Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

English

First Advisor

Charlotte Thralls

Abstract

Studies of communication in the workplace have traditionally addressed a limited set of formal texts (e.g., memos, proposals, procedures) and described how those texts circulate in more or less predictable systems. Consequently, many of our assumptions about professional communication activities depend on simple transactional or rhetorical models that do not take into account historical factors and conceptualize too narrowly;This study addresses social and historical variation in a single company's communicative habits from 1920 until 1985 to illustrate how rhetorical performances in the workplace operate in complex networks of activity. This study challenges formalist conceptions of professional communication by examining how communicative practices emerge, develop, and decay as professionals use texts to negotiate their work activities over extended periods of time. This historical study of the complex and often unpredictable interplay of workplace activities and communicative practices reveals how seemingly stable workplace genres are actually contested sites where communicators make decisions to vary and repeat prior practices;Workplace activities at The Rath Packing Company of Waterloo, Iowa, form the background for this study. Focusing on the interplay between company activities and communicative practices, the study explores how management techniques, regulatory controls, and technological tools in the twentieth century affected workplace communication.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/rtd-180813-10822

Publisher

Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/

Copyright Owner

Mark Randol Zachry

Language

en

Proquest ID

AAI9841099

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

286 pages

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