In other words, entrepreneurs are rhetors. They argue, persuade, and communicate constantly.
But so far, scholars in professional communication have not extensively studied how entrepreneurs communicate and argue: how they develop pitches, how they analyze arguments, how they teach entrepreneurship to others, how they sense the kairos of the pivot, how they coconstruct value propositions with others. We haven't developed many cases, methodologies, or theories on how this vital work gets done. And we should.
That's why I am calling for papers on two special issues:
IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication: December 2016 Special Issue on Entrepreneurship Communication
In this special issue, the focus is on mapping entrepreneurship communication practices in professional communication, especially (but not exclusively) in the contexts of technology and engineering. We're interested answers to in 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?
- Research articles (including integrative literature reviews)
- Case studies
- Teaching cases
Special Issue of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication on the Rhetoric of Entrepreneurship: Theories, Methodologies, and Practices
In this special issue, the focus is on building theories and methodologies for better understanding the rhetoric of entrepreneurship across several different contexts, including open innovation, technology commercialization, social entrepreneurship, open source projects, entrepreneurship in education, and intrapreneurship. We are also interested in well-developed critiques of the rhetoric of entrepreneurship. We expect that these articles will collectively address questions that are essential for establishing a theoretical and methodological program on the rhetoric of entrepreneurship, including:
- How has entrepreneurial rhetoric been characterized in the research literature, both in professional communication and in other fields?
- How can we best theorize entrepreneurship in rhetorical terms?
- What research methodologies are best suited for investigating entrepreneurial rhetoric? How can we best provide an empirically grounded account of entrepreneurship as a rhetorical practice?
- What kinds of arguments do entrepreneurs make—in terms of genres, media, occasions, and types? How do entrepreneurs conceptualize, configure, reconfigure, and iterate their arguments?
- What kinds of entrepreneurial activities exist, and how does rhetoric enact and stabilize them?
- What is the ethos of entrepreneurial work? Does it differ from the ethos of other kinds of work, and if so, how?
- How can we bring our disciplinary insights on the rhetoric of entrepreneurship to bear on professional communication pedagogy?
If this is more your speed, abstracts are due November 30, 2015.
If you think you have a topic or idea that you'd like to develop, reach out to me as soon as possible. I'll be happy to provide guidance. I'll also be at Procomm 2015/SIGDOC 2015 if you'd like to talk in person this July.