The empirical problem in business comm

Business Communication suffers from a handicap that most (maybe all) of the other subgenres in communications studies avoid. It has extremely limited access to the artifacts it purports to study, at least compared journalism, political communication, literature, and academic composition studies.

It is perhaps because of the limited access to communication artifacts — texts, speeches, etc. — that there is almost no practice of critical study of business communication. If someone were to produce a textbook of “best” business communication of 2013, where would they even start?

I’m sure I’m not the first person to ever notice this.

What I see among some of my colleagues are independent efforts to assemble samples and examples from the “real” world, but as an area of academic inquiry and teaching, I am not aware of any persistent or consistent effort to collect, identify, and comment upon actual cases of communication, which leaves most of us falling back on largely ad hoc theories about what is good and normative.

Perhaps these thoughts betray more ignorance than fact. What do you think? What is your experience?

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