Reevaluating the Workplace Authority of the Technical Editor



Pepe, Kimberlyn

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This thesis examines technical editors’ roles, responsibilities, and relationships in the workplace. Over the years, technical and professional communication (TPC) has evolved with changing communication needs. The field has a long history of redefining its goals and mission to align and support developing communication practices, particularly in a workplace setting. As a result, TPC professionals have assumed the role as advocate and defender to their skill sets, knowledge, and professionalization. However, TPC scholarship rarely provides specific practices that its professionals can utilize to create power in their roles. This research will inform the question of how technical editors establish editorial authority and gain power in the workplace. To accomplish this task, this thesis analyzes TPC scholarship through its historical definitions and roles of its professionals. The study focuses on interviews with 12 editors and how they describe their duties, roles, and workplace relationships. The participants discussed situations of workplace disempowerment and how they utilize their soft skills and expertise to establish editorial power when not explicitly provided it by their workplaces. The study contributes to the knowledge surrounding editors’ workplace editorial authority and evolution, as well as provides guidance for how all TPC professionals can create a positive power dynamic within their careers.


This thesis has been embargoed for 2 years. It will not be available until April 2023 at the earliest.


Editorial power, Communication, Editor, Technical communicator