucence and perceived proximity is generally stronger than the impact of other technologies on these outcomes. These results highlight the importance of considering various aspects of the technological landscape conjointly, as well as distinguishing the two dimensions of communication visibility. Finally, the results indicate that perceived proximity has causal priority over communication visibility, indicating that communication visibility exists partly as an attribution of perceived proximity to distant colleagues, and is not solely inferred from the use of organizational ICTs.”

Katherine Wertz

Protesting the protest paradigm: TikTok as a space for media criticism

Literat, I., Boxman-Shabtai, L., & Kligler-Vilenchik, N. (2023). The International Journal of Press/Politics, 28(2), 362-383. https://doi.org/10.1177/19401612221117481

“Though news representations of protest have been studied extensively, little is known about how media audiences critique such representations. Focusing on TikTok as a space for media criticism, this article examines how users employ the app to respond to representations of protest in mainstream news media. Content collected in the spring of 2021 illuminated two very distinct foci of discussion about news representations of protest: the Black Lives Matter movement and the Capitol riot. Our qualitative content analysis of TikTok videos and their related comments demonstrates how users employed TikTok’s creative affordances to dissect specific news representations, critique the media apparatus, and expand news narratives. These findings shed light on the complex role of TikTok as a platform for media criticism—one that can be used for both democratic and non-democratic ends.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


A maturity model for content strategy development and technical communicator leadership

Campbell, K. W., & Swisher, V. (2023). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 53(4), 286–309. https://doi.org/10.1177/00472816231171863

“While technical communication consultants and researchers agree that content strategy requires attention to both customer needs and business goals, [the authors] found no evidence that technical communication educators promote an accurate understanding of business goals among their content strategy students. Through industry–academia collaboration, [the authors] integrate two existing models, using content tactics within organizational characteristics that define the maturity level of an organization’s content operations. Analyzing the current state of maturity for each characteristic highlights gaps that can define a content strategy with prioritized tactics and, ultimately, encourages the growth of technical communicator leadership and the empowerment of our profession.”

Anita Ford

Planning for difference: Preparing students to create flexible and elaborated team charters that can adapt to support diverse teams

Feuer, M., & Wolfe, J. (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(1), 78–93. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2022.3228020

“A robust body of research supports the use of team charters to purposefully create a team culture with shared norms and expectations…. Teams that do not engage in effective planning for their collaborations are likely to encounter a range of problems including slackers, domineering teammates, curtailed learning opportunities, and general exclusion from the project work—problems that are often exacerbated on diverse teams and that disproportionately affect marginalized populations.” For this study the authors created three online modules that help students uncover their own tacit expectations for teamwork, share and merge these expectations, and then construct a team charter and task schedules with their teammates. [The authors] used a quasiexperimental design comparing team charters from control and experimental groups to understand how [the] modules affected students’ charters at a university with a highly international population…. Analyses revealed that control group charters tended to invoke universal team norms and assign punishments for failing to uphold those norms. By contrast, experimental group charters were more flexible, acknowledged competing priorities, evidenced greater planning, and articulated processes that could accommodate individual goals, values, and constraints…. Charters created after the modules showed more accommodation of difference; however, more research needs to be done to determine whether the more flexible and elaborated charters improve team behaviors.”

Lyn Gattis

Political discourse

Message or messenger? Source and labeling effects in authoritarian response to protest

Arnon, D., Edwards, P., & Li, H. (2023). Comparative Political Studies, 56(12), 1891-1923. https://doi.org/10.1177/00104140231168361

“Authoritarian regimes in the 21st century have increasingly turned to using information control rather than kinetic force to respond to threats to their rule. This paper studies an often overlooked type of information control: strategic labeling and public statements by regime sources in response to protests. Labeling protesters as violent criminals may increase support for repression by signaling that protests are illegitimate and deviant. Regime sources, compared to more independent sources, could increase support for repression even more when paired with such an accusatory label. Accommodative labels should have opposing effects—decreasing support for repression. The argument is tested with a survey experiment in China which labels environmental protests. Accusatory labels increase support for repression of protests. Regime sources, meanwhile, have no advantage over non-governmental sources in shifting opinion. The findings suggest that negative labels de-legitimize protesters and legitimize repression while the sources matter less in this contentious authoritarian context.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Public relations

Coworkers’ perceptions of, and communication with, workplace romance participants: Proposing and testing a model

Chory, R. M., & Gillen Hoke, H. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1290-1312. https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488420908321

“This study’s purpose was to propose and test a model of workplace romance’s influence on coworkers’ perceptions of, and communication with, workplace romance participants. In testing hypotheses derived from [the authors’] model, [the authors] examined workplace romance’s relational implications from the perspectives of workplace romance participants and third-party coworkers. Results reveal that coworker perceptions of, and behaviors toward, workplace romance participants were more deleterious than the workplace romance participants believed them to be, especially in the case of hierarchical workplace romances. In addition, attributions of workplace romance job motives led to reports of diminished coworker trust in workplace romance participants, which predicted less honest and accurate coworker communication with workplace romance participants. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings for communication in coworker relationships and antisocial organizational behavior and communication are discussed.”

Katherine Wertz

The impact of employee empathy on brand trust in organizational complaint response emails: A closer look at linguistic realization

Van Herck, R., Decock, S., De Clerck, B., & Hudders, L. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1220-1266. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211032316

“This study investigates the effect of linguistic realizations of employee empathy (LREE) on brand trust in email responses to customer complaints. [The authors] explore possible mediating effects of perceived empathy and perceived complaint handling quality and [the authors] look into moderation effects of compensation (Study 1) or customer’s acceptance of blame (Study 2). [The authors’] aim is to find out if LREE have a negative or positive impact on the customer in cases of partial refunds, either because LREE are being perceived as insincere or as genuine expressions of concern. The results of two experiments show that LREE positively influence brand trust through higher perceived empathy and perceived complaint handling quality. However, the expected negative effect is not found, as LREE are more effective in a low versus high compensation condition. The effectiveness itself is not influenced by the acceptance of blame when a partial refund is offered.”

Katherine Wertz


Computer-assisted corpus analysis: An introduction to concepts, processes, and decisions

Lang, S., Buell, D. A., & Elliot, N. (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(1), 94–113. https://doi.org/10.1109/ TPC.2022.3228026

“This tutorial aims to guide readers through key concepts, basic processes, and common decision points that inform computer-assisted corpus-based research in technical, professional, and scientific communication (TPSC)…. [K]ey concepts of corpus analysis useful to TPSC researchers and practitioners include the following: corpus location, text preparation, and programming language and software selection…. These key concepts can be used to establish basic processes and decision points that, in turn, yield lessons related to the usefulness of lexicogrammatical language models and the significance of multidisciplinarity…. Although corpus research is a growing and important part of the field of TPSC, challenges remain in terms of language model variety and ethical considerations. At least in part, these challenges can be met, respectively, by alignment between corpus and analytic tools and reference to the Common Rule and related international standards.”

Lyn Gattis

Deciphering nested literacies: A case study of Allosaurus fragilis at the Smithsonian’s Deep Time exhibit

DeTora, L. (2023). Technical Communication Quarterly, 32, 364–380. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2022.2146756

“The author proposes a model for reading material characterized by ‘nested’ literacies to decipher complex information where literacy operates in enmeshed and unpredictable ways. A case study of a nesting Allosaurus fragilis illustrates how deciphering multiple interacting literacies can identify areas needing technical communication intervention. In this context, multiple literacies include the usual reconstruction of Allosaurus fragilis in museum displays, the public discourses surrounding the nesting Allosaurus, and the associated scientific literature.

Rhonda Stanton

Unearthing the facets of crisis history in crisis communication: A conceptual framework and introduction of the Crisis History Salience Scale

Eaddy, L. L. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1177-1196. https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488420988769

“Coombs’s Situational Crisis Communication Theory suggests performance history, composed of relationship history and crisis history, intensify crisis responsibility attribution. Relationship history is organizations’ actual and perceived rapport with publics, while crisis history is an organization’s previous crises. Extant literature has only examined crisis history one-dimensionally. This study proposes the Crisis History Framework that provides insight into influential factors that can make crises more or less salient to individuals. Furthermore, the study introduces the Crisis History Salience Scale that can help crisis communications scholars conduct empirical research examining crisis history’s multiple facets. Moreover, the study offers suggestions for how crisis history considerations can inform proactive crisis management, key messaging, and strategy development during crises.”

Katherine Wertz


The relationship of internal communication satisfaction with employee engagement and employer attractiveness: Testing the joint mediating effect of the social exchange quality indicators

Tkalac Verčič, A., Galić, Z., & Žnidar, K. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1313-1340. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211053839

“In order to improve internal communication within organizations, it is necessary to understand it better. This study explores the potential impact of internal communication on employee engagement and employer attractiveness by testing the mediating effects of social exchange quality indicators. A survey of 1,805 employees was used to test the relationships between internal communication satisfaction, employee engagement, and employer attractiveness and the potential mediating variables; reflecting the perception of the social relationship between an organization and its employees. The results showed that communication satisfaction correlated positively with the social exchange quality indicators (psychological contract fulfillment and perceived organizational support) and both outcomes—employee engagement and employer attractiveness. Additionally, the social exchange quality indicators partially mediated the relationship between internal communication satisfaction and both employee engagement and employer attractiveness. [The authors’] findings were consistent with the theoretical models in which internal communication satisfaction leads to higher employee engagement and employer attractiveness.”

Katherine Wertz

Scientific writing

Product placement bibliometric study: Generic journals versus specific-communication journals

Vila-López, N., & Kuster-Boluda, I. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1368-1397. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211055840

“Media fragmentation represents new challenges for product placement strategies to become an increasingly effective way to reach consumers and non-users. In this frame, this paper has been developed with three main objectives: (i) to carry on a performance analysis to measure the visibility/impact of the scientific product in product placement (most cited authors, journals, and themes), (ii) to visually present the scientific structure by topics of research in product placement as well as its evolution to identify future research lines, and (iii) to compare both objectives in generic journals and specific communication ones. To this end, the resources in the Web of Science Citation Index were used. Scimat software was applied on a sample of 694 indexed papers from 1992 to 2021 containing ‘product placement’ with 8,521 global citations (176 of the papers were indexed in communication journals with 3,190 citations). [The authors’] results show that MEMORY is a key motor theme—the future of research tends to new themes in the communication field (i.e., ATTITUDES/BEHAVIORS or VIRTUAL). Three industries have been key: alcohol, tobacco, and food. This research adds value to previous analysis as long as [the authors] have included: (i) a multidisciplinary approach; (ii) an unfolded analysis focusing strictly on communication journals; and (iii) a longitudinal analysis to compare different periods showing dynamic scientific maps.”

Katherine Wertz

Social Justice

Historicizing power and legitimacy after the social justice turn: Resisting narcissistic tendencies

Shelton, C. D. & Warren-Riley, S. (2023). Technical Communication Quarterly, 32, 313–326. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2022.2141898

“As a field committed to solving problems, technical and professional communication (TPC) seems well positioned to engage the challenges that come with social justice work intellectually and respond with practical solutions. In this article, the authors argue that power and legitimacy are critical terms that can propel our social justice work, if we can recast them in our disciplinary history and ultimately renegotiate them in the trajectories of our disciplinary futures.”

Rhonda Stanton

Social Media

The value of brand fans during a crisis: Exploring the roles of response strategy, source, and brand identification

Lim, H. S., & Brown-Devlin, N. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1148-1176. https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488421999699

“Using a two (crisis response strategy: diminish vs. rebuild) × three (source: brand organization vs. brand executive vs. brand fan) experimental design, this study examines how brand fans (i.e., consumers who identify with a brand) can be prompted to protect a brand’s reputation during crises and how the selection of a crisis spokesperson can influence consumers’ evaluations of the crisis communication. Being buffers for their preferred brands, brand fans are more likely to accept their brand’s crisis response and engage in positive electronic word-of-mouth on social media. Brand fans are more likely to evaluate other brand fan’s social media accounts as a credible crisis communication source, whereas those who are not brand fans are more likely to evaluate brand and/or brand executives as credible. Findings provide theoretical applications in paracrisis literature pertaining to social media but also practical implications for brand managers to strategically utilize brand fans in crisis communication.”

Katherine Wertz

TikTok and political communication: The latest frontier of politainment? A case study

Cervi, L., Tejedor, S., & Blesa, F. G. (2023). Media and Communication, 11(2), 203-217. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i2.6390

“TikTok is without any doubt the most popular social media among Gen Zers. Originally born as a lip-syncing app, it can be exploited in different ways; as such, it represents a new fertile space for political communication. In this vein, previous studies have shown that politicians all over the planet are joining the platform as a tool to connect with younger audiences. This study examines the use of TikTok in the last presidential elections in Peru. Following an affordance-based approach, we analyze all the TikToks published by the main candidates (Pedro Castillo, Keiko Fujimori, Rafael Lopez Aliaga, Hernando de Soto, and George Forsyth) during the electoral campaign, to understand if and how candidates have integrated this platform as part of their electoral strategy and what kind of content they publish and share. Through a content analysis that combines quantitative and qualitative elements, we demonstrate that, although all the analyzed politicians have opened TikTok accounts, they do not seem to take full advantage of the platform’s affordances displaying a top-down communication style with almost no deliberative nor participative intentions. Political issues are almost absent since the platform is mostly used to display their personal life and enhance their political persona, with most of the content displaying a clear entertaining dimension. Some differences are discussed but, in general, results reveal that Peruvian candidates use TikTok almost uniquely for politainment.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


Instructional design pedagogy in technical and professional communication

Tham, J. (2023). Technical Communication Quarterly, 32, 327–346. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2022.2130991

“This study investigates how instructional design manifests in TPC pedagogies and where educators draw resources from. As TPC expands into areas in which instructional design traditionally governs, scholars need to discern how TPC distinguishes its specialty while providing training to support instructional design practices. Through textbook and syllabus analysis, coupled with instructor interviews, this study reports findings about instructional design pedagogy within TPC based on the themes gathered from the instructors’ experiences and existing resources.”

Rhonda Stanton


360° video for research communication and dissemination: A case study and guidelines

Wuebben, D., Rubio-Tamayo, J. L., Barrio, M. G., & Romero-Luis, J. (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(1), 59–77. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2022.3228022

“360° videos are increasingly popular channels for science communication and higher education; however, time-limited 360° videos that disseminate scientific research via platforms like YouTube remain underexamined. To address this problem, this experience report reviews the creation and evaluation of six 2D video interviews and six 360° video tours…. Scientists researching energy-related technologies were invited to record 2D video interviews. Based on these interviews, six transcripts for 360° videos were drafted and recorded in the same lab settings. When the videos were published, European researchers and communication professionals were recruited to complete a short survey evaluating the videos’ relative merits…. The survey results (n = 32) suggest a similar overall quality of the 2D video interviews and 360° video tours. Respondents ranked the interviewee or narrator as the best feature of both the 2D and 360° format, and 47% said that they would prefer to have a 360° video created about their research…. Further research and practice are required to understand which specific features of the 360° videos are most effective and whether this technology offers distinct advantages as a tool for dissemination [on public-facing platforms]….”

Lyn Gattis

Multimodal critical discourse analysis for technical communication research

Agbozo, G. Edzordzi (2023). Technical Communication Quarterly, 32, 381–394. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2022.2144950

“I propose Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) as an approach for understanding the discursive and material implications of technical documents in distant sites. I provide a historical vignette of MCDA and exemplify how technical and professional communication (TPC) researchers can critically engage with distant sites through MCDA by analyzing materials about GhanaPostGPS, a geolocation technology. I conclude by discussing limitations of MCDA – access to archives – and propose the creation of crowdsourced technical documentation archives.”

Rhonda Stanton

Usability studies

Comparing student learning in face-to-face versus online sections of an information technology course

Shah, S., & Arinze, B. (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(1), 48–58. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2022.3228025

“The recent COVID-19 pandemic forced most universities into online course delivery. As such, the rapid expansion of online learning and the prospect of its permanent increase for many institutions have sharpened the issue of the efficacy of remotely delivered courses.” This study asked the research question, “Can information technology courses—especially those that are more experiential and technical—be supported through online learning given the extent of differences in efficacy between online and face-to-face experiential, technical courses?” The researchers compared multiple sections of an experiential IT Outsourcing class over several quarters in two course delivery modes. The two modes were FTF delivery and online synchronous delivery. Students in each course section responded to two surveys where they rated their knowledge of different topics at the start and end of the course…. Online students reported greater increases in learning on average across all measured items. Self-reported knowledge gains were significantly greater in five items, mostly in soft skills and project management knowledge. The only significantly improved technical IT skill was in using software for virtual meetings.” The authors “conclude that universities should embrace teaching experiential IT-based courses virtually, as it is possible to obtain greater improvements in self-efficacy, counter to much existing research. This is especially the case as instructional technology improves.”

Lyn Gattis

User experience

Agentive assemblages in online patient spaces

Cameron, S. (2023). Technical Communication Quarterly, 32, 347–363. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2022.2162133

“This article engages with TPC scholarship that calls for increased attention to agency as distributed and interdependent. This study analyzes 320 postings in one online health forum to better understand how patients come together to collaborate with one another, distribute information, and make health decisions. I argue that viewing crowdsourced forums as agentive assemblages may help researchers explain both the agency of individual actors as well as the collective agency of groups over time.”

Rhonda Stanton

Using eye tracking to study information selection and use in procedures

Meng, M. (2023). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 66(1), 7–25. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2022.3228021

“Procedures are an important part of instructional materials. To support practitioners in designing effective procedures, research is needed on how users select information from a procedure and put it to use. This study demonstrates how eye tracking can be used to inform such research. Eye tracking is used to study effects of adding pictures to procedures in a software tutorial on how users interact with procedures…. Eye movements were recorded from 42 participants as they worked through one of two versions of a tutorial: with or without pictures…. Accuracy on tasks was higher when the procedures included pictures. Including pictures sped up processing the instructions and executing the actions, but did not trigger more attention switches between the procedures and the application that the users worked with. Users spontaneously adopted a strategy of immediate task execution and processed pictures before acting…. Pictures facilitate efficient processing of procedures, leaving more resources for task execution. Reading and acting are tightly connected in a complex pattern. Eye tracking will be of value to examine their interplay further and the ways that it can be influenced by design.”

Lyn Gattis


The art of assembly: script, platform, document

Dush, L. (2023). Technical Communication Quarterly, 32, 395–410. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2022.2162134

“Drawing on fieldwork conducted with the designers of and participants in a new fellowship program to connect globally distributed grassroots leaders, this article defines a core set of communication-design practices that support emerging collectives and projects. The three practices detailed – creating a script, building a platform, and inventing protocols to document activity – can be understood as part of an ‘art of assembly’ that is yet to be fully and systematically articulated.

Rhonda Stanton

When your boss says, “You need to sound more professional”: Writing style and writer attributions

Campbell, K. S., Naidoo, J. S., & Smith, J. (2023). International Journal of Business Communication, 60, 1071-1094. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211025735

“One line of prior research has focused on the effect of style on readers’ ability to comprehend or willingness to engage with a message. A separate line has illuminated the effect of errors on the impressions readers form about writers, identifying potentially serious consequences (e.g., the willingness to accept the writer as a coworker or to fund the writer’s business pitch). To date, few studies have investigated the effect of style on the impressions readers form of business writers. In this paper, [the authors] report a study of the relationship between business writer attributions and word- or sentence-level style features often emphasized by advocates of plain style. Using data from 614 respondents, [the authors] found statistically significant evidence that business writers conveyed (a) confidence by avoiding non-requisite words, jargon, and nominals and by using standard connotations and grammar, and (b) professionalism by avoiding non-requisite words and hedges and by using standard homonyms.”

Katherine Wertz