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Using Process Modeling Notation to Map the Buying and Selling of Complex Software Solutions: A Qualitative Study's Implications for Practice and Pedagogy

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Purpose: To demonstrate the importance of standardized process modeling notation and its value to technical communicators involved with visualizing business or technical processes. To argue that a standardized process modeling notation can assist with bridging cultural communication gaps brought on by globalized workplaces.

Method: A rhetorical analysis emphasizing how effectively technical communication visualizations address audience, purpose, and documentation conventions. Communication visualizations were modeled first using nonstandard and then standardized modeling techniques. The visualizations were generated as part of a qualitative study to represent the business and communication processes of a senior level employee from a software firm.

Results: Nonstandard or proprietary data models and visualizations are not readily useful to diverse audiences, especially global audiences. Models should be developed with notation software that supports open standards.

Conclusion: Technical communicators should become proficient with process modeling notation and understand the fundamentals of standardized notations such as Uniform Modeling Language (UML) and Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). Academics teaching and researching technical communication should be wary of creating a divide between industry and the academy by perpetuating the use of non-standard models.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2016

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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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