Published on April 13, 2015

Guest editor: Clay Spinuzzi (University of Texas at Austin),

Entrepreneurs must communicate constantly. When they develop an innovation, look at possible markets, conduct market research, seek intellectual property protection, develop a business model, and pitch to stakeholders, they are engaging in professional communication. When they use a business model canvas, a value proposition canvas, or other heuristics, they are thinking through how to communicate the value of their innovation. When they read market research reports, put together pitch decks, and write business plans, they are reading and producing genres of professional communication. And when they pivot their arguments, it is because they have reached a point of kairos, the opportune moment in which they have engaged in a dialogue with market representatives to create something new.

Entrepreneurship is important for business owners, inventors, and innovators, all of whom must communicate effectively with various audiences. But it is also important for professional communicators themselves, as more professional communicators go into business for themselves and must communicate their own value to clients.

This special issue of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication focuses on entrepreneurship communication. We are interested in answers to questions such as these:

  • What genres and heuristics do people need to learn as they become entrepreneurs? How do they learn them?
  • How do entrepreneurs communicate in specific situations? What are their challenges, and how can we help them to meet those challenges?
  • What challenges do technical and professional communicators themselves face as they function as entrepreneurs?
  • What skills, genres, and heuristics should professional communicators learn as they prepare to function as entrepreneurs?
  • What should educators be teaching students in professional communication about entrepreneurship? Conversely, what should educators be teaching students in entrepreneurial contexts about professional communication?
  • How can we apply entrepreneurship principles more broadly to professional communication? What trends can we expect from the next decade, and what innovations and shifts must we consider as we prepare for the future of technical communication?

Types of articles

For this special issue, we are seeking articles of the following types:

  • Research articles (including integrative literature reviews)
  • Case studies
  • Tutorials
  • Teaching cases

See for more information on each type.


This special issue has a two-step review process (See below for timeline):

  1. If you have a project that you believe is a good fit, submit a two-page abstract summarizing your proposed article. The guest editor will use the abstracts to select authors, who will be invited to submit a complete article.
  2. Once you submit a full article, it will be peer reviewed. Based on the peer reviews, the guest editor will select articles for the special issue.

Requirements for Abstracts

All abstracts should be about 750 words. They should be emailed to the guest editor ( in one of the following formats:

  • text (in the body of the email)
  • Microsoft Word
  • PDF

For research articles: By the time you submit the abstract, you should have

  • Taken part in a systematical evaluation or case study on entrepreneurship communication.
  • Analyzed or evaluated problems and solutions facing entrepreneurs as they communicate (or learn to communicate) about their products, services, or intellectual property.
  • Obtained organizational approval (including approval of your institutional review board, if applicable) for publishing about the study.

Your abstract should address:

  1. Theoretical perspective: From what point of view are you analyzing and evaluating entrepreneurship communication?
  2. Research questions: What was the research focus, and how will it add to our understanding and knowledge of entrepreneurship communication?
  3. Method: How did you go about investigating the research questions? Who were your participants, and how did you collect data and analyze it?
  4. Findings: What did you learn?
  5. Discussion: What are the possible implications and limitations of your results for entrepreneurs and professional communicators? What future work is called for?

For case studies: Abstracts for case studies should address

  1. Problem: Explicit description of the problem(s) the authors were trying to solve
  2. Methodology: How the case study data was compiled.
  3. Project particulars: Relative budget, relative amount of development time, constraints, technologies used (i.e. proprietary or open source).

For tutorials: Abstracts for tutorials should address

  1. Need: Explicit description of the need that the tutorial will address, and for what population (e.g., professional communicators starting their own firm; entrepreneurs wishing to learn more about the pitch deck genre).
  2. Key concepts: The key concepts that you will cover in the tutorial.
  3. Key lessons: The takeaway; what the targeted audience should know (or know how to do) after reading the tutorial.

For teaching cases: Abstracts for teaching cases should address

  1. Need: Explicit description of the need that this teaching case will address, and for what population (e.g., students in college-level professional communication courses; working professional communicators in a training program).
  2. Case: Brief description of the illustrative case study: how does this particular case represent a larger class of cases? What key research and theories guided it?
  3. Methodology: How was the case studied?
  4. Results: The takeaway; what can the case study teach or illustrate for the target population.

Timeline for Submissions

Drop a note if you’re interested to contribute As soon as possible!
Abstract submission deadline October 1, 2015
Notification of authors: November 15, 2015. Those whose abstracts are accepted will be invited to submit a complete article.
Submission of complete articles February 15, 2016
Review back to authors May 1, 2016
Revised and resubmitted articles submitted for second review July 1, 2016
Final and complete articles submitted September 1, 2016
Special issue published December 2016

For questions concerning the special issue, and to submit the abstract of your proposed article, please contact guest editor Clay Spinuzzi at