Overall, I found this week’s readings to be very informative and imperative to the field of technical communication. I am particularly invested in the topics of collaboration and culture being that I have struggled in both scenarios. Collaboration is not necessarily a situation I enjoy being that I always end up taking the lead on projects or have a bad experience with it overall:'( Regarding culture, being that I am Middle Eastern and Muslim, I face difficulties with getting people to understand me as well as with understanding people from cultures different than my own. Considering my “native” Middle Eastern culture and upbringing in the United States and therefore, my culture is comprised of aspects from both which is interesting since the two typically conflict with each other.
In Chapter 18, Burnett et. al. focus on the aspects of collaboration that technical communicators. Collaboration has become common in the workplace and I would argue that communication is one of the most significant characteristics of collaboration. When it comes to collaboration, you are working with a wide variety of personalities, work styles, leadership styles, skillsets, etc. That is a lot of unknown to deal with and for this reason, communication is absolutely essential to collaboration being successful and at the very least “working.” However, if done ineffectively, communication is the single factor that could cause collaboration to fall apart. This is particularly dangerous since there is usually an invested interest in many collaboration projects (otherwise they wouldn’t have come to fruition) or they are specially funding for a unique purpose. Burnett et. al. does a great job of explaining the different characteristics that need to be taken into account in a collaboration scenario and overall, provided a great foundation of information for technical communicators to consider before entering the world of collaboration. Additionally, the chapter could be used as a source for technical communicators who are facing challenges in present scenarios.
Chapter 19 was by far my favorite chapter in the book thus far. This is probably due to my intense fascination with intercultural communication and that I have taken Kirk for a few courses and really enjoy hearing his expertise on the topic. Additionally, I have interned and studied abroad and faced many communication challenges in the environment I was in so it was a chapter that was very much applicable to my experience and life in general. With the internationalization of environments brought on by the impacts of globalization. One of the items I have noticed in my life is that most about people and how they understand culture is that they often neglect to consider how that impacts communication. They know it affects many things, but they rarely think about how that might affect the way I articulate myself and my thoughts. This is interesting to me since culture is the foundation of communication to begin with, but what can you do? I try to at least explain myself in a manner that the other person/s would understand. Overall, this chapter was super helpful in explaining technical communication in international settings, but I wish it had discussed more about “intercultural” environments that we face in a workplace in the United States. This chapter was incredibly beneficial to understanding technical communication in international environments and parts of it could be applied to the intercultural environments we face every day in Eastern NC.