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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Technical Communication (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Humanities

First Advisor

M A Brady


In this project, I examine current forms of scientific management systems, Lean and Six Sigma, as they relate to technical communication. With the goal of breaking work up into standardized processes in order to cut costs and increase efficiency, Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma hybrid systems are increasingly applied beyond manufacturing operations to service and other types of organizational work, including technical communication. By consulting scholarship from fields such as business, management, and engineering, and analyzing government Lean Six Sigma documentation, I investigate how these systems influence technical communication knowledge and practice in the workplace. I draw out the consequences of system-generated power structures as they affect knowledge work, like technical communication practice, when it is reduced to process. In pointing out the problems these systems have in managing knowledge work, I also ask how technical communication might shape them.