The Quality Gap in Technical Writing

by William Tilghman



This article focuses on difficulties faced by the industry in finding capable technical writers to meet a need that seems to grow almost daily. The largest companies can afford to recognize inherent differences among the four areas of effort by having them handled by separately staffed groups. However the responsibility is delegated, the reality is that consciously or not, many outsiders judge a company as much by its publications as on the goods and services it sells. The sensitive role of technical publications might logically be reflected in the organization charts. Low status is at once cause and effect of much of the mediocrity that plagues the technical writing field. The problem cannot be solved simply by elevating publications department heads to the level of directors of engineering. Standards have suffered in the boom, and the top-grade technical writing talent is spread thin. The scientist-writer of old, who developed his communicative talents as an adjunct to his field of study, has become obsolete, relying more and more on the technical writing specialist.

California Management Review

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