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The Uses of Writing in Microbusinesses

Grief, Susan Marion; (2019) The Uses of Writing in Microbusinesses. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This study is concerned with the uses of writing in traditional microbusinesses that serve the local community. A review of the literature on workplace literacy suggests that few studies have focussed on businesses of this type. This study seeks to address this gap and contribute to a better understanding of everyday writing in this context. The study is located within the tradition of Literacy Studies and views literacy as a social practice. It also draws on frameworks for the analysis of texts that are compatible with this view. Case studies were undertaken of four microbusinesses, located in a small market town. While these reveal that many writing practices were unique to the individual business they also illustrate how businesses of this type experience similar opportunities and challenges and, in terms of writing, have tended to respond to these in similar ways. This made it possible to identify elements of writing practices that were common across the cases and to explore the ways in which these were reflected in the texts that were produced. Closely embedded in the routines of the workplace activity and shaped by the imperatives of the business, the texts were brief, hurriedly written, often directly onto proformas, and dependent on shared understandings. However, following the trajectories of key texts demonstrated the significant roles these texts played in the running of the businesses, illustrating what it means for a workplace to be ‘textually mediated’ and confirming participants’ assertions that writing was important to the running of the business. The study shows that microbusinesses were less exposed to pressures for change than larger organisations, described in the literature, and this was reflected in their uses of writing. They were however, not immune to wider influences and writing in specific areas of their work was closely controlled by external agencies.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Uses of Writing in Microbusinesses
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071538
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