Digital technologies and social media have changed the processes, products, and interactions of professional communication, reshaping how, when, with whom, and where business professionals communicate. This book examines these changes by asking: How does rhetorical theory need to adapt and develop to address the changing practices of professional communication? Drawing from classical and contemporary rhetorical theory and from in-depth interviews with business professionals, the authors present a case-based approach for exploring the changing landscape of professional communication. The book develops a rhetorical theory based on networked interaction and rhetorical ethics: seeing professional communication as involving new kinds of networked interactions that require an integrated view of rhetoric and ethics. The book applies this frame to a variety of communication cases involving, for example, employee missteps on social media, corporate-consumer interactions, and the developing use of artificial intelligence agents (AI bots) to handle online communication.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Professional Communication in the Digital Age
Part I: Building a Rhetorical/Ethical Network Theory
2. Reconnecting Rhetoric and Ethics
3. Ethics, Culture, and Phatic Communication
4. Rhetorical Interaction and Networks
Part II: Cases of Network Interaction
5. Employee Use of Corporate Media and Corporate Response
6. Social Listening: An Ethical and Organizational Shift
7. AI Bots as Professional Communicators
8. Conclusion: Changing the Frame
Heidi A. McKee is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Miami University, USA. She also serves as the Roger and Joyce L. Howe Professor of Written Communication and the Director of the Howe Writing Initiative in the Farmer School of Business at Miami.
James E. Porter is a Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Communication in the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies and the Department of English at Miami University, USA.