Technical Communicators in Marketing: Switching Roles and Changing Ethical Perspectives When Working With Content Marketing

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Alvarez, Nicole
Technical communication; technical marketing; content marketing; autoethnography; technical writing; ethics
thesis / dissertation description
This thesis presents an alternate career path for technical communicators in the area of content marketing and expands on the ethical and goal-related issues associated with a career change to a marketing-focused role. Many of the skills necessary for technical communication are transferable to marketing communication roles; however, a successful career change requires that technical communicators understand how the ethical values and goals of marketing professionals can differ from those of technical communicators. Through a detailed literature review and autoethnographic study, this thesis discusses the performance goals of marketing professionals to determine how these clash with those of technical communicators. This study also discusses the ethical values of technical communicators and marketing professionals, and how these values are shaped by their unique job functions. The overall goal is to determine how this affects the technical communicator working with content marketing. After combining the data available in the literature and the data gathered from the autoethnographic study, this study suggests that due to the differing job functions and training received by technical communicators and marketing professionals, ethically charged situations and ethically questionable practices are likely to be viewed under different perspectives by each professional. This can lead to vastly different perspectives on a particular situation and result in the two groups having vastly different ideas in regard to how ethical-decision making should proceed.