Published on June 1, 2017

If you are a paper subscriber, you will receive the issue, printed together with the March issue, within the next week or two. This issue contains the following articles:

Research Article—Diagrams in Contracts: Fostering Understanding in Global Business Communication, by S. Passera, A. Kankaanranta, and L. Louhiala-Salminen

Business-to-business contracts are complex communication artifacts, often considered the exclusive domain of lawyers. However, many other stakeholders without a legal background are involved in the negotiation, drafting, approval, and implementation of contracts, and their contributions are essential for successful business relationships. This study suggests that integrating diagrams in contracts can result in faster and more accurate comprehension, for both native and non-native speakers of English

Research Article—Is Enterprise Gamification Being Cannibalized by Its Own Brand? by M. M. Kamel, M. K. Watfa, B. Lobo, and D. Sobh

Gamification is a concept that originates from the digital media domain. It includes a process of enhancing a service using game design elements in non-game contexts. Although much research exists on gamification, very few studies focus on the application of gamification in the enterprise. The results of our study show that using the “gamification” brand clearly drives lower rates of perceived acceptance of the concept, whereas using an “unbranded” version of the same gamification concepts results in comparatively higher rates of perceived acceptance and general willingness to adopt within the enterprise context.

Integrative Literature Review—A Review and Analysis of Software Development Team Communication Research, by J. F. Defranco and P. A. Laplante

The goal of this study is to analyze the type and quality of research performed on software development team communication, and to present data to guide future research in these areas. We reviewed 184 journal papers and performed a content analysis of the keywords from the relevant papers to create a software engineering team research taxonomy. We used this taxonomy to categorize the context of communication research papers. We then used those results to determine the most active software development team communication research areas. In addition, we analyzed the quality of the journals (using impact factor and H-index as metrics) and the type of research performed in these areas (i.e., qualitative, quantitative, survey, social network analysis (SNA), or literature review).

Case Study—Creative Content Management: Importance, Novelty, and Affect as Design Heuristics for Learning Management Systems, by R. McDaniel, J. Fanfarelli, and R. Lindgren

This paper examines creativity in content management by presenting a case study analysis of an original, open-source, web-based learning management system (LMS). The study finds that our original LMS design contained features that exhibited novelty, importance, and affect, and that such features can be used to identify creativity in product design as well as to assess the design of complex software systems such as content management systems (CMSs) and LMSs. Our analysis suggests new ideas for implementing and using CMSs and LMSs in technical communication. We conclude by presenting a rubric for evaluating creativity in CMSs and LMSs, or for designing such systems with creativity in mind.

Case Study—Transnational Business Communication and Identity Work in Australia, by B. Ai and L. Wang

Chinese people have actively engaged in transnational and cross-cultural business activities in recent decades. Some have moved their business activities to overseas countries. Some have migrated and settled down in a host space. This study examines the identity work—in particular, the construction of a hybrid identity—and the business communication of a Chinese-Australian migrant, Jack, from the perspective of Chinese researchers. We find that his shifting hybrid identity helps him to cross  the border of his host culture and obtain privileges in business competition. These stories reveal that Jack’s identity is continually changed and reconstructed as he builds social and cultural capital in his new business arena.                                                                                                                                

Case Study—Evaluating the Usability of Health Insurance Information with Immigrant Patients, by E. J. Rose, R. Racadio, K. Wong, S. Nguyen, J. Kim, and A. Zahler

User experience (UX), a common practice in corporate settings, is new for many nonprofits organizations. This case study details a community-based research project between nonprofit staff at a community health center and UX professionals to improve the design and usability of a document designed to help immigrant patients sign up for health insurance. UX professionals may need to adapt and be flexible with their efforts, but can offer valuable skills to community partners. We found that community-based UX collaborations can amplify the expertise of UX and nonprofit professionals. However, UX methods may need to be adapted in community-based projects to better incorporate local knowledge and needs.

Book Review—Tracy Bridgeford and Kirk St.Amant, eds., Academy-Industry Relationships and Partnerships: Perspectives for Technical Communicators, Reviewed by Cassandra Book

Book Review—Denise Tillery and Ed Nagelhout, eds.The New Normal: Pressures on Technical Communication Programs in the Age of Austerity, Reviewed by Elsie A. Green

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