RE: Academic Research in TechComm

Subject: RE: Academic Research in TechComm
From: "Giordano, Connie" <connie -dot- giordano -at- twcable -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 11:20:55 -0500

Eric and Jim have posted some excellent points in this regard.

There is some academic research that exists which could easily translate
to what constitutes a value proposition. I used that research in
preparing a research paper last year for my graduate program in
organizational communications.

One of the issues here is how we define what we do... In preparing that
paper, and in successfully moving into an arena with significant career
potential, I drew on a lot of experience in working on cross-functional
teams. The problem is that often we do not typically define our work as
communicators beyond writing/scribing duties that show up on the org
charts, even though it usually goes far beyond that. Then we come to
this list and complain vociferously about how we do so much more than
"just writing." I'm guilty of it myself. However, I interviewed a
number of subscribers to this list in preparing that paper, and most of
them define their everyday duties as also working to identify areas of
knowledge, sharing that knowledge among team members, facilitating
better communications on teams, creating communciations in a variety of
forms,and striving to provide services beyond the formal job description
(e.g. showing initiative). When this kind of work can be shown to
management, then demonstrating increased value without increased cost is
not a problem... At least it hasn't been for me, or any of the folks who
contributed to my research.

Value as defined by professional organizations such as STC, often bears
as little resemblance to everyday worklife as some of the research I
surveyed. My advice is to find out how your organization defines value,
and strive to provide that wherever possible.


Connie Giordano (now furiously preparing to graduate in a few weeks!)
Knowledge Management Supervisor
Time Warner Cable
7910 Crescent Executive Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217
Phone: 704-731-3755
Mobile: 704-957-8450
AIM: rightwords43

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-175203 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-175203 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Jim
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 10:54 AM
Subject: RE: Academic Research in TechComm

Bill Swallow wrote:
> Excellent post Eric.

I second that.

> On Thu, 31 Mar 2005 10:45:04 -0400,
> eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
> <eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com> wrote:
> >
> > Why the never ending angst about techwriting "value"?

I think Technical Communicators may be frustrated when they try to
extend the value proposition in the following fashion:

If Technical Communication is valuable, then higher quality Technical
Communication will be more valuable. Therefore, management should
support our efforts to improve the quality of Technical Communication.

I would argue, if we define "quality" along the lines used in STC
competitions, that the difference in the business value of quality
technical communication versus the business value of merely adequate
technical communication often approaches zero.

Further, if increases in perceived quality come with an increase in
cost, such a change effort may actually have a negative value to the

Jim Shaeffer


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