Katie RobischThis project examines the transition of writers from academic settings to the workplace. The purpose of the project is to determine how writers learn in the workplace, what skills transfer, and what teachers can do to help better prepare writers for the professional world. This project offers a beneficial starting place for professors teaching writing skills at many college levels. It also can help many students understand the types of writing tasks they may need to perform after graduation. Finally, it allows any curious composition theorist an opportunity to see theories in the specific setting of the workplace. In researching this topic, I considered sources from academic anthologies and textbooks. I examined social perspectives on the culture of the workplace and also genre theory as it operates in the workplace. I tried to find studies that examined many different types of writing in many different organizations, from non-profit press releases to bank reports to technical support emails in a university.
Adam, Christine. "What Do We Learn From the Readers? Factors in Determining Successful Transitions Between Academic and Workplace Writing." Transitions: Writing in Academic and Workplace Settings. Ed. Patrick Dias and Anthony Pare.
Beaufort, Anne. "Learning New Genres: the Convergence of Knowledge and Action."Writing in the Real World: Making the Transition From School to Work. New
Beaufort, Anne. "Transferring Writing Knowledge to the Workplace, are We on Track?"Expanding Literacies: English Teaching and the New Workplace. Ed. Mary Sue Garay and Stephen A. Bernhardt. 1 Apr. 2001
Beaufort, Anne. "Writing in the Professions." Handbook of Research on Writing: History, Society, School, Individual, Text. Ed. Charles Bazerman.
Dias, Patrick, Aviva Freedman, Peter Medway, and Anthony Pare. "Virtual Realities:TransitionsFrom University to Workplace Writing." Worlds Apart: Acting and Writing in Academic and Workplace Contexts.
Ledwell-Brown, Jane. "Organizational Cultures as Contexts for Learning to Write." Transitions:Writing in Academic and Workplace Settings. Ed. Patrick Dias and Anthony Pare.
MacKinnon, Jamie. "Becoming a Rhetor: Developing Writing Ability in a Mature, Writing-Intensive Organization." Writing in the Workplace: New Research Perspectives. Ed. Rachel Spilka.
Reither, James A. "Bridging the Gap: Scenic Motives for Collaborative Writing in Workplaceand School." Writing in the Workplace: New Research Perspectives. Ed. Rachel Spilka.
Spilka, Rachel. “Influencing Workplace Practice: A Challenge for Professional WritingSpecialists in Academia.” Writing in the Workplace: New Research Perspectives. Ed. Rachel Spilka.
Wardle, Elizabeth. “Identity, Authority, and Learning to Write in New Workplaces.” Enculturation 5.2, 2005. http://enculturation.gmu.edu/52wardle.html This study focuses on identity in the workplace and how authority can affect writing. Wardle, who teaches composition theory at The University of Dayton, studied a computer support specialist working in a humanities department to see how he learned to write in a new workplace. Wardle interviewed and observed Alan, collected email messages he wrote and those written to him, listened to people interact with Alan, and conducted a survey with members of Alan’s department. She found that Alan considered himself extremely important because he was the only one in his department with such computer abilities. He felt he did not have to prove himself his knowledge or competence. His writing conveyed his sense of superiority to such an extent that faculty members did not always respond to him. He did not use proper grammar or tailor emails to a specific audience, which was “an accepted writing convention in the activity system” (590). Basically, Alan resisted adapting so that he could communicate more clearly in his workplace, and his colleagues did not change their views of accepted writing either. Wardle asserts that “our identities are shaped to some extent by the communities in which we choose to participate (594),” and Alan resisted because he did not want to identify with the humanities department community. The study shows that in order to learn to write in new contexts, people must do more than learn specific skills or improve cognitive abilities (594). Writing in these new contexts involves choosing to be involved in the community and the influence of power relationships. Also, Alan demonstrates a person who did not want to enculturate into a community. Although the study does not focus on documents or many types of professional writing, it clearly illustrates how company culture and attitudes affect people’s communication. Also, it stands out because it shows how much personal feelings affect writing development in new contexts.