Formal Communications’ Role in Knowledge Work: Evidence From Projects

Priscilla S. Rogers*, Lisa A. Pawlik, Barbara L. Shwom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


To investigate the contribution of formal communications (FCs) to problem-solving knowledge work, this study examines survey, interview, and observational data from 212 teams who produced contracting documents, reports, and PowerPoint presentations while working on projects for diverse organizations worldwide. The study found that these FCs engaged teams in a contextual–conceptual dynamic involving interactive pairs of integral work activities. The findings validate, integrate, and extend prior scholarship on organizational genres, writing to learn, and the role of material texts in the work process, leading to a comprehensive framework that pinpoints opportunities for managing FCs to achieve their fullest potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-156
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Business and Technical Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • formal communication genres
  • knowledge work
  • material objects
  • oral presentation
  • project management
  • writing to learn
  • written communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Communication
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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