Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Ryan M. Moeller

Abstract

A woman’s experience in the workplace is an inductive process into a technological, hierarchical, and often male-dominated system. This study examines how female practitioners in technical and professional communication confront the technological system of the workplace. I trace the forces that contribute to the hierarchy and power struggles women face, I present how they claim authority and agency within such hierarchical and technological systems, and I show how these experiences can lead to activism and advocacy.In addition, my findings suggest that some women leave the workplace altogether in favor of less structured and more innovative ways of communicating about technologies, particularly technologies and processes they find more applicable to their lives as women. The data from 39 interviews with female practitioners reveals that the traditional notion of the workplace is in crisis, and that women are asserting agency in order to disrupt the system and ensure a place for themselves within it.

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