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Technical Communication as Business Strategy: How Changes in Discursive Patterns Affect the Value of Technical Communication in Cross-functional Team Settings

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Business seldom views technical communicators’ contributions as offering strategic thinking and services. Companies tend to view technical communicators as tactical and technical, rather than strategic and creative. Consequently, often in cross-functional development settings the ideas and recommendations of technical communicators are not valued in the same way that ideas from business strategists, marketing, or other fields are. This paper details a case study in which the role of an information architect, a title that more and more technical communicators use to describe themselves, becomes valued by a design firm’s client and by the firm itself as strategic business advantage. I explain why the role of the information architect increased in value and how the increased value changed the job description. I look at how blending knowledge occurs through shifts in terminology, imitation of another field, and selling new concepts. The blending of knowledge that occurred in this study is an example of rhetorical invention and demonstrates how language shapes the value of the knowledge technical communicators have, as well as what technical communicators could have.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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